What is a Yeast Free Diet?
A yeast free diet, or also called the anti-fungal diet, is one that focuses on avoiding foods that contain yeast or may be conducive to helping yeasts grow in the body. Originally, the diet was used by people who don’t tolerate yeast well and are prone to yeast infections.
These infections include maladies like thrush or vaginitis, which can range in severity from uncomfortable to life threatening. By adopting a yeast-free diet, individuals susceptible to these afflictions can reduce their likelihood.
In recent years, however, some powerful benefits of the diet have been recognized and it has become a popular diet for weight loss, autism, and for general health. On a yeast free diet, you will avoid any food that contains yeast or that feeds yeast. The goal of the yeast-free diet is to starve and kill as much yeast in your body as possible.
What Can I Eat on the Yeast Free Diet?
In most yeast free diets, the initial stage is the strictest, and slowly you are allowed to introduce some foods back in your diet in limited quantities.
Below are foods that you should particularly try to eliminate or greatly restrict.
- All grain products, including bread, pastries and cookies (except those below* that you can consume in moderation)
- Table sugar, or anything made from table sugar
- Corn syrup, including high-fructose corn syrup
- Corn (typically contaminated with mold)
- Mushrooms (a form of fungi)
- Peanuts/pistachios (typically contaminated with mold)
- Vinegar (except apple cider vinegar)
- Coffee/fermented tea
- Anything that contains yeast
Below are foods that you can eat on the yeast free diet.
- Fresh meat including chicken, beef, pork and turkey (organic is best)
- Fresh fish (wild is best)
- Eggs (organic is best)
- Fresh low-starch vegetables (except those above that are prohibited)
- Bottled, filtered or sparkling water
- Green tea
- Other low-sugar fruits
- Butter (organic is best)
- Organic hormone-free milk
- Apple cider vinegar
- Nuts (except peanuts and pistachios)
Foods Allowed in Moderation
*Below are foods that you can consume in moderation
- High-sugar fruits such as bananas and melons
- High-starch vegetables such as yams and potatoes
- Oats, rice, flour tortillas and sourdough bread
Will I Lose Weight on the Yeast-Free Diet?
A good starting point is to figure out if you are suffering from yeast overgrowth. Here is a quick questionnaire that you can take.
Especially if you currently have yeast overgrowth, the yeast-free diet will definitely help you to lose weight, as well as make you a lot healthier and feeling better, by reducing inflammation within your body caused by fungal overgrowth.
Another possible side effect of yeast overgrowth is decreased thyroid function, which makes it difficult for you to lose weight. By starving off yeast and getting your thyroid function back, you will more easily lose weight as a result.
Most yeast-containing foods such as bread, pasta and sweets are very high-calorie to begin with. By eliminating these high-calorie foods, you will further expedite your weight loss by reducing your calorie intake naturally.
Pro and Cons of a Yeast Free Diet
Steady weight loss.
The yeast free diet has become a widespread favorite for multiple reasons. One is its ability to promote steady weight loss. While doing so, it cleanses the body of unhealthy toxins and pollutants. The speed at which you lose weight will depend on the individual and on your total calorie intake. If you are currently eating lots of processed foods and sweets, you will most likely lose weight very rapidly. However if you over-consume some of the allowed high-calorie foods such as nuts and oils, your weight loss will not be as fast and as dramatic.
Prevents yeast/fungal infections.
Another benefit of the yeast free diet is its traditional purpose of protecting the body from the unhealthy growth of yeast that can lead to a host of problems including vaginitis, weight gain, irritable bowel syndrome and PMS. Especially for people who are prone to these infections, this is a major benefit of the yeast free diet.
Treatment of autism and general health benefits.
The yeast free diet has also earned acclaim in treating the symptoms of autism. Many parents with autistic children have reported beneficial effects when incorporating the yeast free diet.
The anti-fungal diet is also known to dramatically improve autoimmune diseases such as ulcerative colitis.
Also given the foods that are allowed on the diet (mainly fresh whole foods), you will have not only the benefit of losing weight but overall maintaining a healthy body. You may even cure some of your existing health conditions!
The diet is very restrictive so will take time to get used to. Proponents suggest a life-long incorporation of this yeast-free diet, which may be impossible for some people. Especially if you are looking to incorporate this diet for mainly weight loss purposes, an easier and perhaps a more sustainable way to incorporate the diet is to eat yeast-free as much as possible, with occasional cheat meals/snacks.
Preparation and cooking.
It will be difficult to incorporate this diet without some preparation and cooking of foods. Hardly any prepackaged foods fall under the allowed foods category, so meals will have to be prepared and/or cooked. Also, if you want to have occasional yeast-free treats such as cookies and cakes, you will have to bake them yourself.
During the first few weeks of a yeast free diet, you may experience some negative effects (also called the “die-off” effect or “Herxheimer” reaction). These include tiredness, irritability, small fever and rashes, which can stem from the body attempting to rid itself of yeast toxins. These effects wear off as the diet continues. Many dieters are encouraged that the negative symptoms indicate the body is being cleansed and thus are actually signs of good health in the future!
Tips for a Yeast Free Diet
It’s important, if undertaking a yeast free diet, to know what foods to avoid and what foods to eat more of. Yeast is in most baked goods as well as all fermented beverages (including anything alcoholic). It is also found in cheeses, vinegar, ketchup and salad dressings.
There is a lot, on the other hand, that you can eat. For example, yogurt, eggs, fresh unprocessed meats (including fish), nuts (except peanuts/pistachios), low-sugar fruits and non-starchy vegetables.
If you go on a yeast free diet, you should obtain a comprehensive list of foods you can and cannot eat. Especially in the first few weeks, it may help to keep a diet log where you record everything you eat each day. This will help you get a handle on allowed foods, as well as remember menu choices you found particularly appealing.
You also should pay attention to medications and supplements you consume. Many people aren’t aware that some medicines and supplements contain yeast. For example, most antibiotics are by-products of fungi (penicillin is derived from mold), and are discouraged in the yeast-free diet.
Birth control pills are also discouraged as they tend to make the yeast multiply in your body.
If you are suffering from or prone to yeast infections or yeast overgrowth, you may want to try Candex, which is an effective supplement that dissolves the cell walls of yeast and fungi, without killing off the good probiotics in your body.
Where Can I Get More Information About the Yeast Free Diet?
Know the Cause is a great website focusing on the anti-fungal (yeast-free) diet. Here is a summary page that will allow you to get started right away. The site also has some great recipes for the yeast-free diet. If you are serious about the yeast-free/anti-fungal diet, reading one of their books is highly recommended as they go into the details of the topic of yeast/fungus and exactly what you can and cannot eat.