The Importance of Limiting Harmful Starches

Even though some situations where starch is tolerable, it is important that each family learn to master the CSID diet without starches. Every day our discussion groups reveal variations to how much and which types of starches appear tolerable for us or our CSID children.

However, a CSID diagnosis is rarely (if ever) confirmed without the child or adult presenting symptoms. These symptoms are a sign the body is suffering. This suffering is the result of undigested food in the gut. Undigested food harms the lining of the intestines, and can irritate to the point of causing tears in the lining of the intestines. This “leaky gut” can also result in allergies to foods that have made their way in the blood stream through these cracks. Once the gut is healed, some of these food particles may have a chance to be properly digested and the “allergy” will eventually diminish. Of course, this would be on a case-by-case basis. For us, Parker had to eliminate dairy for quite some time and now has it all the time without issue.

I came into knowledge of this process through a combination of my own research into various digestive problems and solutions as well as from insight from several professionals in the field of digestive health. The conclusion being not all starches are created equal. Some can cause great harm, especially to a weakened system that is irritated and sensitive due to months or years of undigested food wreaking havoc.

There has been a lot of talk about starches on the Facebook and Yahoo CSID groups lately. I sense a push from parents trying to find ways to incorporate starches into their children’s diet. Everyone has their opinions about the best way to go about it, but I would like to take moment to emphasis the fact that some starch-based foods should be eliminated to avoid possible long-term problems. Starchy foods that do not offer any nutritional benefit should be out. Overly processed foods should also be eliminated or reduced to an occasional basis.These include foods that come from white flour and that include artificial sugar. Most grains, even whole, still promote the growth of harmful bacteria, which can manifest as various symptoms, including behavior problems.This theory is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) approach which reveals that undigested carbohydrates cause the most harm by feeding harmful bacteria and promoting fermentation. Another result from including harmful starches on a regular basis is acidosis, which requires a strict ph-balancing process to reverse.

There is a way to incorporate essential carbohydrates in the form of “safe” starches once the starch-free diet has been mastered and symptoms are no longer present. See my other posts relate to STARCH & DIGESTION for more details on assisting with the digestions process and choosing easy to digest foods.
When I use the word “safe” I mean to imply that my research suggests these foods have a lower likelihood of causing digestive distress while also providing maximum nutrition.

These “safe” foods include:

  • almond and coconut-based foods
  • soaked dry white beans such as baby lima, navy, or northern
  • lactose-free dairy such as butter, heavy cream, and homemade yogurt to serve as thickening or fillers
  • incorporation of plain yogurt to promote helpful bacteria product
  • 100% organic, sprouted-grain
  • low-carb/sprouted grain wraps and buns (on a limited basis, taken with Food Enzymes
My family has also experienced success in the occasional use of brown rice pasta and red potatoes (2 foods which are NOT endorsed for SCD) — but always with food enzymes! 
What I have also found is that there are many other digestive diseases and illness that have a direct correlation with the excessive eating of sugars and starches. Even though doctors and scientists do not know the direct cause of diseases such as Crohn’s or colitis or in some cases, Celiac; the recommended dietary approach often involves the elimination of starches, sugars, and sometimes lactose. Continuing to consume harmful carbohydrates in light of CSID or other digestive ailments can result in additional digestive disease and in some cases, stomach or colon cancer.
In the end, I will not promote or endorse suggestions for foods that do not line up with my personal approach to remove what harms and add what helps. I do not pretend to follow this diet 100% of the time, but I feel listing exceptions just confuses parents, especially those who are new to the diet. By incorporating my knowledge of the best of CSID-friendly foods, the SCD approach, digestive supplementation, and a pH balanced goal I have found our family experiences maximum health, energy and overall well-being.
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