What an RD Wants You to Know Before Trying the Candida Diet for Better Gut Health

Wondering about the health benefits of the candida diet? A dietitian breaks it down right here

Eating for gut health in the year 2020 is as trendy as sporting a Juicy Couture sweatsuit was back in the early aughts. One eating plan known as the candida diet claims to outpace the rest when it comes to serving up good-for-your gut meals, but is it a passing trend (like good old JC sweats)? Or is is the candida diet healthy enough to stand the test of nutrition times? That's the question Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, answers for us on the latest episode of Well+Good's YouTube show, You Versus Food.

Before you hear her spiel, though, you first need to know what this mysterious thing called (*checks notes*) candida is. "Get this: We all have yeast inside our bods," explains Beckerman. "Candida is just one type of yeast that's typically found in small amounts in the mouth, intestines, on the skin, or in the vagina." 

When that yeast is in balance with the good bacteria of your microbiome, it's all smooth sailing in the gut. "The problems arise when there's too much [candida]," says Beckerman. "This is Candida overgrowth, which may result in an infection known as Candidiasis. Candidiasis can cause thrush, fatigue, digestive issues, yeast infections, and UTIs."

Enter the candida diet, which sets temporary dietary restrictions that highlight gut-health boosters (like lean proteins, healthy fats, probiotics, and non-starchy veggies), while restricting the consumption of gluten, sugar, alcohol, additives, and more "inflammatory foods." In theory, these rules should cut out the foods that impact the GI lining and make the candida thrive. But while there's never a problem with incorporating more salmon, avocado, spinach, and yogurt into your diet, Beckerman warns that not all of the diet's rules have nutritional clout.

"There is no significant evidence saying that a gluten-free diet can benefit those who do not have a gluten intolerance," says Beckerman. "Plus, gut imbalances are serious business—and everyone who thinks they have one should be working closely with a health professional about what their next step should be before trying the diet."

To get the full story on the candida diet's virtues and pitfalls, you'll have to tune into the full video.

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