Is There Any Room for Sweeteners in a Healthy Diet? | Chris Kresser

Is There Any Room for Sweeteners in a Healthy Diet?

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sweeteners, healthy diets
There are many sweeteners available, but not all are created equal.

Humans are hard-wired to like sweet foods. Sweet tastes are strongly tied to the reward centers in our brain, and can actually relieve pain and reduce symptoms of depression, PMS, and stress. (1)

Unfortunately, these properties strongly dispose us to over-consume sweeteners, and it’s pretty clear that the huge quantities of concentrated sweeteners consumed today are harmful to our health.

People are always searching for ways to enjoy sweet foods without the health repercussions, and this is the first post in a series that I hope will help you do just that! But before we jump into the nitty-gritty of different types of sweeteners and how they can fit into a healthy diet, I want to set the stage with some history and evolutionary background.

Did #Paleo man eat as much sugar as we do? You may be surprised!

Sweeteners in Evolution

Most of us primarily think of taste – especially sweetness – in terms of enjoyment, but sweetness is not just another source of pleasure. As omnivores, hunter-gatherers had a wide array of potential foods to choose from, and the sweet taste sensation is one of the ways humans could identify safe, non-poisonous foods with a high nutrient-to-toxin ratio.

Honey was the only concentrated sweetener available for much of human history, and common belief is that honey was quite rare, and only consumed in small quantities. While this is undoubtedly true for many hunter-gatherer groups, it doesn’t appear to be true for all of them.

We can get an idea about the role of honey in Paleolithic diets by studying modern hunter-gatherer societies like the Hadza; during the wet season, honey comprises up to 20% of their diet by weight. (2) Given honey’s caloric density, this likely represents a much larger portion of their total calories.

When asked to rank their dietary staples in order of preference, honey was ranked highest, above meat, berries, tubers, and baobab (a large tree fruit). The Mbuti pygmies of the Congo can obtain up to 80% of their calories from honey, although only during the 2-month honey season. (3)

One interesting paper hypothesized that honey was actually far more abundant throughout early history than we typically acknowledge, and that the consumption of honey at certain times in history may rival our current consumption of sweeteners. (4) Some researchers have even posited that honey, along with meat and starchy tubers, helped make us human by providing concentrated glucose to support brain growth. (5) Although it’s impossible to know exactly how much honey early humans had access to, we do know that people went to great lengths to obtain honey, even when other foods were more readily available. (6, 7)

The Evolution of Sweeteners

Once hunter-gatherers began settling down, humans gradually discovered new sources of concentrated sugars. Maple syrup was introduced by Native Americans, and became popular in North America. (8) Jaggery, produced from sugar cane, became popular in India and its use is still widespread. (9) Some sweeteners common in early China include “tree honey” and “thorn honey,” both extracted from different plants. (10) And in the 17th or 18th century, table sugar surpassed all of these traditional foods and became the world’s leading sweetener. (11)

Fast forward to 1970, when the average American’s consumption of added sugar was 23.7 teaspoons per person per day according to loss-adjusted availability data. (12) By 2012, that amount had increased to 24.7 teaspoons, and the percentage of total calories obtained from sweeteners had risen from 13% in 1977 to 16%. (13) Significantly, 80% of this increase was from sugar-sweetened beverages, rather than solid food.

Changing Attitude Towards Sweeteners

Amidst all this background, I think it’s particularly interesting to note the shift in attitude towards sweeteners.

For modern hunter-gatherers like the Hadza, a sweetener (honey, in their case) is just another food, albeit a highly prized one. We can probably assume that traditional hunter-gatherers didn’t have a conception of “healthy” and “unhealthy” like we do today, and if they did, they probably would have classified concentrated sweeteners as one of their “healthiest” foods, because they provide ample nutrients without causing illness.

Now our beliefs are quite different – opposite, in fact. Most of us have become conditioned to think of “sweet” as “unhealthy,” and instead of using sweet taste as a guide to the most calorie-dense foods, people are trying to figure out how to avoid caloric density, while still enjoying sweet tastes. This can be seen in the widespread use of non-caloric sweeteners, as well as the current research into sweet-tasting proteins that could sweeten foods without triggering an insulin response. (15)

And along with the desire to limit caloric density in general, there’s now a growing fear of sugar itself, and refined sweeteners such as table sugar and HFCS are often labeled ‘toxins.’ This is a dramatic shift from our evolutionary background, where sweetness signaled safety and a lack of toxins.

