The Candida overgrowth diet is a pre-formed menu in many ways and individualized to some extent.
For most people it usually feels rigid and difficult to follow at first, as it is a drastic change from the standard American menu. It takes a great deal of determination and self-discipline to adhere to when starting out. However, once you begin to see changes in your symptoms and experience relief, you’ll become more motivated and it won’t be quite as difficult.
As your taste buds become accustomed to healthier food and your blood sugar begins to stabilize over time, your cravings for the really bad food will diminish. In time you train your body, learn new eating behaviors, and see the Candida overgrowth diet in a new light. Eventually, you’ll begin to see that part of loving yourself is not doing something destructive and you’ll begin to enjoy this new way of eating.
The purpose of an anti-Candida diet is to deprive the yeast organisms of their food sources. Candida thrives on sugar and carbohydrates. When it doesn’t have food, it can’t proliferate. But this is easier said than done because the Candida makes you crave the foods that it wants. These cravings are usually very intense and can be completely overpowering.
It is very common for individuals following the Candida overgrowth diet to cheat from time to time or even fall off the Candida wagon completely. This is just part of the process and requires that you be loving and forgiving of yourself when it occurs and start over again. You may find some of these holistic diet tips to be helpful.
Certain individualized factors must be taken into consideration when designing your Candida diet, however, the basics must be incorporated as strictly as possible.
The Number One Enemy
The worse thing you can give your body in regard to the Candida overgrowth Diet and in regard to health, in general, is sugar. It weakens the immune system and gives the yeast a spectacular feast.
Sugar is Candida’s favorite food. If you remove nothing else from your diet, it must be sugar.
You may think that you don’t eat much sugar, but you eat sugar unknowingly many times a day because sugar is added to almost every food on the market in the traditional store and is even commonplace in the health food stores. The health food stores usually carry items that contain organic sugar, but sugar is sugar when it comes to Candida and immune function.
To remove sugar from your diet you must read labels very carefully. All forms of sugar should be removed from the diet including the following:
- Beet Sugar
- Maple Sugar
- Date Sugar
- Organic Cane Syrup
- Organic Cane Juice
- Organic Cane Sugar
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Brown Sugar
- Powdered Sugar
- Coconut Sugar or Nectar
- Fruit juice sweeteners
- Barley malt
- Maple syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Alcohol is the most refined form of sugar you can consume.
Now granted, if you’re going to eat sugar, organic sugar is a better choice, because it doesn’t have pesticides in it and it hasn’t been stripped of all its nutritional value, unlike refined white sugar. But in regard to Candida, sugar is sugar. It doesn’t distinguish between organic or inorganic. It will be quite happy to eat either one of them and proliferate equally. The same applies to honey.
Not only that, but organic sugar will also lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, neurotransmitter imbalances, addiction, hypoglycemia, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, compulsive overeating, etc., just like traditional table sugar.
The Candida Overgrowth Diet Basics
These Candida diet basics are essential to be successful in reducing or eliminating symptoms.
- No sugar
- No alcohol (alcohol is a sugar)
- No grains(breaks down into sugar very quickly and contributes to leaky gut)
- No high carb foods (e.g. potatoes, sweet potatoes)
- No yeast
- No caffeine (Caffeine prompts the liver to dump large doses of sugar into the blood stream)
- No preservatives and additives
- No refined and processed foods
- No moldy foods
- No dairy (except butter, ghee, and heavy cream) Cheese and milk contain lactose (milk sugar) which the yeast will feed on. (some people can do small amounts of yogurt or cottage cheese)
- Low in Carbohydrates
Foods to Eat Freely
- Animal Protein and Fat
- Low-carb vegetables
- Butter, ghee, and heavy cream
The basic and most successful anti-Candida diet should consist of nothing but animal protein, eggs, fat, and low carbohydrate vegetables. A small amount of whole fruit, nuts, and seeds on occasion may be acceptable if they don’t flare symptoms.
Meats to Include
- fish(be careful because fish is contaminated with mercury and other pollutants- buy Wild Alaskan fish)
- No processed meats like lunch meat, spam, bacon, sausage etc.
Low Carb Vegetables to Include
- green beans
- any green leafy vegetable is low in carbohydrates
- green peppers
- avocados (are excellent because they are also very good for stabilizing blood sugar)
- tomatoes are low carb but high in acid and often aggravate yeast, you’ll need to monitor your symptoms to determine whether you should include them in your diet.
Other High Carb Foods to Avoid
- carrots (can eat small amounts with other low-carb vegetables)
- sweet potatoes
- winter squash
Grains should be avoided completely on the Candida overgrowth diet. Not only are they are highly allergenic and high in carbohydrates that feed yeast, but the human body does not digest them properly. They disrupt the gastrointestinal tract and contribute to mineral deficiencies and leaky gut. This is true of the alternative grains as well.
Dairy and Eggs
- Yogurt is okay on occasion, but it does contain lactose, which is milk sugar, so be careful.
- Cheese or cottage cheese should be restricted for special occasions, but they also contain lactose, so must be restricted.
