Why the SCD Diet is a Powerful Treatment for Helping Oxalate Related Problems IMPORTANT NOTE: Susan Owens has made several helpful suggestions for this article. She wanted proof for SCD; a new section was added to prove the efficacy of the diet. Susan Owens also disagreed with the link between arabinose and yeast and provided a link to explain the issue. Unfortunately, the link did not work. We will remove any mention of arabinose until the link is fixed so that we can view the evidence. Fortunately, this issue is not important at all to prove our point. Click here to view our response to the comments of Susan Owens
Another list member brought up the issue of oxalates and mitochondria. We hope to soon address that issue as well and hope that this will be ready by Monday.

How the SCD Diet Protects Us from Oxalate Related Problems
Why the SCD Goat Yogurt is a Powerful Treatment for Lowering Oxalate Values
It is not a good idea to begin SCD and LOD at the same time.
Guidelines for Evaluating the Results of combining SCD with a New Diet
Scientific Proof for SCD


Children with autism have very high oxalate levels. We need to understand the source of the oxalates in order to heal them. Are the high levels of oxalates a result of their diet? That does not seem to be the case; no one has ever accused children with autism of being too fond of spinach. As a matter of fact, too many of our children hate green vegetables but love starches. Someone who works with autistic children wrote the following:
"Many children on the autistic spectrum have limited diets and crave crackers, breads, muffins (gluten) and milk and cheese (casein). They seem almost addicted to those foods."

When our children try the GFCF diet, they crave potatoes chips and product made with white rice or corn. White wheat flour, milk products, potatoes, white rice flour and corn are either low oxalate or medium oxalate. These are not the kind of foods that will produce extremely high oxalate levels. Something else is producing the oxalates. Many experts have stated that autistic children share a common trait: fungal and bacterial overgrowth.

Sophie Roussenau found that they have an extremely high level of gram negative bacteria. Gram negative bacteria produce a poison called endotoxin or LPS. Scientists in Italy have tested men with autism and found that they have higher plasma levels of endotoxin in their blood than healthy controls. Endotoxin (LPS) causes a tremendous amount of damage to the parts of the body that are involved in dealing with oxalates. We therefore need to examine the role of microorganisms AND their toxins in the issue of oxalates.

There seems to be a strong connection between oxalate issues, yeast and bacteria. The scientific data makes it clear that yeast and bacteria play a major role in the creation of the oxalate problem of children with autism. SCD is a very good treatment option for helping the oxalate issues because the diet eliminates the bacteria and yeast that are responsible for causing so many issues with oxalates.

Unfortunately, the autism community is not aware of the protection that SCD provides for oxalate issues and misunderstandings have arisen. A small number of SCD parents reported improvement after combining SCD with LOD and this has been misinterpreted as proof that some people need to do both diets and that SCD alone is not enough to protect against oxalate issues.

The scientific method requires us to examine if other factors might have led to the improvements before we make any assumptions. There certainly are many alternative reasons as to why these children improved. There is a section on this page called "Guidelines for Evaluating the Results of Combining SCD with a New Diet" and it contains explanations for the many factors that might mislead parents into thinking that their children require a diet with low oxalates.

We feel that the major reason for improvements is that a change from SCD to the combined SCD/LOD protocol sometimes produces a diet that is easier to digest. Nuts, peanuts and beans are very difficult to digest. The Pecanbread website warns parents to delay giving those foods but many parents feel obligated to serve these foods because they need them as rewards for ABA or because their children are very picky. When these children transition to the combined LOD/SCD diet, they will experience an immediate improvement because LOD forbids these foods.

The typical child who improves after combining LOD with SCD is a child who was eating too many nuts or peanuts while doing SCD and who improves after discontinuing the nuts. However, this does not prove that this child needs to do a low oxalate diet since the improvement might have been due to a nut allergy or to the fact that nuts are more difficult to digest.

It is important to realize that the oxalate content of a food does not determine how easy it is to digest. Some foods with lots of oxalates can be very easy to digest while other low oxalate foods such as corn are considered to be very difficult to digest. It is just a coincidence that the difficult to digest SCD foods that children with autism crave the most happen to have lots of oxalates.

It is important for parents to find out why SCD did not produce the results that they had expected from the diet. SCD helpers believe that you need to try an easier to digest version of SCD to make sure that this was not the factor that prevented success. Remove nuts, peanuts and beans from your child's diet and observe carefully. If you did not go through the "Stages Of Pecanbread"
then try that approach. You will be surprised at the improvements that you will get!