This brief history of sweeteners leaves us with many questions. If the Hadza obtain a large portion of calories from sweeteners, why can’t we? What makes traditional sweeteners like honey so different from table sugar, and for that matter, which sweeteners are healthiest? Why has sugar become such a bane to our health? Is it really addictive? And ultimately, how can sweeteners fit into a healthy diet? These are all questions I’ll attempt to answer in subsequent posts.

I’m open to suggestions for what to cover in this series, so if you have any thoughts or burning questions, feel free to leave them in the comments! Thanks for reading, everyone.

202 Comments

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  1. I’d like to know more about the glucose, fructose and sucrose types of sugars, where they are found, and what impact consuming these in large or small quantities might have. Does type matter? I.E. Honey get’s its sweetness from glucose and fructose, so does that differentiate it from table suger (sucrose)?

    Also, how does all of this play into the glycemic index?

    Very interesting article, thanks!

    • I would love to know too.

      +1 on the request to date posts. I usually scroll down to the comments section to get an idea of the post’s date.

    • Sucrose (table sugar) is a glucose and a fructose molecule stuck together so its 50% of either.
      Fructose does not raise “blood sugar” (there’s a reason its medical name is “blood glucose” ) but it has a wicked metabolic pathway causing all kinds of bad things along the way. Fructose is also very sweet.
      Glucose will spike your blood glucose levels and accordingly your insulin levels. After that it has a more benign pathway through your metabolism. It’s less than half as sweet as the fructose molecule.
      HFCS varies but generally is 55-60% fructose and the rest glucose. This is why the propaganda says its nearly identical to sugar.

  2. I would really like to know more about stevia and its impacts on human health. I like to combine stevia with other natural sweeteners (fruit, sugar, honey, etc), so I can reduce the total amount of added sugar. I know artificial sweeteners are suspect and I’m worried about stevia. I’ve found that adding small amounts of different kinds of sweeteners creates a more sweet flavor than a larger amount of any one by itself. I’m not too worried about the whole plant, but it’s hard to add a bunch of leaves to my baked goods. Is the concentrated extract safe?

  3. I find honey in any significant quantity so sweet as to be unpalatable (I’ve heard older generations use the expression “sweet enough to choke a fly”). I’m not sure I really believe in the universal preference for very sweet foods–to me there seems to be a universal capacity to acquire a taste for sweeteners, but that it is an acquired taste.

    So it’s no surprise to me that a hunter-gatherer community with access to large quantities of honey or syrup would acquire that taste. But you haven’t really said anything about how that’s worked out for them. Do hunter-gatherer communities that consume large amounts of sweeteners, such as the Hadza and Mbuti, enjoy the same health as hunter-gatherer communities that do not? Or are they exceptions that prove the rule?

    Being able to enjoy the sweetness in vegetables and in berries and other uncultivated fruits seems more valuable in all the environments in which these are more plentiful than honey and syrups. Can the same palate appreciate the slight sweetness of uncultivated fruit, once it’s adapted to the sweetness of a syrup?

    • Great questions, girl!

      How did it work out for the honey eaters?

      How does one’s appreciation of, and therefore one’s demand for, modestly sweet fruits and veggies, change, after one begins ingesting highly sweet foods such as honey?

      I can only speak for myself, and I have been hypoglycemic, then type 2 diabetic, for many years. But if I were to be living in a paleolithic time, and wanted to survive and also compete with able bodied humans for sustenance, it would be critical that I stay totally off anything that affected my absolute ability to be strong, resilient, and sharp witted. Once I experienced the effects of certain foods, I would have to take measure to avoid certain foods and eating habits.

      And this would include total elimination of sweets that affected my brain power and stamina. Another thing would be keeping meals restricted in size. Too much meat could mean too much lethargy and extended sleep.

      Few people think about survival minute by minute like this any longer. We’ve reached a place in modern societies where survival is almost guaranteed for a certain number of years. And so our feeling of competence and ability, minute by minute, just doesn’t measure into our daily living equation.

    • +1
      I really don’t know how anyone can eat 20% of their calories as honey . . it just seems inedible to me. So what I wonder is whether there’s some genetic basis to liking very sweet foods (which seems to occur in a large majority of people), versus people who prefer sour, salty, or even ‘bland’ foods (other than the well known supertasters). I think more recent evolutionary pressures may have shaped some people away from sweet cravings, perhaps. My culture emphasizes fermented dairy products and salted meats, but I had access to both those foods and the typical Western oversweetened foods, any my tastes in adulthood aligned with those of my ancestors.

