The candida diet is an elimination diet focused on re-balancing gut health and halting a condition known as candida overgrowth. This diet claims to calm gastrointestinal upset and other symptoms of yeast overgrowth through dietary changes, probiotics, and antifungal use.
What Makes up the Diet?
The diet contains three element individuals are suggested to follow including taking a probiotic, an antifungal, and make dietary alterations.
Probiotic supplementation is recommended while following a diet to eliminate candida. Creators suggest probiotics will reintroduce healthy bacteria into a gut that previously contained overwhelming amounts of unhealthy bacteria. The diet website provides a detailed guide on how to choose the right probiotic.
The second element of the diet is taking an antifungal. Originators state antifungals help break down the candida bacteria and recommend natural antifungals such as caprylic acid, grapefruit seed extract, coconut oil, garlic, and oil of oregano.
Food included are similar to many other diets as they are low sugar, minimally processed foods. However, the creators recommend beginning the diet with a three to seven day cleanse. The cleanse period includes eating only:
- Raw salads
- Steamed vegetables
- Some eggs
- Herbs, spices, healthy oils, and lemon juice
A full list of foods allowed during the cleanse can be found here.
Once the cleanse period is over, participants consume only foods included in the candida diet. This period lasts from a month to a few months depending on the participant. Foods that fall within the diet include:
- Low sugar fruits such as lemons, limes, and avocados
- Non-starchy vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc.
- Gluten-free grains including quinoa, teff, and buckwheat
- Good sources of proteins such as chicken, eggs, and fatty fish
- Limited dairy products such as butter, ghee, and yogurt containing probiotics
- Low mold nuts and seeds including almonds, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds
- Healthy oils like coconut, olive, flax, and sesame oils
- Beverages including chicory coffee, filtered water, and herbal teas
Foods to avoid on this diet are highly refined and processed foods, high sugar fruits, grains that contain gluten, lunchmeat, pork, tuna, swordfish, peanuts, cashews, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios, condiments that contain sugar such as ketchup or mayonnaise, margarine and other processed butter spreads, sugar, sugar substitutes, alcohol, sugar sweetened drinks, and caffeinated drinks.
Once symptoms of candida decline, participants can begin to reintroducing foods slowly. The diet's creators state a slow reintroduction may help indicate what foods cause candida flare-ups.
Evidence for the Diet
Minimally processed foods, low sugar, and limited toxins can make up a very healthy diet for anyone to follow. However, the hard science behind the dieting to eliminate candida is limited. There is little evidence to suggest food can alter candida bacteria found in the body. Additionally, "cleanse" diets can be misleading as the body typically does not require cleansing.
Despite limited evidence, the candida diet does present some benefits to users. It contains food that are minimally processed. Anyone following a diet that is made up of mostly fresh, whole foods will begin to feel the beneficial effects of following that eating pattern after some time. Additionally, even a slight increase in fiber intake from eating more fruits and vegetables can improve gut health.
A Healthy Diet
The diet strives to eliminate candida or yeast overgrowth from the body by reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It includes three major components of probiotics, natural antifungals, and dietary changes. Although there is little evidence on the effects, minimal harm can come from eating nutritious, whole foods. However, always speak with a doctor or registered dietitian before starting any diet.