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What Is the Doug Kaufmann Phase One Diet?

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
What Is the Doug Kaufmann Phase One Diet?
Kaufmann claims killing fungus is key to good health. Photo Credit Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Doug Kaufmann is an author and host of a televised health talk show available through cable and satellite. Upon returning from the Vietnam war in 1971, Kaufmann experienced fatigue and other health problems of unknown origin, according to his bio. Kaufmann claims that he discovered changing his diet and eliminating sugar relieved his health problems and used this as a basis for creating the Phase One diet.

Anti-Fungal Diet

The Phase One diet is based on a controversial theory that the typical diet, which is high in sugar, promotes fungal overgrowth in the body. Currently, evidence to support this theory is lacking. The goal of the Phase One diet is to eliminate foods high in sugar, particularly added sugar and what Kaufmann considers "fungal" foods, according to his book "The Fungus Link" published in 2001. Kaufmann claims doing so will improve your health.

Phase One

The goal of the Phase One diet is to minimize sugar intake because it feeds fungi, says Kaufmann. Phase one lasts approximately 30 days and is designed to starve fungus. Dieters following the Phase One diet cut out all added sugar and use stevia and other alternative sweeteners. Phase One calls for eating lean meat such as beef, poultry, lamb, turkey and fish, most fresh vegetables, except mushrooms, corn and potatoes, and low-sugar fruits such as berries.

Beyond Phase One

After phase one of the Phase One plan, dieters begin reintroducing some otherwise healthy foods such as mushrooms, high-sugar fruits and starchy vegetables, in what's called "phase two.'' Kaufmann advises that if a dieter's symptoms return after reintroducing high-sugar food, it might be necessary to keep it to a minimum as a permanent lifestyle change. Kaufmann recommends keeping added sugar to a minimum as a permanent change in what he calls the "lifetime phase." The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 100 and 150 calories per day for women and men, which equals 6 and 9 teaspoons respectively.

The Verdict

While Kaufmann is hardly the first person to create a diet based on the "fungal" theory, there's no evidence to suggest your body is overrun by fungus due to a sugary diet. That being said, it is beneficial to decrease your consumption of added sugars. Most Americans consume a diet high in sugar, with soft drinks, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks representing the major sources, according to the American Heart Association. Cutting back on these can benefit your health since excess sugar supplies extra calories, no nutrients and can contribute to weight gain and other health issues.

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