      While it’s interesting to read about what present-day hunter-gatherers ate, I don’t really think it’s as important as finding more data on more recent genetic pressures, and things like diabetes incidence and dental caries in different groups, and seeing how that matches to current and more recent ancestral diets. Maybe eating so much honey is perfectly fine for the Hazda, but would be terrible for groups that didn’t (more recently) evolve with that type of access to honey.

      I’ve also noticed that after cutting out sugar, people’s palates change so they no longer enjoy the oversweetened desserts they used to (this take some time of course). In fact, some fruits even seem too sweet. I call fruits ‘Nature’s candy’ at this point, though I’ve always preferred tart fruits (like wild apples) anyway. I think it would be great if you (Chris) could gather success stories of people who’ve managed to change their palates away from sweet cravings, and see how they did it.

  4. I am curious about your thoughts on xylitol. I find it to have a much better flavor than stevia. Thanks

  5. Do these referenced HG’s eat the entire Honeycomb? I’m curious if that is a good idea/better approach? I have found multiple locations that sell honey in the comb/chunk form.

  6. Hi again Chris,

    I intentionally didn’t try to quote Dr. Ballantyne because she has a whole article on why she doesn’t recommend stevia (for AIP followers). But she was talking about testosterone and other suspected hormonal effects from stevia, not insulin. I realized many readers would get the wrong take-away from my comment as originally posted.

  7. I was recently diagnosed with very high levels of yeast in my gut, so avoiding all sugars has been my focus for a few months now. I’ve been shocked at how often I still crave sweets! However, once my treatment is complete (I’m also taking antifungals), I’d like to know what sweeteners — and at what amounts — are safe to add back in.

    • I use a specific probiotic, Saccharomyces Boulardii (NOW brand) and it really helps me with sweet cravings.

    • I read that the cravings for sugar come from the candida itself which then feeds on it! So it’s not really you that wants it! I’m also doing a low sugar diet and I use stevia. It tastes great as long as there are other strong flavors in the recipe. I found a great chocolate mousse recipe that is (added) sugar free. It is:
      1 ripe avocado
      1 ripe banana
      2 stevia packets
      1 tbsp cinammon
      1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)
      1 tsp vanilla extract.
      I sometimes eat this for dinner when I’m lazy 🙂

  8. I’d like to get your thoughts on Grade B maple Syrup as a sweetner. My naturopath is doctor has me using it because it is lower than fructose and I am n an elimination diet (using MRT as a guide.) how do you know when enough is enough or you have had too much? I do not eat any processed foods. Thank you.

    • I would like to know more about this too, as it’s the only sweetener that I like. (I use it very sparingly, about once a month.)

    • Maple Syrup is the healthiest sweetener around due to it natural nutrients but Grade A is even better than Grade B as it has more nutrients left due to less processing time in the boilers.

      HINT: Choose your Maple Syrup brand wisely as most companies combine many different producers syrups and this equates to different tasting bottles on occasion.

      On the subject of natural sweeteners compared to processed ones it is a no brainer. If you are consuming anything raw, your body will naturally break it down and use it up properly and discard all excess. Don’t over indulge and you will only benefit from the enjoyment of eating natural sweeteners.

      Health Issues are caused by human error so don’t error in your intake including quantity.

      That is my 3 cents worth.

        • I just found many articles about the difference in maple syrup grades. The only difference is color, odor and perhaps viscosity. There is no difference in nutrients or processing. Maple syrup of any kind shouldn’t be processed other than boiling the sap, in order to reduce it, to make a syrup.

  9. Hi Chris and thanks as always for the great info!

    I’ve recently read from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne that stevia perhaps has a negative effect on hormones. I’d love to hear from you on that angle.

    I’m guessing you’re planning to include posts on the pros and cons of many popular sweeteners today…coconut sugar (including sustainability), whole leaf stevia, maple syrup, molasses, modern raw honey (including the theory that human mass raiding of hives is contributing to colony collapse)…can’t wait for the next post on this!

  10. I have always wondered how so many health food gurus can justify all these ‘healthy’ snacks with tons of sugar replacements, facebook is full with those kinds of posts. I think the difference between Hadza, early ancestors and us is that we barely move anymore. Everything is done by machines and computers. People drive to the shop 10 minutes away, sitting behind the desk. We just become too non-active and if that wasn’t bad enough people just overindulge in the goodness the food markets have to offer, it’s just too much. Next to that we are dealing with an artificial world, like plastics and chemicals.

