Candida and fruit are two things that are seldom found to work together, a view that is not backed by science and can even be harmful. When I developed the Candida Plan about 21 years ago, I was fortunate enough NOT to be familiar with the anti-candida programs or books that were around. That meant that I could discover for myself what worked and what didn’t work for my patients. Three years later, I started getting questions from my patients about why this or why not that.

The Plan as it had been developed was very successful from the beginning and is still the original Plan as it is laid out today. One of the common questions that I received was why people could have fruit on my Plan, when other candida programs said that you weren’t supposed to have fruit when trying to eliminate candida overgrowth. Originally, I didn’t know. One, I didn’t know what other programs entailed and two; I only knew that the Plan worked very well. As patients continually forged ahead with the Plan, they soon discovered for themselves that fruit wasn’t an issue in correcting the problem. My practice was very specialized and dealt with very complex cases. Patients would show up with a list of conditions and symptoms that no one else had been able to fix. I soon discovered that when someone did the Plan, their list of symptoms could go from 7-12 down to 1 or none. Seeing these type of results with difficult patients lead me to placing almost everyone on the Plan, and my reputation grew because of it. For everyone who did the Plan, I would end up getting 3-5 new referrals. This was great as I didn’t advertise; I wasn’t listed in the Yellow Pages; and my practice was hidden away on the 4th floor of a building, so there was no street presence. It was 100% referral and I was doing very well.

After 3 years of great success, I started to look around to see what was out there in terms of other candida books and programs, so that I could better answer the questions that patients were asking me about these other programs as they compared to the Plan. The Yeast Connection and the Yeast Syndrome were two very popular books then and now. The two Yeast books can be a little wordy to wade through but are filled with valuable information and stories. It was here that I first read about the candida program that had been developed by Orian Truss in the late 1950s. He was a medical doctor whose years of practice eventually lead to the recognition of Candida albicans as a causative agent in many conditions and diseases.

Dr. Truss’ used the medication Nystatin to treat candida albicans along with a dietary protocol. That dietary protocol is by and large what most anti-candida diets have been based on ever since, despite years and years of new research and understanding.

Dr. Truss had good success with his anti-candida diet, but the effectiveness of this approach from the very beginning was limited due to the inability of Nystatin to treat candida systemically, as he readily acknowledged. His knowledge and clinical observations lead to creating a dietary protocol that restricted sugars and other carbohydrates, yet he placed more emphasis on the effect of Nystatin than he did on carbohydrate reduction.

Candida albicans doesn’t exist in an isolated sphere, yet many people treat it that way. It has to be considered in the context of its environment and how it responds to that environment, as well as how the environment responds to it. This would be a more whole or “holistic” assessment.

A recent article from Albert Einstein College of Medicine states it as follows:

“Pathogenicity and virulence are emergent properties, meaning that they cannot be predicted directly from the properties of the microorganism. The environment, an individual host or population of hosts and/or an individual microbe or population of microbes can change independently, or as a function of complex interactions, including those between environment and host, host and microbe, microbe and environment, and all three. Thus, microbial pathogenicity is intrinsically unpredictable. Host and microbial characteristics are subject to predictable and unpredictable changes prompted by known, unknown, and random environmental, immunological, and other factors. Thus, as it is an outcome of host-microbe interaction whereby each entity is subject to independent and dependent changes at any point in time, pathogenicity is an emergent property.”

Too many people view Candida independent of the body and its function, needs and abilities. The area of diet and carbohydrates are a good example of this. Based on Dr. Truss’ dietary protocol, many people are overly emphatic about eliminating all carbohydrates. That isn’t to say that there isn’t good evidence supporting reducing Candida’s access to simple sugars, but complex carbohydrates can be another issue.

Most candida sites emphasize eliminating all carbohydrates. The rationale for this is that fungi thrive on carbohydrates. However, most complex carbohydrates are broken down into monosaccharides, which are absorbed in the proximal jejunum, leaving the rest of the intestinal tract with a possible small ratio of ingested sugar as lactulose in lactase enzyme deficient individuals. In other words, our body’s own cells absorb sugars quite quickly and effectively, something few people seem to consider. Diabetics and people with blood sugar regulation issues, such as hypoglycemia and insulin-resistance, absorb less sugar causing higher levels of sugar to remain in the blood stream and tissues. The incidence of fungal candida infections is higher in diabetics. On the other hand, people without blood sugar issues could be expected to do fine with some carbs on a candida diet, regardless of how much candida is in their body.

