Treating your Candida means making some changes to your eating habits and lifestyle. The Foods To Avoid list contains the foods that are most troublesome for Candida sufferers. These include sugary fruits, glutinous grains, caffeinated drinks, and moldy nuts.
In our Ultimate Candida Diet program, we have divided foods into YES, MAYBE, and NO lists. The NO list contains foods that you absolutely need to avoid during your treatment, and some of those are listed in the table below. The YES list contains foods that you can eat without any worry, while the MAYBE list contains foods that are OK for some people but not for others.
Some of the foods in the NO list provide energy directly to the Candida colonies. Others weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s ability to fight off infection. And there are also foods that affect your digestive system, for example by slowing it down or irritating the intestinal membrane. If you really want to beat your Candida infestation for good, give yourself the best chance possible by avoiding all these foods.
You can see the foods to avoid table on this page. Below the table, I have included some more detailed advice on which foods to avoid, and why.
Foods to Avoid on the Candida diet:
- High sugar fruits
- Glutinous grains
- Meats like pork and lunch meat
- Fish like tuna and swordfish
- Some dairy products
- Moldy nuts and seeds
- Condiments with added sugars
- Refined and processed vegetable oils
- Sugars and sugar substitutes
- Caffeinated or sugary drinks
- Alcoholic drinks
This is the ‘NO list’ of foods that should be avoided during your Candida diet. Your diet should include lots of non-starchy vegetables, some probiotic foods, proteins like eggs or white meat, and non-glutinous grains.
|CATEGORY||FOODS TO AVOID|
|HIGH SUGAR FRUITS||Bananas|
|TOXIC MEATS & FISH||Pork|
|SOME DAIRY PRODUCTS||Cheese|
|MOLDY NUTS & SEEDS||Nut butters from moldy nuts|
|REFINED/PROCESSED FATS & OILS||Canola oil|
Fake ‘butter’ spreads
|SUGARS & SUGAR SUBSTITUTES||Agave|
|CAFFEINATED OR SUGARY|
Diet & regular soda
Are you still unsure about a food that’s not on this list? Our Candida treatment program contains a much larger and more comprehensive list of foods to avoid. We also go into detail on why you should avoid them, and which foods you can eat instead.
The high sugar content in fruit is a good food source for Candida, even though the sugars are natural sugars. Most, if not all, fruits should be avoided in the early stages of the diet. See the foods to eat page for some low sugar fruits that you can eat.
It’s particularly important to avoid dried fruits like raisins or dried cranberries. The act of drying fruits dramatically increases their sweetness – just look at how much sweeter raisins are compared to grapes.
Another key fruit product to avoid is fruit juice. Without the natural fiber that slows down your absorption of sugar, fruit juices have an almost immediate impact on your blood sugar levels.
Both fruit juices and dried fruit are good examples of how a relatively low sugar fruit can be processed into something that has a much greater impact on your blood sugar.
It’s not just people with Celiac disease who struggle with glutinous grains. Many people with gut imbalances, including those with Candida overgrowth, also have a high sensitivity to gluten.
Gluten is a very common trigger for food sensitivities, and often results in symptoms like bloating, indigestion, cramping, brain fog, and fatigue. If you already have a Candida problem, eating gluten is likely to exacerbate your symptoms. It also likely to irritate and weaken your intestinal walls.
Many people don’t realize that the grain varieties we eat today are very different from those that our ancestors enjoyed. Today’s varieties have increased yields, but they also have much more gluten than was present before. Our digestive systems are simply not very well designed to cope with this, so give your intestines a break and stay off gluten during your Candida diet. Look for non-glutinous pseudo-grains like millet and buckwheat instead.
Some types of meat are perfectly acceptable on a Candida diet, for example chicken and turkey. Red meats are still generally acceptable, but in smaller amounts. However, there are some meats that you should definitely avoid.
Pork contains retroviruses and parasites that may survive cooking and be harmful for those with a weakened digestive system. Also remember that pork often comes in an over-cooked form (i.e. bacon!) that is full of carcinogenic compounds. Properly cooked pork from a reputable source may be OK, but we would recommend avoiding it during your Candida diet.
Processed meats like lunch meat and spam are loaded with dextrose, nitrates, sulfates, and sugars. These can worsen a gut imbalance like Candida, weaken your immune system, stress your liver, and potentially overload your detox pathways.
Large fish like tuna and swordfish tend to contain large amounts of heavy metals and other contaminants. This is because they live to be older and larger, and they spent a great deal of time swimming in our (sadly) polluted oceans.
