Phone

News & Perspectives

Candida Counts Unaltered in Healthy People on Sugar-Rich Diet

What the Study Showed
How It Was Done
Why It's Important

What the Study Showed
In an apparent challenge to the premise that restricting sugary foods will help to control Candida overgrowth syndrome, participants in this 1999 trial experienced no gastrointestinal tract reduction of the suspect yeast Candida albicans when they cut back on sugar. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

How It Was Done
Twenty-eight healthy volunteers took part in this two-part study. In the first stage, researchers evaluated the amount of sugary foods (including baked goods and other refined carbohydrates, candy, fruit juice, lemonade) each participant normally consumed. For the next six weeks, participants maintained their usual diet, and several times cultures were taken from their mouths and feces to determine the concentration of C. albicans present in their digestive tracts.

In the second stage of the study, C. albicans was similarly measured during and after the participants consumed a specially designed high-sugar diet containing a refined carbohydrate supplement. For about a week, the supplement was taken between regular meals, three times a day. A regular diet was then resumed for another four weeks.

Why It's Important
Many proponents of an "anti-yeast" diet contend that limiting refined carbohydrates, such as dextrose and fructose, will suppress the growth of Candida in the gastrointestinal tract. They point out that this yeast has repeatedly been shown to flourish in glucose-rich environments.

The present findings indicated no such effect, however. In the study's second stage, eating a high-sugar diet hardly changed the amount of C. albicans in the gastrointestinal tract. On the other hand, a far different reaction might have occurred if the participants had not been healthy, if they'd had compromised immune systems less able to control Candida growth.

The authors conclude that follow-up studies of similar design should be pursued in select patient groups that might truly benefit from dietary restriction of refined carbohydrates.

Source: Weig M, et al. Limited Effect of Refined Carbohydrate Dietary Supplementation on Colonization of the Gastrointestinal Tract of Healthy Subjects by Candida Albicans. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:1170-1173.


Date Published: 01/23/2002
> Printer-friendly Version Return to Top