Several studies over the past 10-20 years have noted the increased incidence of yeast infections. To put it simply, yeast infections are becoming more and more common among women of all ages. And this applies equally to vaginal yeast infections, oral thrush, and yeast-related skin rashes. If you have suffered from recurrent yeast infections yourself, or you know someone who has, you might be interested to find out that one of the major causes for this is actually the modern Western diet.
The rise in yeast infections has coincided with an increase in diabetes and an explosion in obesity. So what’s the common factor in all of these? Many people are surprised to hear that the amount of exercise we do is not the answer. In fact, studies have shown that children these days actually do a similar amount of exercise to kids 50 years ago. The one factor that actually contributes to all three of these illnesses is… Sugar.
You might not even realize it, but unless you are really watching what you eat your diet is probably full of sugar. And I’m not talking about just an occasional spoonful of sugar in your cup of coffee. What I’m really talking about is the mountains of ‘hidden’ sugars that we consume in other foods. Foods like processed meats, yogurts, salad dressings, and ‘fat-free’ desserts.
Here is one example of a ‘healthy’ Subway meal. A 12 inch, ‘Ultimate Veggie with Avocado’ sandwich, served on Honey Oat bread, contains 32 grams of sugar. Add a can of coke and two cookies, and you could be consuming over 110 grams of sugar. That’s the equivalent of 27 sugar cubes! So you can see that however much sugar you might be adding to your coffee or cereal, it doesn’t even compare to the hidden sugar in the foods that we eat.
It wasn’t always this way. The amount of sugar that we eat really began to rise after the US government began to subsidize corn production in the 1970s. This led to overproduction, and much of the surplus was turned into a cheap-to-produce sugar named High Fructose Corn Syrup. That’s the very same High Fructose Corn Syrup that you see on so many food labels in today’s supermarkets. It’s cheaper than regular sugar, it satisfies our sugar cravings, and it enables the food producers to label their products as ‘low-fat’ when they should really be labeled ‘high-sugar’.
But why is sugar so important for Candida anyway, and how does this lead to yeast infections? The answer lies in how the Candida yeast cells build their cell walls and multiply. They need energy to do this, and they get this energy from the sugars and simple carbohydrates that we eat. More sugar in your intestines means more energy for the Candida colonies to expand, multiply and spread to different parts of your body. In fact, Candida has the ability to spread up and down your entire digestive tract. This leads to both oral thrush and vaginal yeast infections.
Hopefully you are beginning to see how a high-sugar diet might be contributing to your Candida overgrowth or recurrent yeast infections. In the treatment plan that I designed with Dr. Eric Wood, we go into lots of detail on the changes you need to make to your diet to correct this. The Ultimate Candida Diet plan contains comprehensive lists of Foods to Avoid, Foods to Eat and some delicious recipes, as well as printable shopping lists that you can take to the store with you.