However, there are exceptional cases: people who cannot tolerate even the easy to digest carbohydrates that contain minute amounts of starch such as bananas. Most people who try SCD are able to tolerate a tiny amount of starches if and only if these starches are a natural part of a food that is a monosaccharide. People who are unable to benefit from "ordinary SCD" exhibit the inability to tolerate the minute amounts of starch that are a part of many of the SCD legal carbohydrates. These people ought to try Lean Carb SCD.

How the SCD Diet Protects Us from Oxalate Related Problems

Bacterial Overgrowth Can Produce High Amounts of Oxalates.

Some intestinal bacteria can produce oxalate. Many children with autism have bacterial overgrowth so it is possible that their high levels of oxalates are are due to these bacteria. SCD controls the bacterial overgrowth because it dramatically decreases their food supply.

Richard S Lord, Richard S. Lord and J. Alexander Bralley. Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine Metametrix Institute, 2008 Page 335.
Wilhelm Riemenschneider, Minoru Tanifuji "Oxalic Acid" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 2002, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim.

This is also found in Wikepedia
Inside the section Occurrence in nature.

SCD Protects the Kidneys from Bacterial Toxins

Kidneys play a key role in eliminating oxalates. Evidence is accumulating that kidney stones are associated with decreased renal function. In order to avoid problems with oxalates accumulating in the body, it is important to have kidneys that can function well. Unfortunately, most people with autism have high levels of the bacterial toxin, LPS (aka endotoxin). LPS induces renal failure and impairs the ability of kidneys to excrete oxalates and other toxins. (LPS dramatically decreases the glomerular filtration rate or GFR).

When the kidneys cannot excrete well then oxalates build up in the body. Healthy kidneys protect humans against oxalate accumulation. SCD eliminates the gram negative bacteria that cause this temporary decrease in filtration rate.

To View the Proof

SCD Transforms Ordinary Bacteria into Oxalate Degrading Ones.

The experts agree that having bacteria that consume oxalates greatly reduces the amount of oxalates in the body.

The research of Dr. Steve Daniel seems to show that eating a diet that reduces sugar and complex carbohydrates will reduce the food supply of the gut bacteria and force them to consume oxalates thus reducing the amount of oxalates.

SCD resembles the diet that Dr. Steve Daniel describes; it is a diet that eliminates sugar and complex carbohydrates.

More information about this topic

Carbohydrate Malabsorption Has Been Linked to Problems with Oxalates,

Carbohydrate malabsorption has been found to be associated with increased risk of kidney stones, the most well known symptom of kidney disease.
Carbohydrate intolerance and kidney stones

The following website explains in detail the link between carbohydrate malabsorption and oxalates:

SCD and oxalates
SCD is an excellent diet for people with carbohydrate malabsorption because it eliminates the carbohydrates that are not absorbed.

Bacterial Toxins Impair the Body's Ability to Protect Itself from Oxalates.

LPS, the bacterial toxin, impacts oxalates in multiple ways. One research study found that LPS has a profound effect on oxalates by creating renal cell desensitization to oxalate stimulation, thus impairing the body's ability to protect itself from oxalates.


SCD is an excellent diet for starving the pathogenic gram negative bacteria that produce LPS, the bacterial toxin.

Five More Important Reasons for Choosing SCD to Manage the Oxalate Issues.

Susan Owens, the leader of the Low Oxalate Diet for Autism is blaming the following conditions for causing the high oxalates level in children with autism:[Message 15545 from the Trying Low Oxalate list at Yahooo Groups. ]

Leaky gut Proof
Inflamed gut Proof
Diarrhea or constipation Proof
Signal from angiotensin II Proof
Poor fat digestion Proof

LPS affects ALL these conditions. Click on the links next to each condition to view the research articles that prove the connection to LPS.

It is important to note that not all parents who claim to do SCD will resolve their child oxalate problem. Many parents make the mistake of feeding too many nuts and beans to their child before their child's gut has healed. Nuts and beans are more difficult to digest than meat, green veggies and fruit. The poorly digested nuts and beans will feed the bacteria who will continue to perpetuate the oxalate issues.

Recently, Susan has written more about leaky gut and oxalates. She claims that people who do not have leaky guts may also experience a small amount of oxalates escaping from the gut. We are not surprised. Manufactured foods now contain small amounts of carbohydrates that even healthy people cannot absorb. It has been found that even people who have healthy GI tracts experience damage from carbohydrates that are too difficult to absorb. These small amounts will produce minute damage to the gut lining. Fortunately, SCD forbids most manufactured foods and thus protects the gut and and its lining.

In the Trying Low Oxalate list, Susan wrote that she came up with a possible explanation as to why SCD protects its followers from the high oxalate foods. Her explanation is different from ours. She asked that the information not be copied since it is protected by copyright. We respect her desire to keep it secret and have not used it here.