Candida is commonly associated with chronic intestinal inflammatory diseases such as IBS, IBD, Chrohn’s, Leaky Gut, and Colitis. A low carbohydrate diet can be detrimental for the intestinal lining because of reduced production of Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) by colonic cells. SCFA, such as butyrate, are responsible for maintaining the health of the intestinal cells. This is illustrated in the findings below:

“After 4 weeks, weight-loss diets that were high in protein but reduced in total carbohydrates and fiber resulted in a significant decrease in fecal cancer-protective metabolites and increased concentrations of hazardous metabolites. Long-term adherence to such diets may increase risk of colonic disease.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17189447?dopt=Abstract

“Under energy-restricted conditions, a short-term Low Carbohydrate diet lowered stool weight and had detrimental effects on the concentration and excretion of faecal SCFA compared with an HC diet. This suggests that the long-term consumption of an LC diet may increase the risk of development of gastrointestinal disorders.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19224658

A low carbohydrate diet has been shown to affect white blood cell function as well as the health of intestinal cells. White blood cells, especially neutrophils, engulf candida cells in a process called Phagocytosis. Phagocytosis of candida is an energy-requiring mechanism that is inhibited by an inadequate supply of glucose:

“It was concluded that phagocytosis was an energy-requiring process in which glycolysis served as the most important source of energy.”
COHN, Z. A., AND S. I. MORSE. Functional and metabolic properties of polymorphonuclear leucocytes. I. Observations on the requirements and
consequences of particle ingestion. J. Exptl. Med. 111:667,1960.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13694491

The concept of starving candida out of the body, which so many people have adopted, can also be problematic in that starvation is one of the known triggers that causes the normal yeast form of candida to convert to its problematic, pathogenic fungal form:

“Starvation of yeast cells induces exponentially grown cells (and usually non-germinative) to germinate. This phenomenon is also observed in cells that are transiently treated with metabolic inhibitors. During each of these treatments (starvation, metabolic inhibition), expression of a growth regulatory gene (CGRI) increases. Candida albicans: adherence, signaling and virulence.” Calderone et al. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11204138

Glucose is necessary for the function of the 10 trillion cells and tissues in the body. Even more so, it is beneficial to the 100 trillion cells of the intestinal tract and they compete for glucose as a fuel source. It is their competition for similar fuel sources that help to prevent the growth of pathogenic organisms, which underscores how devastating antibiotics can be as they usually wipe out the majority of bacteria present in the intestinal tract.

The Plan affects the body in several ways by reverting the fungal form of candida back to its normal yeast form; boosting the appropriate healthy immune response; detoxifying the body; and helping to restore normal tissue flora. This approach considers many of the facets necessary to produce an effective change and a healthy response. In individuals who have normal blood sugar regulation, fruit has always worked well on the Plan and facilitates the effectiveness of Candida Force. If someone has a blood sugar regulation issue, such as hypoglycemia, insulin-resistance, or diabetes, fruit probably won’t work well for them on the Plan.

To help assist them, I recommend following the Blood Sugar Protocol outlined below:

BLOOD SUGAR PROTOCOL

If you get tired, irritable, sleepy, or moody when you go too long without food, you most likely have a low blood sugar issue (hypoglycemia). Hypoglycemia can affect the following: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormones; suppress the immune system; cause adrenal fatigue, sugar cravings and promote inflammation; and cause various disturbances in the nervous system such as anxiety, depression, nervousness, brain fog, etc. Many people will have both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia/insulin resistance (tired after meals) during the day. This protocol helps with both. You’ll need to eat at least a small handful of food every 45-60 minutes (60 minutes usually works). That can be 1/3 of a celery stick or carrot, ¼ of an apple, ½ of an avocado, a rice cake, a meal, some veggies, etc., to keep your blood sugar balanced. It is very important that you follow this strictly, as almost doesn’t work. Anyone with problems handling fruit, should stick to celery, meats, avocado, etc., for snacks. Fruits will probably not work. Celery is very easy to prepare and carry with you. Plan your day around having enough of something with you at all times. As an example – Wake up at 7am -have something right when you get up; if you then eat breakfast at 8am, then snack at 9, 10, 11; lunch at 12; snack at 1, 2, 3, 4; dinner at 5; snack at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; snack at bedtime, 11pm. Have a snack as soon as you get up, then go about getting ready for your day and making breakfast. It is important to do this for at least 4 months. Additionally, it’s important to start the day with protein and have protein at every meal.

To summarize:
Humans cells metabolize sugars quite rapidly; carbs are needed for healthy production of butyrate and other SCFA necessary for maintaining intestinal health; sugars are required for the normal function of white blood cells against candida; starvation is one of the triggers for conversion of candida to its pathogenic form; beneficial bacteria require sugars as well; if you have blood sugar issues, fruit probably won’t work on the Plan; fruit on the Plan works for many individuals and increases the effectiveness of the Candida Force.

Dr. Jeffrey S. McCombs, DC, is founder of the McCombs Center for Health, the Candida Plan, the Candida Library, and author of Lifeforce and The Everything Candida Diet Book.

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