The more fuel you provide this little beast the more it will grow and the higher your level of overgrowth is the more undesirable symptoms you will experience. When you stop feeding your yeast, then the amount of symptoms you experience will be reduced. Therefore, the most important food to eliminate from your diet is refined sugar.
Refined sugar comes in many different forms. The most critical type of sugar to remove and the one you are most familiar with is white sugar. It is extremely refined and contains practically no nutritional value at all. Eating white sugar is like giving your yeast a pipeline straight to it's favorite and most potent source of fuel. Not only that, refined white sugar also contributes to weakening the immune system, type II diabetes, obesity, hypoglycemia, depression, anxiety and a variety of other health problems. Powdered sugar and brown sugar are cousins of white sugar and are just as bad for you and should be eliminated completely as well.
However white sugar is not the only villain of the Candida Diet. These types of sugar should be removed as well, maple sugar, date sugar, dextrose, maltose, lactose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, honey and molasses.
A lot of health conscious people think that it is healthy to eat organic cane sugar, or organic cane syrup or juice, but that is not the case in regard to Candida. Yes, organic sugar is not refined like white sugar. It is not stripped of its nutritional value and therefore it is definitely healthier for you. If you're going to splurge on something sweet, the choice of organic sugar is always preferred over refined white sugar. However, it is still sugar and yeast cannot distinguish between organic or not organic and will still flourish in splendor when you eat it.
Other forms of sugar to look out for are, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, barley malt, fruit juice, and agave. These four types of sugar are less offensive to Candida because they contain nutrients and they take longer to digest than the other refined sugars, however they will still feed the yeast on a lower level.
Now, there may be times when you just can't stand it anymore and you must have something sweet or you may want something special for a holiday, birthday or a special occasion. During these times you want to try and stick to the healthier forms of sugar like brown rice syrup, barley malt, fruit juice, and agave. However, keep in mind indulging in these sweets should be extremely limited as well and reserved for significant events. If at all possible, when indulging in treats I would stick to those sweetened with Agave, as I've found this to be the least offensive sweetener available for not only Candida, but blood sugar issues as well.
Additionally, in the early stages of the Candida diet even natural sugar that is found in fruits must be limited or sometimes removed completely for some people for a period of time. Yeast will also feast on fruit. Once you get your yeast overgrowth down to a lower level, then fruit may be eaten a little more freely. Some fruits are higher in sugar than others. Bananas, dates, figs, oranges, grapes and raisins are all very high in sugar so should be limited more. Fruits like apples, peaches, apricots and melons have a medium level of sugar, while fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and pears are lowest in sugar and cause the least amount of problems.
Although it is the most crucial part of the Candida diet, simply removing refined sugar will not be sufficient in the battle against Candida yeast alone, because all starches and carbohydrates are broken down into sugar in the body. The more refined and processed a food is the quicker it breaks down into sugar. So all simple carbohydrates and anything made with white flour should be removed. Alcohol, yeast and caffeine should also be avoided.
In addition to refined carbohydrates even complex carbohydrates must be eaten minimally. Although complex carbohydrates, like beans, whole grains, potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes are healthy for you in that they provide fiber and valuable nutrients, they still break down into sugar in the body. Because they are whole foods, they are broken down slower and therefore don't make the yeast multiply as quickly. However, they do still provide the yeast with a source of food, so they should be used sparingly.
At this point, you're probably asking, well what the heck should I eat? The most successful Candida diet is sometimes referred to as the caveman diet. It is a very simple diet that consists of nothing, but fresh, whole foods like meat, low carbohydrate vegetables and a very small serving of a complex carbohydrate. Eggs, yogurt, butter, seeds and nuts are also acceptable. Yes, I'm sorry to say that adhering to this diet can be extremely challenging. It takes a great deal of commitment, self-discipline and perseverance, but over time as you begin to see results it gets easier.
It's important to remember the Candida Diet alone will not conquer a yeast overgrowth problem. It is only one essential step of many. It's equally important to use an effective antifungal and replace friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract with a probiotic. Additionally, there other issues like the ph level of the body, nutritional deficiencies, stress management, colon health and environmental toxins that must be addressed as well.
By following a Candida diet, you not only experience less symptoms, but you also reduce the amount of yeast in your body to allow the antifungals and probiotics to have a fighting chance in restoring balance.
Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed. is a holistic health counselor who has researched Candida and it's impact on our physical and mental health for almost two decades. Her knowledge is enriched with personal experience in combating the condition herself. Get the facts you need about Candida in her new eBook, Candida Secrets - holistichelp.net/candida-secrets.html