It’s an alarming idea. If you’re tired, can’t sleep well, have belly fat, and crave unhealthy foods, it may not be your fault. It may be due to a terrifyingly strong yeast—candida—growing away in your belly, thanks to our horrible American diets. However, by switching one tiny diet additive, you can lose weight, prevent life-threatening disease, and basically get your life in order. This is the idea proposed by a recent YouTube video, The American Parasite, that has the internet abuzz about candida, probiotics, and whether or not this video is 100% true. Let’s set a few things straight, shall we?
Candida is a type of fungus that lives in your gut. There are, in fact, tons of living things in your gut, and many of them are healthy and part of your system. However, if the balance comes undone (20% "bad" bacteria and 80% "good"), it means all kinds of health consequences. Candida, in particular, is a serious issue; because it’s a yeast, it feeds on refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives. According to The American Parasite, this is why you crave all those doughnuts, candy bars, and French fries. Then the candida, happy and fat, multiplies until it overwhelms the good bacteria inside of you. The solution is simple, however, is the video’s conclusion. Just take these pills that we make once a day and you’ll be fine! There is certainly a lot of fact and truth in The American Parasite, but once the viewer discovers they are trying to sell a cure that will fix this horrifying health issue, do they lose all credibility?
The debate on the Internet rages on. Some viewers declare that candida is absolutely the latest health epidemic sweeping America, and that we need to fix our situation yesterday. Others discredit the video itself, stating that it’s just one big advertisement to be laughed off. In the end, The American Parasite really does has to be taken with a grain of salt. It certainly asks more questions than it answers. Is refined sugar, artificial sweetener, and fat to blame for all the health issues? Is it out of our hands? Is there just a miracle cure that you can pop once a day to eat whatever you want?
The fact of the matter is, candida is real. There are a lot of additives in our food that really don’t belong there, and it is entirely plausible you could have a gut imbalance. Taking probiotics isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Just be sure you do your research and understand your body’s individual needs, rather than buying because a YouTube video told you to. We’ve taken a few steps for you:
How it can grow
Candida overgrowth can arise because of a number of factors:
- Lots of refined sugars and carbs in your diet (candida does, in fact, enjoy these foods and causes it to grow)
- Consuming a lot of alcohol (another candida-feeding food, because of the tons of sugars in alcohol)
- Taking oral contraceptives
- Eating a diet high in beneficial fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles (sure, it helps good bacteria. It helps candida grow, too!)
- Living a high-stress lifestyle
- Chronic antibiotic use (sure, it kills things in your gut. Too bad it’s most likely the good bacteria.)
- Chronic oral steroid use
How you can tell:
There are a lot of symptoms that may make you aware of a candida imbalance:
- Energy: chronic fatigue, loss of energy, general malaise, decreased libido
- Skin: Eczema or psoriasis, excessive redness
- Infections: toenail fungus, thrush, yeast infections, frequent bladder infections
- Digestive: irritable bowl syndrome bloating, gas, intestinal cramps, rectal itching, altered bowel functions (constipation or diarrhea), irritable bladder
- Hormonal : menstrual irregularities, PMS, thyroid dysfunction.
How to fix it:
Balance it out. As we said, your gut is home to good bacteria, so you need to get to that 80-20 mixture. There are two ways that you can clean out the candida:
- Change your diet: this means saying goodbye to all processed foods, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, and breads. It means eating only one cup of complex carbs (beans, rice, potatoes, etc.) a day. Cutting out fermented foods will help curb the candida growth as well. This route takes around 4-6 months.
- Add some supplements: you can offset your candida overgrowth by taking probiotics (25 to 100 billion units) that will help the good bacteria, while at the same time taking anti-fungal pills to take down the candida.