    • exactly wilhelmina!!!!!! one of my thoughts while reading the article was that breast milk is sweet (: great choice for new topic chris!

  11. I’m a stevia guy, primarily because it does not spike insulin. The taste takes some getting used to. I also tried coconut nectar on a whim, it was a very weak sweetener, but I like the benefits of coconut overall, so I tried it.

  12. I don’t really think sugar per se is the problem. I think the overload of chemical toxins, and denaturing of foods so that they no longer resemble real food, has damaged us metabolically to such an extent that our bodies can no longer handle an excess of healthy sugar without repercussions.

    Thanks Chris! As always, a thought provoking article.

  13. I would also like to know if stevia spikes insulin. It makes great organic lemonade to start off the morning. Combine it with organic raw cacao paste and you have an amazing hot chocolate! If it spikes insulin is there a chart of how much does what? If it is non-caloric HOW does it spike insulin? Not fair!

    • Stevia improves insulin sensitivity and also improves the pancreases ability to product insulin. It does NOT elicit an insulin response when ingested. It is suppose to be somewhat healing to the pancreas. “Metabolism”; “Rebaudioside A Stimulates Insulin Secretion”; R. Abudula et al.; October 2004

      • I read somewhere that there is no long term study on erythritol.. can you help answer something for me? I thought erythritol was created in a lab and not naturally occurring, so how can it be gmo free? I also read that it’s created by the raw materials used to make gmo’s, so the whole thing seemed fishy to me. If you have more information or reference to a study please reply, I would be willing to learn more about this sweetener for info purposes. I personally have totally cut all sugar from my diet and will only eat honey once in a while, or a piece of fruit if I truly have a craving, which i’m subtly trusting because i’ve been following gaps/wapf.

  14. Both my parents were just diagnosed as prediabetic, in their mid 50s, being a healthy weight (thin, really), moderately active, and following a healthier than average SAD (especially my mum, who is almost paleo). I would like to know how to fit in sweeteners without increasing my risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. And, for someone with a likely genetic predisposition, how to shape my diet accordingly.

  15. I find it remarkable that the consumption of sugar has only increased 1 teaspoon from 1970 to 2012. While you point in the change of consumption from sugar to HFCS, I have never heard a biochemical explanation for any difference in the consumption of the two as to weight/health. Thus, it leads me to conclude the explanation is more likely as suggested in a recent post by Stephan Guyenet, simply the result of increased consumption of calories. As for the Hadza or Mbuti, imagine if they had unlimited quantities of honey available year round right outside the dwelling — I suggest the result would be an obesity epidemic. Another interesting question would be do the Mbuti put on weight during that 2 month period where they consume so much honey? Based on my own and other anecdotal reports, I suggest that how much sugar or carbs one can consume and maintain weight will also be affected by whether and how long a person was previously operating in a metabolically derranged state.

    Interesting post, but I wish you would date the posts!

    • I removed that section because it was confusing the way I worded it. I agree that the primary contributing factor to the rise in rates of obesity and metabolic disease over the past 50 years has been an increase in calorie consumption, not a switch from sucrose to HFCS. Excess sugar is harmful in any form.

      • Chris,

        What exactly do you mean when you say that “excess sugar is harmful in any form”? I’m not trying to be confrontational, but it seems like a somewhat meaningless statement. Isn’t “excess” of ANYTHING, by definition, harmful in any form?

        On another note, I would love to see you address the healthful properties of honey. It seems to me that the “fructose is poison” folks (like Lustig, Lalonde, etc.) have some explaining to do.

        Oligosaccharides might contribute to the antidiabetic effect of honey: a review of the literature
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22205091

        Honey–a novel antidiabetic agent
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22811614

        Effect of honey in diabetes mellitus: matters arising
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24476150

    • There is one study out there that has suggested that HFCS may contain 4-5 times the number of calories listed on the label (http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/24/1_MeetingAbstracts/562.1). If true, it would mean a 12 oz can of soda has closer to 500-600 calories than the listed 120. I’ve always been dubious of the claim that HFCS was the same as sugar or honey. The same was thought for over 70 years about vegetable oils and animal fats (and is still assumed by many today), but it is well documented that they are highly different.

      It seems to me that there’s a disconnect in the paleo community. Mainly, that our taste for fatty foods is there to improve our health, and our taste for sweet foods is there to undermine it (even if that means fruit and honey). Looking forward to the series.

    • I agree with this request to date articles. I can get an idea of its date from the comments, but when doing a search for specific information, it would be handy to see the date at the top of the article. If the article is four years old, for example, I may read it, but will probably keep looking for a more current opinion.

