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Erica White DipION, FBANT, Nutritionhelp Founder

Diets in Detail – The Anti-Candida Diet

Fri 12th Jan, 2018 - 1:01pm by Emma Cockrell

Over the coming few blogs I hope to review some of the diet trends that are currently around. I want to assess their worth particularly in the light of their benefit in supporting the balance of microbes in the digestive tract. I will start therefore, in commenting on the Anti-Candida diet.

What is Candida?

A large number of clients who come to Nutritionhelp have either had a diagnosis of yeast infection, or are experiencing symptoms which they feel may be associated with an over-growth of Candida albicans. The whole subject of Candida is far too great to discuss here, and is comprehensively covered in Erica White’s Beat Candida Cookbook. Suffice to say, under normal circumstances the gut contains a balance of microbes. Beneficial bacteria should keep unhelpful bacteria and yeasts in check. Candida is a single celled yeast ,which should live without a problem in the gut and vagina. However, if the body’s natural immunity is impacted, Candida growth can then become unhindered, leading to many and varied symptoms. These might include thrush, extreme fatigue, eczema, joint and muscle problems and digestive distress, to name just a few.

Variations in the Anti-Candida Diet

Many who suspect Candida to be a problem will have searched the Internet for information on how to bring this yeast under control. The result however, is often one of confusion. Every website seems to have a different diet and supplement approach on how to discourage intestinal yeast. Some websites actually advocate a high carb diet, while many recommend zero carbs. Some practitioners allow certain fruits but no grains, while others allow whole grains but no fruit.

The Nutritionhelp approach is based on Erica White’s own experience – first in supporting her own intestinal microbiome, and then in aiding thousands of clients in supporting their health in a similar way. I went through Erica’s programme many years ago, so like Erica, can advise from a place of experience, as well as academic understanding.

Impacts on Progress While on the Anti-Candida Diet

Occasionally clients come to me and say they have ‘tried the diet, but it didn’t work’. There are many reasons why someone hasn’t seen benefit in following an ‘anti-Candida’ diet. Some initial considerations are:

  • The diet still contains fruit – fresh or dried
  • The diet still contains ‘natural sweeteners’ such as honey or agave syrup
  • The client has a food intolerance to a food which they are still regularly eating – this may be one of the gluten grains or dairy for example
  • The client is taking a number of natural ‘antifungal’ supplements, which are killing intestinal yeast at a very fast rate. As Candida is killed it produces more toxins, and if the liver isn’t able to clear these quickly enough, the toxins can build up. This results in an increase in fatigue, low mood, or any symptoms already being experienced relating to the yeast over-growth.
  • Intestinal yeast isn’t the main culprit, and other factors may need to be considered in supporting health.

Nutritionhelp Anti-Candida-Diet Guide-Lines

So the basic Nutritionhelp diet recommendations to reduce Candida are:

  • Avoid all refined grains and all types of sugar. One criticism of diets can be that you are restricting intake of foods which should provide valuable nutrients. These refined grains and sugars however, have no nutritional value and are best avoided for all aspects of health. With the increase of Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease, research shows very clearly that these foods should be avoided.
  • Yeast, and foods containing it or derived from it, should be avoided – including sour-dough breads. Although wholegrain sourdough is perhaps the healthiest way to enjoy bread, while someone is bringing intestinal yeast under control it is not helpful. Yeasted foods can encourage yeasts within the body.
  • Fermented foods should be avoided, including alcohol, vinegar and fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut. Again, sauerkraut is recognised as a very healthy food that encourages beneficial bacteria in the gut. While there is intestinal yeast excess however, fermented foods might encourage any Candida present. Perhaps more to the point, many with Candida overgrowth experience a cross-sensitivity to fermented foods. This means eating them may lead to an increase in unpleasant symptoms.
  • Malted products should be avoided, and this includes some coffee-alternative grain drinks, and some crisp-breads.
  • Milk contains lactase – milk sugar, and so products containing dairy should be avoided. This includes low-lactose hard cheeses, since these have been fermented. Some people may tolerate natural yogurt, but the suitability of this needs to be assessed person to person. Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria, while Kefir is made using beneficial yeast as a culture. This therefore should be avoided to reduce possibility of encouraging intestinal yeast and to avoid a sensitivity reaction.
  • Avoid foods which are smoked, cured or can easily gather unseen mould, such as cracked nuts.
  • Stay away from any fungus foods such as mushrooms and truffles. This also includes the vegetarian protein – Quorn, which is fermented from a fungus.
  • All forms of stimulant – e.g. caffeine and cocoa in drinks and foods should be avoided.
  • Artificial sweeteners, food additives and preservatives should not be eaten.

Foods to be Enjoyed on the Anti-Candida Diet

Although this is a long list of foods to avoid, what you are left with are plenty of foods in their fresh, natural state. At main meals include half a plate of vegetables, steamed, baked or as salad, or blended into soups. To this you can add protein foods such as eggs, fish, out-door-reared poultry or meat, or beans and seeds. Depending on your metabolism, unrefined whole grains or carbohydrate vegetables can be added to meals. Potatoes can cause a problem for some, but if including them, keep them lightly cooked so they are still firm, and eat with the skins, to reduce starch content. Pre-cooking potatoes increases their resistant starch content, which may be beneficial. A Nutritionhelp consultation will include a good deal of advice on foods, recipes and meal ideas.

Carbohydrates on the Anti-Candida Diet

Why does Nutritionhelp allow grains and carbohydrate veggies?  When starved of glucose, Candida adapts to feed from ketones. These are the acid that remains when the body burns fat for fuel in the absence of glucose. Therefore, finding the right level of carbohydrate intake for each individual is very important on the anti-Candida diet. Some will thrive on a fairly low intake of whole grains – just eating them with breakfast for example. Alternatively, others find they need a higher intake of carbohydrate to maintain energy.


Personalised Recommendations to Aid Progress

This is just one area that demonstrates the anti-Candida diet may not be identical for any two people following the Nutritionhelp recommendations. Combine with this the need for a tailor-made supplement programme to support immune health, and the fact that each individual will respond differently to probiotics anti-fungals, and you will see that a consultation with a nutritional therapist may help you make progress more effectively. Since Candida can burrow into the gut lining, many clients find that there are a number of foods which they are unable to tolerate. This may call for further diet adaptations while the integrity of the digestive tract is being supported.

So a diet avoiding refined grains, sugars and yeasted products is frequently just a start in supporting the intestinal microbiome. For some, the basic guidelines as listed above will be sufficient, but for others, additional factors may also need to be considered. Do get in touch with me at info@nutritonhelp.com if you want to book a consultation to help you in finding the right diet for you.

Over the next few blogs I will comment on some of the varied diets that are around at the moment, considering their suggested benefits in the light of using them alongside the Nutritionhelp anti-Candida protocol.