One of the major criticisms leveled against The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is that 99% of food must be prepared at home. There are hundreds of convenience products available in markets and specialty stores for other Gluten Free diets. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet suggests homemade food is safest to ensure better results on the diet.

Why such strictness on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet?

There are a number of reasons why on the whole, homemade items are necessary for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet instead of the more convenient" store-bought items.

Under U.S. labeling laws, some ingredients that constitute less than 2% of the total weight or volume do not  have to appear on the ingredient list. This applies to sugar and other Specific Carbohydrate Diet "illegal" ingredients that do not fall under the list of usual allergens.

Processed foods often pass through many sets of hands before they are put in the final package. For example, some juice concentrates can be made in one plant and then shipped to another plant where water is added and then they are bottled. It can be said with sincerity at the final destination that  illegals were not added, but what about the first producer of the concentrate? The original concentrate does not even have to be made in the same country as the final bottler.

Commercial producers can use processing aides, enzymes etc., in the production of the food that are not technically considered to actually be ingredients. When you make foods you know exactly what you are putting in.

Some producers may unintentionally use illegal ingredients. For example, a commercial producer uses honey that is not pure (i.e., cut with corn syrup) but includes honey on the ingredient list. The end result is ingesting foods that could be harmful.

Finally there are  companies which blatantly lie about the ingredients in their products.

Folks following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet are asked to get a posted letter with a hand written signature attesting to the full ingredient components and advised that if they elect to use the product it is at their own risk.

The transition from the use of commercial products to homemade foods can be eased by making  large batches of items, for freezing or canning. Try contacting local volunteer services to have someone assist in the weekly preparation of foods. Hire a part-time cook/chef if finances allow. Contact others in your area who follow your diet to locate local ingredients that are allowed.

The reason for demanding such fanatical adherence is that a small transgression can have far reaching ill effects.

Consider the time expenditure cost of fuel and wasteful packaging and the fact that becoming a proficient and efficient cook is rewarding and economical.

To those who do rely on  commercial goods and feel comfortable with them, enjoy, but you are likely on another diet :-)

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).