Losing some weight initially is pretty common when someone begins the Candida diet and most people usually welcome the loss. However, sometimes it can be problematic for some people like our friend John, who submits the following question:
Dear Cynthia, I purchased your book, Candida Secrets, and found it very informative. However, I don’t see anything about weight loss on this diet unless I missed it. I have a mild case of Candida and have been on the diet 7 weeks. I have lost 23 lbs during that time and I am very drawn looking. I am going to stop my diet because of losing so much weight .Do you cover weight loss in you book ? I am not leveling off, just keep losing. John
Hi John, No I don’t have anything about weight loss in the Candida Secrets book, but now that you bring it up, I will be sure and add a section to address this issue in my next update. Thanks for the suggestion. (Update 2012 – Candida book now contains info on managing weight loss.)
Although weight loss is pretty typical at first, after a while there is usually some leveling off. Seven weeks may not be long enough for leveling off to have occurred.
There are a variety of reasons that weight loss happens on the Candida diet:
- Sugar and all foods that break down into sugar are what gets stored as fat in the body, and these foods are now eliminated.
- You’re usually eating less than you used too.
- You’re eliminating sugar and refined foods. Sugar and refined foods upset the body’s hormones, endocrine system and metabolism, which often results in weight gain. So when they are removed the body is readjusting itself.
- You’re reducing carbohydrates. Too many carbohydrates, even complex ones, give the body too much sugar and interfere in metabolism. When reduced, then metabolism improves.
- Since many of the foods eliminated from the diet while on the Candida diet are common allergens, you’re likely to be eliminating some foods that you are allergic to or sensitive to. Food sensitivities and allergies are often at the root of weight gain, so when the food is eliminated the weight comes off.
Here are a few steps that can be taken to minimize weight loss when following the Candida diet:
First of all it’s important that you consume enough calories. I would like to emphasize, a low-carb diet should not be low-calorie, and you should not feel hungry. Eat as much protein and fat as you need to feel satiated. If the three meals a day is not enough, then eat more often.
When you reduce carbs and your body starts burning fat for fuel instead of glucose then you need to provide it with lots of fat. If fat is not present in the diet, then it is going to burn whatever you have stored in fat cells. If you provide it with lots of fat through the diet, it will burn that fat instead of body fat. So, if you’re trying to lose weight, you won’t want to increase your fat intake too much until after you have lost the desired weight.
- Although sugar and foods that break down into sugar are what gets stored as fat, if we increase foods that are high in calories it can help increase weight to some degree. So eat more food and eat more often.
- If seeds and nuts are tolerated, then add sunflower seeds, walnuts, macadamias, pecan and almonds, to the diet. These foods are all high in calories.
- Add a little quinoa and/or wild rice to the diet. Neither of these are actually grains. Quinoa is a chenopod similar to spinach, and wild rice is a marsh grass. However, they are both high in carbs, which will feed Candida, so they must be used sparingly. Put nut butter, butter, coconut oil or avocados on top of them to increase calories.
- Increase usage of healthy oils like coconut oil, walnut oil, olive oil, macadamia oil or avocado oil. Put them on your veggies and meat. Coconut oil is also an antifungal.
- Salt can make you retain water which results in weight gain, but not real fat gain.
- Eat bigger and fattier portions of meat.
- If you tolerate fruit, add a serving of a low-sugar fruit to your menu each day. Be sure to eat them after your meat and veggies to reduce their impact on the yeast, blood sugar and insulin.
- Avocados are high in calories. Add a little oil or yogurt to them, and this increases their calorie content even more.
- Although I don’t advocate the use of dairy products on a daily basis, you could eat a serving here and there of full-fat yogurt. Yogurt does contain lactose (milk sugar) so it must restricted.
- Add a protein powder to the diet.
- Eat more butter and/or ghee. Put it on veggies.
- Eat whipped cream or coconut whipped cream, either alone or on fruit.
- If nuts, quinoa, or wild rice set off symptoms, try adding just a small amount of them to each meal. Sometimes a smaller portion of a food can be tolerated, when a larger portion can’t.
- Add some coconut butter and coconut flakes to your diet.
- Chestnuts have some starch.
- Include an occasional sweet potato, yam or winter squash. (However, must be cautious here, as these foods will feed Candida significantly.)
- Eat right before going to bed, so there’s no time to burn it off.
- Check testosterone levels. Low T may be contributing to inability to gain weight.
- Check for intestinal parasites, they may be consuming your nutrients. Parasites almost always occur in people with Candida.
- Increase your protein intake. If you eat more protein than your system needs, your liver will convert the excess protein into glucose through gluconeogenesis, which is then stored as fat.
Be sure to discuss your concerns about weight loss and the Candida diet with your physician so you can rule out any other possible causes or potential complications.