SCD - Legal and Illegal Foods

Knowing What Foods Are 'Legal and Illegal'

The SCD has had many modifications over the years and continues to be modified by individuals based upon has different people respond to different foods. Below is a chart of the classic foods listed in the Specific Carbohydrate Diet with annotations based upon emerging research from our medical center as well as others.


Allowed (Legal) Foods

Not-Allowed (Illegal) Foods


All fresh, unprocessed fruit, based on the SCD stages. Organic is preferred.

Canned or dried fruit processed with additional sugar and additives.


The vast majority of nonstarchy, unprocessed vegetables, including mushrooms. Organic is preferred.

See the Breaking the Cycle website’s Legal/Illegal List for complete details on individual vegetables.

Starchy vegetables, including white potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, and yams.

Any vegetable processed with additional sugar and additives.

No canned or processed tomatoes or tomato products.

See the Breaking the Cycle website’s Legal/Illegal List for complete details on individual vegetables.


All fresh or frozen meats without SCD-illegal ingredients. Check the labels carefully for additives in solutions. Organic preferred.

Beef, lamb, pork, goat, buffalo, venison, wild game, rabbit, veal, liver, kidney, oxtail, tongue, and tripe are allowed.

All processed meats and meat products, such as cold cuts, hot dogs, bacon, sausages, dried beef, smoked meats, and Spam.

Any meat processed with additional sugar and additives, including solutions.


All fresh or frozen poultry without SCD-illegal ingredients. Check the labels carefully for additives in solutions. Organic preferred.

Chicken, turkey, quail, duck, and goose are allowed.

All processed and breaded products, such as chicken nuggets and canned products.

Any poultry processed with additional sugar and additives, including solutions.



All fresh and frozen fish and shellfish, as long as it is unprocessed and unbreaded without additives.

Canned tuna packed in water or in its own juices is legal.

Sashimi is legal, but not sushi rice.

Any seafood processed with additional sugar and additives, including solutions.


All types of eggs are allowed, preferably organic and free-range.



Plant-based milks, such as almond and coconut.

Ghee, pastured-cow or “grass-fed” butter.

Milk from animals is not  allowed.

No kefir or margarine.

No milk- and cream-based products (although it is okay to use these to make the homemade yogurt).


Hard cheeses aged over
90 days (Cheddar, etc.).

No soft cheeses except dry curd cottage cheese (DCCC).

No soft cheeses, including ricotta, goat cheese, feta, cream cheese, mozzarella, and all other soft cheeses other than dry curd cottage cheese (DCCC).


Homemade yogurt only. Use SCD guidelines for making yogurt from cow and goat milks, coconut milk, and nut milks

No commercial yogurts.



No grains of any kind, such as wheat, rice, corn, quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, barley, spelt, rye, oats, and triticale.

No products derived from these grains (such as pasta, cereals, crackers, breads, other baked goods, and many vegetarian meat substitutes).


Generally allowed based on the SCD stages, including pumpkin seeds, with some exceptions.

Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are not allowed.


All nuts, including almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts, etc.

Coconuts and coconut milk are allowed.

All-natural nut butters may be better tolerated during initial stages.

None with an SCD-illegal starch coating or that possibly has illegal ingredients used in the roasting process (as is the case with most commercial mixed nuts).


Only dried navy beans, lima beans, black beans, cranberry beans, green (string) beans, lentils, split peas, and regular peas cooked per SCD rules.

No garbanzo or pinto beans.

No canned beans of any kind.

No soy in all forms.


All individual herbs and spices are legal.

Onion powder and garlic powder is allowed as long as it is additive free (such as caking powder).

Avoid spice mixtures; buy spices separately.



Homemade condiments and dressings without SCD-illegal foods are legal. Recipes are available online and in specialized cookbooks

Most vinegars are legal except balsamic vinegar (except homemade; some recipes exist online).

No commercial condiments
or dressings.

No balsamic vinegar, except homemade.


Honey is allowed.


None except honey.

No agave or stevia.

No cane sugar (including raw, brown, white, or rapadura) or molasses.

No date, coconut, or other palm sugar.

No fructose, glucose, dextrose, sucrose, and isoglucose.

No syrups such as maple or corn syrup.

No artificial sweeteners except Sweet’N Low (saccharine is allowed but it is possibly not healthy).


Ghee, pastured-cow or “grass-fed” butter.

Coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and all nut oils.

All seed oils (sesame, peanut, canola, flaxseed, corn and grapeseed)

No vegan butter products, or soybean oil.


Sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and other fermented foods are allowed as long as they are made without SCD-illegal foods or added sugar.

Do not use commercial products with additives, preservatives, sugar, and other SCD-illegal foods.


Freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices are allowed.

Sparkling water allowed.

Most teas and coffee are allowed. See the Breaking the Cycle website’s
Legal/Illegal List for more details.

Wine and whiskey are legal, while brandy and sherry are not. See the Breaking the Cycle website’s
Legal/Illegal List for more details on individual alcoholic beverages.

No fruit or vegetable juice made from concentrate or with additives.

No soda of any kind.



None are allowed, including chocolate, carob, licorice, and marshmallows. The one caveat is that some families have done ok with pure honey candy


Unflavored gelatin, baking soda (but not powder), and cellulose (in supplements only) are allowed.

No preservatives of any kind.

Agar, carrageenan guar gum, potato flour, rice flour, and sorghum flour are not permitted.

No whey powder, FOS (fructooligosaccharides), seaweed or seaweed products, algae (like spirulina and chlorella), arrowroot, baker’s yeast, baking powder, cellulose gum, cornstarch, cream of tartar, dextrose, hydrolyzed protein, mastic gum, natural flavors, pectin, Postum, sago starch, tapioca, and xanthan gum.

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