The candida diet restricts sugar and carbohydrate foods in order to kill off an over-proliferation of yeast in the body. Rice is a high-carbohydrate food that some alternative health experts believe should not be a part of an anti-candida diet. Other experts contend that small amounts of brown rice, lower in carbohydrates, can be a healthy part of this diet.
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When deciding whether or not to include rice as a part of an anti-candida diet, work with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner and also pay attention to how your body responds when consuming this food.
The candida diet was pioneered in the 1970s by William G. Crook in his book, "The Yeast Connection." In it, Dr. Crook speaks of the link he discovered between high-sugar, high-carbohydrate foods and a proliferation of yeast in the body. Excessive yeast can create a host of negative reactions in the body, including, but not limited to, fatigue, headache, PMS, depression and immune system disorders.
His diet instructed those suffering from candida to embark on an anti-sugar diet. Brown, though not white, rice was considered by Crook to be an accepted food on this diet. Still, not all experts have agreed with this conclusion since Crook developed this diet.
Rice as a part of the candida diet is a controversial issue. Some experts, such as Dr. Joseph Mercola, claim that all grains should be removed from a candida diet because the yeast feeds on foods high in carbohydrates, which white rice is extremely high in, and brown rice is still relatively high in. Other experts, such as Paul Pitchford in "Healing With Whole Foods," note that brown rice, along with barley and millet, are rich in digestive enzymes, and can account for up to 20 percent of a candida-controlling diet.
Eating too much rice on a candida diet may lead to a continuation of present symptoms, including bloating, foggy head or pain in joints. Cherie Calbom, in her book, "The Juice Lady's Guide to Juicing for Health," recommends that no more than 1 cup of high-carbohydrate foods such as rice should be consumed a day. At the same time, eating small amounts of brown rice may help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cravings for sweet foods.
Although the time frame for limiting high-carbohydrate foods differs depending on which expert's advice is followed, there is often a three-week to three-month "strict" phase in the beginning. Roxana Huebscher, in her book, "Natural, Alternative, and Complementary Health Care Practices," recommends avoiding starches and high-sugar foods for the first 21 days, followed by small amounts of complex carbohydrates such as brown rice for a three to six month period.
The candida diet may cause intense symptoms at the onset due to the dying-off of yeast. These symptoms may include diarrhea and feeling lightheaded or fatigued. Consuming too much rice may make these symptoms last longer, as the yeast may die off more slowly. Work closely with a trained healthcare practitioner to determine the best diet according to your personal symptoms.