The Candida Diet is a food protocol used primarily by natural medicine practitioners, naturopaths and nutritionists as a natural alternative to drugs for treating a candida infection.
Candida is a yeast that occurs naturally in out gut, but can become overgrown, causing IBS symptoms, usually bloating being the main one, as well as recurring thrush, brain fog, intense sugar cravings, low energy and mood, and even fungal nail infections.
But does the diet work? Women’s heath website Femedic asked me and a few dieticians for out opinions on whether the fairly extreme diet is effective.
I have personal experience of it when I was tested while having extreme bloating and sugar cravings (no other symptoms thankfully) and was put on the diet for a couple of weeks, alongside various antifungal medications.
It was difficult to follow and the medications were doing the bulk of the work in clearing the infection, but while benefits of the diet may be bigger in some people than others, I reasoned that anything that helped was worth doing temporarily. It’s not a way of eating that’s sustainable long term and I didn’t do the extreme ‘cleanse’ that some people start with.
Here’s an extract from the article on the Femedic Website which specialises in women’s issues such as menstruation, menopause and other areas of gynaecological health.
” Dietitians aren’t all that convinced by the claims of the Candida diet, and both stress the importance of not changing your diet or following any ‘cleanse’ without first consulting a doctor. However, others do believe that the Candida diet works – or at least it worked for them. Pollyanna Hale is a weight loss coach, personal trainer, and nutritionist, and thinks that some people could see positive results from the Candida diet.
“You can have a gut only Candida infection and not get thrush,” she says. “So regularly feeling bloated with a distended stomach would be a sign that Candida might be the culprit. Brain fog and sugar cravings are two other common symptoms, as well as skin and nail fungal infections.”
Pollyanna believes following the Candida diet could help relieve symptoms and clear infection. “The Candida diet cuts out sugar, yeast, fermented and mouldy foods, and foods that have a tendency to contain low levels of moulds, such as some nuts, which help Candida thrive. It also encourages natural anti-fungals such as garlic and coconut,” she explains. But not everyone will need to follow the diet as strictly as others. “The more severe or stubborn the infection, the more rigid you will need to be with what you eat and drink, until the infection is cleared,” she adds.
However, like Faith and Sophie, she does voice her concern at the extreme cleanse part of the diet, as advertised. “An aggressive reset won’t be necessary for everyone,” she says. “It’s basically just eating lots of vegetables and a little fat and protein to ‘flush out’ your gut and cut off the Candida’s food supplies to help stop it growing.” However, this sort of extreme eating (or abstaining) can be difficult to stick to, she notes, and says the Candida dying off can cause “unpleasant and flu-like symptoms”. She does add that anyone wanting to do the cleanse part of their diet should first seek a doctor’s advice. “It’s quite an extreme way of eating even if it is only for three days, and not everybody is suitable to follow such a protocol,” she says. ”