    • I would also like to see dates on your posts. You’ve mentioned in some of your posts and podcasts that your views have changed since the earlier days of your website, and I’d love to see at a glance when the post was written so that I can look to see if you’ve updated the information or your opinion.

    • I don’t think just an increase in calories is responsible for the obesity epidemic. You would have to control for the quality of calories for one thing to really prove that point.

      What if the increase in calories since 1970 came solely from us eating more haddock fish and white rice, instead of from us eating twinkles, wonder bread, cereal, soy, pizza, Pepsi, and fast food? Not only the calories that were consumed, but not consumed, would play a part. Such as less breast milk, red meat, fish, vegetables, and whole foods in general.

      The quality of your calories will impact your weight, as I don’t think 3000 calories of M&M’s a day will lead to the same results as 3000 calories of haddock. So you have to do a lot more than show a correlation to prove calories are the real culprit.

      You also have to consider that people that weigh more, tend to need more calories, so is it an increase in calories since 1970 causing weight gain, or weight gain leading to a need to consume more calories?

      • Obesity was always caused by increase caloric intake. The quality of the food hardly matters. 400 cals of white rice is = to 400 cals of poptarts. It’s just much harder to eat 3k cals of unprocessed foods than 3k of processed (or a mixture) though.

        • I have to disagree with Raymonencq. 2 years ago, I ate 1500 calories per day on the SAD. now, I eat 2500 calories per day now of unprocessed, paleo food (with carbs). I am now within my ideal weight range, and weigh 15lbs less than I did when I ate less calories. I maintain this weight with no effort, compared with the constant struggle I faced before. There are many factors that affect body weight, not just the oversimplified calories in/out theory.

        • Raymonencq, you and Chris, of course are right about calories and weight gain. But, I think when Chris said “…the primary contributing factor to the rise in rates of obesity and metabolic disease over the past 50 years has been an increase in calorie consumption,…” he obviously had other things in mind as causes of obesity, and they probably were, as MC suggests, strongly pertaining to quality of the food supply.

          So the critical thing that many have hinted at, but none have focused on in this particular article (even MC) is the satiety of food. If you look at, or actually experience satiety, from different types, freshness, and mixtures of foods, you find that caloric intake drops.

          Therefore, when you yourself say “It’s just much harder to eat 3k cals of unprocessed foods than 3k of processed [food]…” I wonder if you actually meant to imply that it’s all about the difficulty of getting the food into one’s body, and that modern man gets fat because the chore/time involved is now much less due to refined foods. Do you think we have a certain daily need for calories, and that it is excessive compared to what paleo man had, and it’s only because we can easily satisfy that need that we meet our goal and get overweight?

          Or, do you agree that satiety is a factor, and there is a feature of modern refined foods that, if eaten almost exclusively, prevents one from being satisfied, and this is the real cause of so much over eating?

          This is more the line I think along, and I am suggesting that satiety could be brought by nutrient density: factors such as high vitamin, mineral, enzyme, and phyto-nutrient content and possibly even by bacterial load. These were more prevalent in foods before the modern era, and are still disappearing, thanks to poorer soil, longer shelf life, less nutritious plant varieties, etc.

          I’m guessing that as long as this trend continues, obesity will reign, and it’s highly due to a lack of satiety in the food. My n=1 personal example is that I no longer like the taste of sweet. My emotions rise and I have better mental and physical performance if I eat nutrient dense foods that give long lasting satiety before I’m even full.

          I’ve met several people who claim to be so well nourished, and therefore healthy, that they “let their body” choose the foods they need. I believe them when they say it is all intuitive, or impulse driven. I am becoming this way also — trusting my body to choose the food. And for none of these people is a craving for sweetness part of the food selection equation.

  16. I heard that Stevia is safe except it’s not good for weight loss because it spikes insulin. True?

    • Stevia does NOT spike blood sugar. That’s the reason a lot of people choose to use stevia. It is, however, just as refined as white sugar if you buy the clear drops or white powder. The paleo way to eat stevia is to grow your own plants and pluck fresh leaves to sweeten your tea.

    • Someone commented on Stevia in an earlier post. I think responses to sugars are individual, as are responses to everything else we eat. The smartest I’ve done in a long time is follow Chris’s suggestion to pick up a blood glucose monitor. It has been extremely informative for me to see how different foods, and exercise, affect my blood sugar.

