Dr Crook’s Anti-Candida Diet – A Controversial Theory

The cause of a yeast infection is Candida Albicans, a fungus that lives in the digestive tract and vagina. The levels of the fungus are kept low and are controlled by the immune system and by the healthy bacteria also living there. If this balance is upset the scales can be tipped to favor the fungus and allow it to grow. This overgrowth results in a Candidiasis or a yeast infection. This can take the form of a vaginal yeast infection, the most common form, but can also be an oral infection or skin infection.

There are several forms of treatment a person can turn to, and there are also choices to make between alternative practitioners and conventional doctors. This article looks at the alternative practice of an anti Candida diet, originally created by Dr Crook though his ideas have been altered and adapted by other alternative practitioners.

What is Dr Crook’s Anti-Candida Diet based on?
In 1983 Dr William Crook wrote a book called ‘The Yeast Connection’ in which he linked symptoms such as memory loss, headaches, mood swings, depression, craving sweets and fatigue to an over growth of yeast in the intestines, yeast syndrome. This excess yeast according to Crook and some other alternative practitioners penetrates the intestinal walls and allows yeast particles to enter the rest of the body. This then creates an allergic reaction to the yeast which triggers the immune system. It was and still is a controversial issue, some support the theory and some do not.

Dr Crook’s Anti-Candida diet
According to Dr Crook and his supporters, there are dietary guidelines a person can follow to eliminate an infection or to help avoid one. Two key points of his diet are to avoid sugar and to avoid foods with yeast in them. Sugar supposedly allows the growth of the fungus as it feeds it. Carbohydrates are limited on this diet amounts are based on how old a person is, their overall health and any food sensitivities they may have. Protein is emphasized, as are some nuts. As the yeast infection goes, the levels of carbs can be increased slowly again. Foods such as mushrooms, bread, beer, cheese and other fermented foods are to be cut out as Dr Crook believed those with a Candida overgrowth could also be allergic to other fungi. This restriction is not applicable to all alternative health practitioners.

The diet lasts as long as the symptoms do, and that depends on how severe the yeast infection is. How healthy the sufferer is is also a factor in how long it takes to work. Usually those that follow the diet report that it takes at least four weeks for noticeable improvements, for others it can take months.

Foods to cut out completely

  • Refined sugar – white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, corn syrup, raw sugar, rice syrup, molasses and so on. Check labels of foods for lactose, fructose, mannitol, glycogen, sorbitol, sucrose, maltose, glucose.
  • Fruits – they contain natural sugars. This includes, fresh, juice, frozen and canned.
  • Yeast – no baked goods allowed, mushrooms, beer and other fermented items.
  • Gluten – rye, wheat, barley.
  • Vinegar – white vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, and items that contain vinegar like Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce, mustard, pickles, relishes, and so on.
  • Peanuts – including peanut butter
  • Pistachios
  • Alcohol
  • Tea and coffee – all types
  • Cheeses – processed cheese such as slices, cream cheese, Cheese Whiz and aged and mouldy cheeses like Roquefort or blue cheeses.
  • Meats that have been processed, dried, pickled or smoked – including sausages, bacon, bologna, corned beef, salami, smoked salmon, pickled herring and so on.
  • Refined, processed and packaged foods – such as canned, boxed, bottled foods that end to contain refined sugars, yeast, refined flour, preservatives, chemicals and colorings.

Foods to cut out completely

Supplementing Dr Crook’s Anti-Candida Diet
Part of the plan according to Dr Crook is to include the taking of herbs and supplements along with the diet. There are several that can be used (looked at in more detail in a separate article). All alternative practitioners recommend patients start taking lower amounts of herbs and supplements and then slowly increasing the amounts. This is because there can be a worsening of your health due to the toxins being released by the dieing yeast.

Dr Crook’s Anti-Candida Diet v Scientific Evidence
At the moment there is not a lot of scientific evidence to support Dr Crook’s theories. There have not been a lot of studies done and those that have been give conflicting data. In one study for example 116 people were treated with nystatin an anti-fungal drug. Some of those also followed an anti-candida diet and claimed symptoms were greatly improved. In another study no discernible benefit of following an anti-candida diet was noted.

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