A University of Michigan study found that mercury levels in tuna increased 3.8% each year from 1998 to 2008. This trend is likely to continue. Stick to small fish like herring or sardines instead, which have less time to accumulate mercury. Wild-caught salmon (especially from Alaska or the Pacific coast) is the only larger fish with lower mercury levels.
Most dairy should be avoided except ghee, butter, kefir, and probiotic yogurt. Dairy foods tend to contain lots of natural sugars (e.g. lactose), and they can also be difficult to digest. Many people have latent sensitivities to dairy products (especially those from cow’s milk) without even realizing it. The culprit is usually the lactose or casein found in products like milk or cheese.
Whey isolate is another dairy food that should be avoided. The processing used to produce whey isolates produces damaging D optical isomers, which are not designed to be in your body. When these D proteins end up in your bone, brain and muscle, they have been linked to accelerated aging, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Whey concentrates are a much better choice, or protein powders made from vegetable sources. Lastly, it goes without saying that you should steer clear of any dairy product that contains added sugars. Examples are sugary yogurts, ice cream, and chocolate milk.
This group of nuts contains high amounts of mold, which can potentially irritate your gut. Candida sufferers also tend to have a higher sensitivity to mold, which can lead to inflammation and an immune reaction (just like mold in your home).
The nuts that are highest in mold are usually peanuts, cashews, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios, so you might want to think about excluding these from your diet until you have recovered from your Candida overgrowth. If you do choose to use them in a recipe, make sure they are soaked overnight or sprayed with Grapefruit Seed Extract before you use them. Also remember to avoid nut butters made from these particular nuts.
Many condiments and salad dressings tend to contain large amounts of hidden sugars, which can exacerbate your Candida overgrowth. Products like salad dressings might be marketed as a healthy choice, when in reality they are the exact opposite. For an alternative salad dressing, try coconut aminos or a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing.
Other condiments to avoid include dips like barbecue sauce and ketchup, which are very high in added sugars. Watch out for long lists of additives and preservatives too. If you need to add flavor to your food, try to do it by adding herbs, spices, and healthy oils instead.
Refined and processed vegetable oils are generally bad news for your health, and you should avoid them while on this anti-Candida diet. There are plenty of excellent oils to choose from, without resorting to these over-processed vegetable derivatives. Also steer clear of ‘fake’ butter spreads (real butter is a much healthier choice!) and margarines.
Olive oil is a great choice, and an antifungal food too, but be aware that there are lots of fake olive oils out there. You might buy your olive oil in a reputable store, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s 100% olive oil. Other, cheaper oils like canola are often mixed in to boost profit margins.
There are at least 50 different names for sugar that can appear on your ingredients label. Typical culprits tend to be condiments, breakfast cereals, and soft drinks. Always read food labels to make sure your food doesn’t contain sugar. And remember that natural sugars like maple syrup, agave, and honey are just as likely to feed a Candida overgrowth.
Be careful with artificial sweeteners like aspartame too. It can weaken your immune system and, in some studies, aspartame has been shown to raise blood glucose just like sugar. Not to mention that it might a carcinogen too.
There are healthier sweetener choices that won’t raise your blood sugar or cause long term health problems. Try sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, or xylitol instead.
Caffeine can cause your blood sugar to rise, but the main problem is that, like most caffeinated drinks, it weakens the adrenals and can impair your immune system. Coffee also contains quite large amounts of mold. Look for a Candida-friendly alternative instead of your coffee or black tea.
I already mentioned fruit juices in the fruits section – these should be avoided because of the way that they affect your blood sugar. Also steer yourself away from sugary soft drinks, and diet drinks that contain aspartame or sucralose. Energy drinks tend to be loaded with added sugars and stimulants, so they should be eliminated from your diet too.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol can lead to a temporary drop in your blood sugar, something that many people don’t realize. On the other hand, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol tends to increase your blood sugar. Either way, destabilizing your blood sugar in this way puts extra stress on your adrenal glands and other internal organs.
Alcoholic drinks are often full of carbohydrates and associated with high sugar mixers and foods. In the long run, alcohol consumption tends to decrease the effectiveness of insulin, leading to consistently higher blood sugar levels. Alcohol can also increase gut permeability and negatively affect your immune system. For more information, check out my post on 7 reasons to avoid alcohol on your Candida diet
More Comprehensive Food Lists
Are you still confused about a food that’s not on these lists? Our Ultimate Candida Diet program contains much larger and more comprehensive lists of foods to eat and avoid, along with detailed information on why each food group is permitted or not. It comes with a handy shopping list that you can take to the store, and more than 50 delicious recipes to make use of all those tasty, Candida-safe ingredients!