- Eggs are a good protein and contain no carbs.
- Butter, ghe,e and heavy cream are acceptable as they contain only minute amounts of lactose.
Legumes or Beans
Legumes, also known as beans are very high in carbohydrates, so they should be eliminated. Like grains, they too are not processed properly by the human body and contribute to inflammation, leaky gut, mineral deficiencies, and autoimmune conditions.
- split pea
- black, etc.
Nuts should be restricted on the Candida diet and used only for special occasions and treats.
Nuts are moldy. Some of them are also high carbohydrate. They also contain anti-nutrients that contribute to gut inflammation, leaky gut, mineral deficiencies, and autoimmunity if eaten too frequently.
Cashews are very high in carbohydrates.
Macadamia, Almond, Walnut, Hazelnut are lower in carbohydrates. Peanuts should be avoided completely, they are actually a legume, not a nut.
Fruit should be avoided or strictly limited while following the Candida overgrowth diet. This is because fruit is high in natural sugar, which feeds yeast and fuels cravings for sugar and carb. Some fruits are higher in sugar than others, so it’s best to stick with fruit that is lower in sugar.
Some people can eat fruit more freely than others and other people can’t eat it at all. It depends on how severe your overgrowth is and if the consumption of it triggers cravings for sugar and carbs.
Fruit High in Sugar
- Mangoes (very moldy as well)
Fruit Medium level of sugar
Fruit Low in sugar
Special Occasions and Treats
Please keep in mind that sweets of any kind should be extremely limited.
I’ve found that it’s much easier to stay on the Candida diet if you allow yourself treats from time to time, so you don’t feel deprived. I allow myself to have something sweet, yet not too unhealthy a few times a month (derived from fruit and nuts).
There may also be special occasions and holidays when you would like to indulge in something tasty and delicious made from fruit and nuts.
When you first begin the diet, you may experience cravings that are uncontrollable as you go through sugar withdrawal.
For any of these occurrences, it’s best to indulge in healthier sweets that aren’t as damaging to the immune system and won’t make Candida proliferate to the same extent as sugar.
Make your own desserts with sugar alternatives:
- fruit and nuts
Stevia is a good option. It does not feed the Candida and it does not upset the blood sugar. However, stevia can be difficult to use and takes a little getting used to. You also can’t find many choices in health food stores that use stevia as its sweetener.
Xylitol will not have any impact on yeast or blood sugar, but it can be problematic if you have SIBO in addition to Candida.
Candida Diet Overgrowth Phases
There are 3 phases in the Candida diet. We’ll call them, Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced.
In the beginning phase you must be much stricter with adherence and your choices will be more limited.
In time, you’ll see some improvement in your symptoms and as that happens you can bring back more fruit and nuts. You can be less strict with adherence
If you’ve made a lot of progress in reducing Candida symptoms, then you may move into a Candida diet that consists of more complex carbohydrates and even less strict guidelines.
It’s also common for individuals to alternate back and forth between phases. For example, you may have reached a point where your symptoms are really under control and you have a lot more food choices and can tolerate quite a bit of carbohydrate and then a setback occurs and you have to go back to the beginning phase again for a period of time.
A setback can occur in response to stress, hormones, you’ve overdone the sweets on a holiday, you’ve had the flu or some other illness, or you’ve had to take an antibiotic.
The Candida overgrowth diet can be very challenging to live with in the beginning, there’s no way to candy coat it. It also takes time for your body to adjust. Initially, you will feel tired and hungry as you adjust to the lower level of carbohydrates and your Candida screams for you to feed it.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the diet that yeast will force you to eat, is actually a very healthy diet and the one you should have been eating anyway. The human body was not genetically designed to eat sugar, alcohol, caffeine, white flour, refined foods, grains, potatoes, beans, etc. The diet that I outline on this page is basically a low-carb version of the Paleolithic diet, which many health experts are now saying is the diet that we were supposed to eat and is what is needed to encourage optimal health on all levels. I encourage you to learn more about the Paleolithic diet.
By following the Candida overgrowth diet, you are eating the foods that will decrease your risks of developing serious chronic health conditions, both physically and mentally, like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, clinical depression, and anxiety disorders, to name just a few. It’s better for you all around.
If you need support, guidance, or education in setting up your diet, you may find a phone consultation with Cynthia to be very helpful.
Keep in mind that the anti-Candida diet is only one aspect of treatment. It’s also important to take antifungals and a variety of other steps to enhance the effectiveness of the diet. It’s vital that your treatment approach be comprehensive or progress in reducing overgrowth will be hindered. You can get all the facts you need about Candida and guidance on which way to go in this great little eBook, “Candida Secrets.” It’s quick and easy to read and will put you on the right track from the beginning.
When starting out on the Candida overgrowth diet remember it’s usually a process that takes time to incorporate fully. Be kind to yourself, don’t beat yourself up if you give in. Forgive and start over. If it feels too overwhelming, begin with baby steps and work your way up to bigger steps.