Doug Kaufmann, author of "The Fungus Link," created the anti-fungal diet to minimize what he calls "fungal foods." These foods can throw off the delicate balance of good bacteria and promote the growth of bad bacteria and other pathogens, such as fungus, according to Kaufmann. His "fungal" theory is controversial and, as of 2014, there is no evidence to support the idea that diet leads to fungal overgrowth throughout the body.
The Anti-Fungal Theory
Kaufmann theorizes that a link exists between the epidemic of modern diseases, such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in refined carbohydrates and processed foods. He postulates that a diet high in sugary foods promotes the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus. The solution, according to Kaufmann's theory, is to adopt a diet low in added sugar and processed foods, which won't promote fungal and bacterial overgrowth. The anti-fungal diet encompasses three phases, the first phase being the strictest. During the second phase, you reintroduce certain foods such as starchy vegetables and all fruit. During the lifetime, or third phase, you stick to a diet low in sugar.
Foods to Include
Phase one of the anti-fungal program is a diet overhaul, during which Kaufmann recommends sticking to fresh, whole foods as much as possible. Phase one includes eggs, fish, poultry, meat, non-starchy vegetables, most nuts and seeds, and healthy oils such as flaxseed, olive oil and walnut oil. This phase also includes yogurt, cream cheese and sour cream from grass-fed cows, as well as green apples, berries, grapefruit, lemon, avocado and limes, which are low-sugar fruits. Kaufmann recommends choosing free-range meat and poultry and wild-caught fish.
Phase one of the anti-fungal diet excludes foods with added sugar, potatoes, yams, peas and legumes because they're starchy. It also excludes all grains, which includes wheat, rice, oats, quinoa, corn, buckwheat, barley, pasta and amaranth. "Yeast" foods, such as bread, mushrooms and alcoholic beverages are also excluded. Phase one also excludes peanuts, because they're classified as legumes; pistachios, because they're commonly contaminated with fungus; pickles; hydrogenated or refined oils; soda; and coffee. Kaufmann recommends following phase one of the anti-fungal diet for 30 days, then reintroducing otherwise nutritious foods such as legumes and mushrooms in phase
As a permanent lifestyle change, Kaufmann recommends eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats and other whole foods, and keeping processed foods and added sugar to a minimum. The recommendation to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption and cut back on processed foods and added sugar is echoed by mainstream nutrition experts. The average American consumes 23 teaspoons of added sugar, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. That amount is significantly higher than the 6- and 9-teaspoon limits recommended by the American Heart Association for men and women, respectively.
- The Fungus Link: An Introduction to Fungal Disease, Including the Initial Phase Diet; Doug Kaufmann
- Center for Science in the Public Interest: Sugar Too Much of a Sweet Thing
- American Heart Association: Sugar 101
- The Fungus Link to Health Problems; Doug Kaufmann