Note: A small number of parents have reported that tests show that their children still have a high level of oxalates after several months of SCD. There are several possibilities explanations for this:
The child needs more time to heal this problem.
The child's liver is overproducing oxalates and this is not related to neither diet nor bacteria.
The child is getting foods that are forbidden in the diet from school, relatives or other sources.
Do those parents need to do the Low Oxalate Diet in order to decrease the test results? Doing the Low Oxalate Diet might also not decrease those levels of oxalate. Several parents from the Trying Low Oxalate support list report that their children's oxalate levels went up since doing the Low Oxalate Diet. The moderator of Trying Low Oxalate support list has written several times that urinary oxalate test results are not an accurate way of measuring the oxalate issue.

Many parents feel oxalates are more important than bacteria because Owens has found articles linking oxalates to inflammation, mitochondria, glutathione depletion. We feel the opposite is true. Parents should focus on getting rid of bacterial toxins for the following reasons:
Bacterial toxins also cause inflammation, mitochondria, glutathione depletion and many more of the physical symptoms of autism.
Bacterial toxins cause more harm than oxalates.
Bacterial toxins increase the harm from oxalate.
Bacteria play a key role in creating the oxalate problem in autism.

Why the SCD Goat Yogurt is a Powerful Treatment for Lowering Oxalate Values

Research articles about how yogurt can decrease candida:

Shalev E., et al. Ingestion of Yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus compared with pasteurized yogurt as prophylaxis for recurrent candidal vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis. Arch Fam Med. 1996 Nov-Dec; 5(10):593-6.

McLean NW, Rosenstein IJ, Characterization and selection of Lactobacillus species to re-colonize the vagina of women with recurrent bacterial vaginosis. J Med. Microbiol 2000 Jun;49(6):543-52.

Isenberg, H, et al. Ingestion of Yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus as prophylaxis for Candida Albicans. Ann Intern Med. 1992 Mar;116(5)353-7.

Click here to read other research articles that demonstrate the ability of yogurt to decrease oxalates.

It is not a good idea to begin SCD and LOD at the same time.

1. It is not a good idea to begin SCD and LOD at the same time. Many children with autism need to go through the "Stages". a protocol where a child starts out eating the easiest of SCD foods. This is done because many ASD children suffer from extreme GI issues. There might not be enough very easy to digest foods that satisfy the requirements of both diets and children would end up hungry.

2. Parents doing SCD need to monitor what foods their child can tolerate and only feed foods that do not cause digestive regressions. Every child is different so parents must carefully monitor and avoid feeding foods that are too difficult to digest and cause digestive problems. The reactions from the Low Oxalate Diet make it very challenging to monitor the reactions from foods.

Susan Owens, the moderator of the Trying Low Oxalate list, admits that the Low Oxalate Diet produces negative reactions. Owens calls these reactions "oxalate dumping". The symptoms from oxalate dumping include behavioral and digestive regressions as well as other symptoms. If a parent combines LOD and SCD, it is impossible to decide if a negative reaction is caused by the fact that a certain food is too difficult to digest or by oxalate dumping. The process of oxalate dumping can last for years.

3. LOD requires the use of VSL#3 in order to protect the body from serious side effects from oxalate dumping. VSL#3 may cause setbacks for those doing SCD. For an explanation, see the bottom of the probiotic section of our website.

5. It is difficult enough to do SCD. Trying to do both diets may lead parents to get confused and make mistakes.

Guidelines for Evaluating the Results of combining SCD with a New Diet.

The following guidelines will help you avoid the most common mistakes when evaluating the results of combining SCD with a new diet.

1. Do not start out the new diet at the same time that you are starting another treatment for autism. You will then be unable to decide if new improvements are due to the change in diet or to the new treatment.

3. The SCD yogurt brings fantastic results. If you start the yogurt after combining SCD with a new diet, then you will not know if new improvements are due to the change in diet or to the yogurt. This is also true if you increase the amount of yogurt.

4. The LOD recommends VSL#3, a probiotic that is MUCH stronger than the probiotic used by SCD. The dose for probiotics recommended on Pecanbread was formulated for children who were eating yogurt. However, a large number of SCD children were not eating the yogurt and that dose was too low for them. Children who combined SCD with another diet benefited from the higher amount of probiotics. A few months ago, the website was changed so that parents were given the option of increasing the probiotic dose and to use the multiple strains that are SCD legal. Pam Ferro, who runs a famous clinic for treating autism with SCD , reports that some children get dramatic results from an increase in probiotic dose and the use the multiple strains that are SCD legal. The probiotic section of our website gives instructions concerning this change in probiotics.