    • “Sweetie” was referring to a spike in insulin, different than a spike in blood sugar. From the research I’ve read, Stevia can actually have a lowering on one’s blood sugar after a meal, which suggests that it IS spiking insulin (insulin’s job is to put away sugar that is in the bloodstream). The very taste of sweet can trigger our pancreas to secrete insulin, and the insulin will go to work putting the sugar in our blood away, thus contributing to a blood sugar LOW, if we do not consume Stevia with other sources of carbohydrates simultaneously.
      Having insulin circulating in the blood above certain concentrations ensures we cannot break down our fat cells into glucose to use for energy, and if it does its job (putting sugars in the blood away, whether for cells to take up or to store as fat), and we’ve consumed no actual carbohydrates, then it will take too much out of the blood, causing a “LOW”. At this point, we would then we need to get glucose our body needs in the blood from our diet (read: cravings!!!) and on top of that, low blood sugar triggers the release of cortisol.
      I beileve this explains part of the reasoning behind why artificial sweeteners in general can lead to weight gain . I don’t see why Stevia would work any differently, since, natural source or not, it has the sweet taste. I don’t think there’s any verdict on this yet, but this is what logically makes sense to me.

        • Check out Robert Lustig and Gary Taubes for their lectures on sugar, how it’s basically alcohol without the buzz due to identical processing in the body, and how sugar, even excess fructose in fruits will simply make you fat.

      • Right on Kate. I have said (practically verbatim) what you just posted. Makes so much sense to me too.

    • Any type of sweetener except stevia will increase candida because candida feeds on sugar. To eliminate candida, you need to eliminate sugar of any kind, including honey.

      • Do you believe fiber-based sweeteners, such as inulin, that are prebiotics will increase candida?

      • Right on Debra – my biggest personal and professional struggle is fungal overgrowth and how devastating it is to human health – honey is out for sure 🙂 🙂 !!

      • If you try and eliminate candida by eliminating sugar you’ll just stress yourself and the candida out. The candida will become aggressive and grow hypha (roots) through your gut in order to get the glucose in your blood. Every healthy person has candida and it’s not usually problematic. I don’t know the fix that will work for everybody but I’m pretty sure eliminating sugar isn’t it. Introducing other bacteria and eating saturated fats (especially coconut for the capric acid and lauric acid) should help bring it back into balance.

        • That sounds unpleasant, to say the least. I’d like to not think of yeast in my gut growing roots.

        • The standard Perfect Health Diet does a very good at combating Candida. Worked very well for me.

          The problem with eliminating all glucose and sugar is that Candida and yeasts are eukaryotes, and eukaryotes have mitochondria that can adapt readily to ketones over time. So, by eliminating all carbs, you just give Candida a super fuel that ignites it.

          Mark Sisson does a good job of covering the different angles on this:

          http://marksdailyapple.com/candida/
          This is further compounded by the fact that Candida grows pathogenic in an alkaline environment and becomes benign in an acidic environment. On an earlier podcast, Jeff Leach explained that low carb diets tend to be low in fermentable fibers and this leads to an alkaline intestinal tract. Whereas a diet high in fermentable fibers like Resistant Starch (even supplemental Resistant Starch) can promote higher acidity in the colon, from SCFA fermentation.

          So, shifting to a diet that promotes SCFA fermentation, like the Perfect Health Diet, can help turn Candida from a pathogenic state to a benign state, while avoiding the feeding of the Candida ketones.

          Reducing Candida also usually requires a biofilm disruptor. Here’s a great write up on how to use resistant starch in conjunction with biofilm disruptors to kill Candida:

          http://www.gestaltreality.com/2013/09/16/how-to-eliminate-candida-biofilms/

      • I went very low sugar for many years to try to deal with what I thought was hypoglycemia. I ate lots of whole starchy foods. During that time I had recurring thrush (amongst other issues). I just realised a while ago that I haven’t had any trouble with thrush for the last few years. I think it stopped about the same time I eased up and started eating more sugar. I’m not claiming the sugar cured it; there were probably several other things changing at the same time. But I do claim that eating sugar was compatible with this issue improving, at least for me. I currently eat quite a bit of sweet food, and less starchy ones, and try to get my other nutrients too. My guess is the main problems with too much (especially refined) sugar arise if we don’t get all the other nutrients we need too. Sugar may feed candida, but it also feeds our own defenses.

    • I don’t believe in candida. What most people think is candida is actually is SIBO (Small intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) A ketogenic paleo diet for 80-90% of the time keeps SIBO in check for me. Google Specific Carbohydrates Diet for best results.

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