The anti-fungal or anti-yeast diet is aimed at curbing the growth of yeasts such as Candida albicans in the gut which some believe can grow out of control due to factors such as the use of antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, and immunosupressive drugs such as corticosteroids. This overgrowth of yeast it is supposed then leads to a host of symptoms and consequences for an individual's health. It is commonly suggested that Candida overgrowth is involved in chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and fibromyalgia for example.
Yeasts such as Candida albicans feed on sugars and ferment them to form ethanol (drinking alcohol) and its even more toxic breakdown product acetaldehyde. They also produce numerous other toxins as by-products of their metabolism.
Based on the above in the early 1980s Dr. William G. Crook in his book 'The Yeast Connection', and his contemporary Dr. John Parks Trowbridge in his own book 'The Yeast Syndrome', formulated diets aimed at starving yeasts of the sugars which they need to thrive. The aim being to reduce their numbers, bring the intestinal flora back into balance, and restore health to the patient (usual in combination with other measures such as antifungal medications).
It is also thought that those with a Candida/yeast problem will have developed allergies/sensitivities to molds and mold products so foods containing these must also be avoided.
A typical anti-fungal/anti-yeast diet recommends the following:
Foods that must be avoided
Sugar & sugar containing foods:
Table sugar (sucrose) and all other simple, fast releasing sugars such as fructose, lactose, maltose, glucose, mannitol and sorbitol. All honey and sugar syrup type products such as maple syrup and molasses. This also includes all candies, sweets, cakes, cookies etc.
High sugar fruits:
Pineapple, mango, banana etc
Packaged and processed foods:
This includes canned, bottled, boxed and otherwise processed and pre-packaged foods as they more often than not contain sugar of one type or another.
Canned - Baked beans, soups, ready-made sauces
Bottled - Soft drinks, fruit juices, condiments/sauces
Boxed/Packaged - Ready-made meals, breakfast cereals, chocolate/candy, ice cream, frozen foods.
Mold and yeast containing foods:
Cheeses: moldy cheeses like stilton are the worst, buttermilk, sour cream and sour milk products.
Alcoholic drinks: beer, wine, cider, whiskey, brandy, gin and rum.
Condiments: vinegar and vinegar containing foods like mayonnaise, pickles, soy sauce, mustard and relishes.
Malt products: cereals, candy and malted milk drinks.
Edible fungi: including all types of mushrooms and truffles.
Processed and smoked meats: sausages, hot dogs, corned beef, pastrami, smoked fish, ham, bacon.
Fruit juices: All packaged fruit juices may potentially contain molds. Fresh fruit juices are allowed only in moderation due to their sugar content.
Dried fruits: raisins, apricots, prunes, figs, dates etc.
Foods to be eaten in moderation
Grains: Wheat, rice, corn, barley, millet, oats.
High carbohydrate vegetables and legumes: sweet corn, potatoes, beans and peas, lentils, sweet potatoes, squashes, turnips, parsnips.
Fruits: low sugar types such as berries.
Foods to be eaten freely
Animal products: meat, fish, seafood, eggs
Low carbohydrate vegetables: brocolli, spinach, cauliflower, kale, onion, leek, asparagus etc
Nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, low carb and low mold nuts