If you are planning to increase your probiotic dose then slowly increase the dose before switching to the new diet. You want to be able to know if the improvements are due to increase in probiotics or to the changes in diet.

5. The Low Oxalate Diet recommends several supplements. Try these supplements before combining LOD with SCD. This is important so that you will be able to differentiate between improvements due to supplements and improvements from the new diet.

6. Remove beans, nuts, dried fruits and peanuts from the diet before switching to LOD. These foods cause problems because they are difficult to digest. Make sure that you understand why the removal of these foods brings about better results. LOD forbids the use of peanuts and most nuts. Many parents have noticed that the removal of nuts and peanuts, during the switch from SCD to SCD/LOD, brings about improvements. These parents then assumed that this improvement proved that oxalates were harmful to their child. However, there are other ways to explain the improvements, Nuts and peanuts contain other chemicals that might harm a child with bacterial overgrowth. Peanuts contain aflatoxin, a toxic mold. The combination of bacterial toxins and aflatoxin is very harmful to the liver. The problem with peanuts might not be due to its high oxalate content since children seem to tolerate vegetables that have an even higher oxalate content than peanuts. Peanut is the food that is responsible for almost all of the very small number of children who have had a negative response to SCD.
A more detailed explanation of the health risks of peanut butter

Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors as well as lectins. The MIND Institute found that children with Autism have extreme reactions to lectins[1]. LOD also forbids the use of beans and dried fruits. Beans also have high levels of lectins. Another VERY important factor about beans, nuts, dried fruits and peanuts is that these foods are more difficult to digest. Children with autism might not be able to digest these food during the early months of SCD. Foods that are not well digested remain as nourishment for bacteria and their removal brings improvements.

The Pecanbread website encourages parents to not use any of these foods during the early stage of SCD but many parents igmore these warnings because they have very picky eaters.

It is very important for parents to find out if their improvements with LOD were a result of the removal of difficult to digest carbohydrates or from the reduction of oxalates. Fortunately, there is a way to figure this out.
Click here to find a way to distinguish between improvements due to oxalates and improvements due to the elimination of difficult to digest foods.

Proof for SCD

The fact that SCD reduces pathogenic bacteria may be proved by several different methods.

1. Research Article from Germany

Scientific Article in Acta Paediatrica
Full article:
"Defects in sugar digestion are possible by disturbances within the combined action of pancreatic α-amylase and that of intestinal brush border enzymes. Decreased digestion and hydrolysis of carbohydrates will induce either osmotic diarrhea and/or bacterial overgrowth within the small intestine as well as bacterial breakdown of carbohydrates within the colon"...... "Important observations with regard to the hydrolytic capacity of intestinal disaccharidases which are responsible for sugar hydrolysis have come through the study of their intracellular pathways and processing of enzyme molecules in normal and altered human as well as animal mucosa using various techniques of molecular biology."

2. Research Articles

Scientific Research Shows that Difficult to Digest Carbohydrates Lead to Digestive Problems and Bacterial Overgrowth

3. Proof that Eating Grains Increases LPS in Certain Animals

LPS and grains

4. Proof that eating a low starch diet reduces gram negative bacteria in humans.

Klebsiella is a gram negative bacteria that has been liked to ankylosing spondylitis and Crohn's. Additionally, some children with Autism may also be affected.
Ebringer and Wilson C. The use of a low starch diet in the treatment of patients suffering from ankylosing spondylitis. Clinical Rheumatology 1996; 15 Suppl. 1, 61-65.
Ebringer A, Rashid T, Tiwana H, Wilson C. A possible link between Crohn's disease and ankylosing spondylitis via Klebsiella infections. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Mar;26(3):289-97. Epub 2006 Aug 29. PMID: 16941202

5. Breaking the Vicious Cycle provides scientific proof that SCD starves the pathogenic bacteria. Gottschall, E (1994). Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet (Revised edition ed.). Kirkton Press. ISBN 0-9692768-1-8.

6. Clinical Studies that prove the efficacy of SCD

These scientific articles show that SCD works to heal the digestive tract. Bacterial overgrowth has been linked to digestive disorders.

Haas, S. V.: Value of banana in treatment of celiac disease, Am. J. Dis. Child. 28:421, 1924.
Kleinschmidt, H.: Chronic Diarrhea in children, Jahresk. f. Arztl. Fortbild. 13:16, 1922.
Treatment of Heubner-Herter's disease with bananas, sour milk and junket, Arch. f. Kinderh. 84:144, 1928.

Pilot Testing a Novel Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Very Recent Pilot Study