What to Avoid on a Yeast-Free Diet
There are several medical conditions in which an alternative diet may help alleviate symptoms. Individuals with Celiac Disease find relief by following a gluten-free diet, those suffering from diabetes follow a consistent carbohydrate diet and someone that is lactose intolerant avoids dairy. A yeast-free diet is thought to facilitate in reducing the symptoms of anyone experiencing Candida overgrowth.
What are Yeast and Candida?
Yeast is a fungus that converts carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide. Candida is a family of yeasts found in human tissues that are kept under control by beneficial bacteria found along the intestinal tract. When the beneficial bacteria are reduced, most frequently by the use of antibiotics, Candida can rapidly overgrow and cause several conditions such as thrush and skin or vaginal yeast infections. The symptoms of Candida overgrowth include digestive irregularities, mental fogginess, and countless skin issues.
What to Avoid on a Yeast-Free Diet
For those individuals that are following a recommended yeast-free diet, it is much more than simply avoiding yeast itself. It is recommended to avoid items that may promote the growth of Candida, such as fermented foods. This means that vinegar, some cheeses, cultured dairy products and baked goods where yeast is used as the leavening agent are all restricted. Fermented foods are also believed by some to trigger allergies to other types of fungi. Yeast-free grains include items made from corn, rice, oats, and dense wheat products such as pasta. It is not necessary to avoid gluten while following a yeast-free diet as yeast and gluten are not similar. Gluten is a protein found in some grains that helps them to keep their shape by providing a glue-like texture.
Several diets that are severely restrictive recommend eliminating dairy products as well. People that suffer from gut issues are sometimes sensitive or intolerant to dairy and do not realize it. Once it is avoided, symptoms may subside.
The Yeast-Free Diet isn’t for Everyone
Much like the fad of gluten-free diets that are not medically indicated, a yeast-free diet is not necessary for everyone. Severely restrictive diets may help a person feel well overall simply because of the foods that are eliminated. Once processed, packaged and unhealthy foods are off limits the only choice left is to eat healthily. A yeast-free diet basically entails consuming non-starchy vegetables, lean meats, fruit, and water, while eliminating most processed and high sugar foods and increasing physical activity. This is also referred to a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
At this time there is no evidence-based research that supports the use of a yeast-free diet, but restricting consumption to only healthy, nutrient-dense foods may alleviate many symptoms thought to be associated with a variety of medical issues for any individual. Eliminating processed foods that are high in calories but provide very little nutritional benefit and increasing the intake of healthy, wholesome foods can help make anyone feel good and improve energy, brain function, and sleep patterns. For this reason, many diets cleanses and programs become so popular. In reality, many people find it hard to switch gears from one way of eating to the complete opposite and find may themselves reverting back to old habits. Registered Dietitians recommend consuming a balanced diet and eating all foods in healthy moderation. As with several medical conditions, diet alone may help alleviate symptoms but will no fix the initial cause, which may require testing and treatment with medication. Visiting a specialist is recommended to determine any food sensitivities, intolerances or allergies.
For more questions, reach out to a CHI Health Nutritionist.
These blogs are written by members of the CHI Health Nutrition Services team.