Yeast syndrome was popularized by William Crook, MD, in his 1983 book, The Yeast Connection. Most conventional doctors think this syndrome is over-diagnosed by holistic practitioners and many disagree with the validity of the diagnosis.
Eating yeast-free means not only avoiding yeast but also starving the yeast organism of the medium it enjoys best – sugars and simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates (whole grains) and foods with low sugar content should replace these.
Some holistic practitioners also believe that overgrowth of Candida yeast in the intestines is responsible for a yeast syndrome, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, headache, mood swings, sinus congestion, depression, poor memory and concentration, and cravings for sweets.
Excess Candida yeast in the intestines is thought to penetrate the intestinal wall, causing yeast and other unwanted particles to be absorbed into the body.
The absorbed yeast particles are thought to activate the immune system, resulting in an allergic hypersensitivity to Candida.
Dr. Crook recommended that people with Candida overgrowth:
- avoid eating sugar. According to Dr. Crook, sugar promotes the growth of yeast. The total carbohydrate intake per day is often limited. For example, during the initial two to three weeks on the diet, the carbohydrate intake may be restricted to less than 60 grams per day, depending on age, health, activity level, and the extent of food sensitivities. Low-carbohydrate foods such as meat, chicken, turkey, shellfish, non-starchy vegetables, and certain nuts are emphasized instead. As symptoms subside, the carbohydrate total of the diet is often gradually increased.
- avoid eating foods that contain any type of yeast. These include fermented foods such as bread made with yeast, cheese, tomato paste, mushrooms, and beer.
Although Dr. Crook believed that people with Candida overgrowth would also be allergic to other fungi, not all practitioners believe this restriction is necessary.
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