When starting a Candida diet or even when a person wants to eat a healthier diet, I always get questions concerning which sweeteners are a good choice:

*Can I have honey?

*Okay, I’m giving up sugar but is there something else that I can use as a substitute?

*Will an artificial sweetener make Candida yeast grow?

The good news is there are some good options but first I will share the sweeteners you’ll want to avoid.  Even if you aren’t on a Candida/Yeast clearing program this information is beneficial for everyone. Sugar in excess in anyone’s diet is a hazard to your health.  

Candida Diet Approved Sweeteners

The No No’s

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is at the top of that ‘NO’ list as far as I’m concerned. This means no commercial sodas — which all contain HFCS.

There’s a flurry of interest in a cactus-based sweetener called agave nectar, because of its low glycemic index (which means it does not cause a spike in your blood sugar levels like honey or sugar might.)

Unfortunately, agave is a processed food, and it has a higher fructose level than HFCS (57% to 90%). It has a low glycemic number, but its use can create insulin resistance, leading to Type II diabetes over time.

Artificial sweeteners are also on my “NO” list. Beware of the phrases “Sugar-Free” or “No Sugar Added” (commonly seen in baked goods, like pies). This is code that the product is sweetened artificially with products like Sweet ‘n Low (saccharin), Splenda (sucralose), aspartame, etc.).

Though you will hear much controversy regarding these products the studies on the ‘positive’ side most likely will be funded by the industry that manufactures the artificial sweetener. 

Several interesting studies have shown that artificial sweeteners are counter-productive for weight loss because they actually trigger the desire for sweets — without satisfying it.  That’s the last thing you need!

Makeup of Sugar

The newest studies on regular sugar show that it’s fructose that is the biggest problem. Table sugar (sucrose) is made up of 2 sugars called glucose and fructose in roughly equal parts.

Honey is 70% fructose and though it has some healthful properties it should be avoided when on a Candida diet and used in moderation for most people.

If you get most of your sugar from natural sources like fruits and vegetables you are going to be okay, especially if you take a quality probiotic supplement because the sugar from these foods won’t interfere with the action of the probiotic.

If you want sweetener in your coffee, tea or lemonade then there are some much healthier choices than those on the ‘no’ list above.

Acceptable Sweeteners on the Candida Diet

Sugar Alcohols

Xylitol and Erythritol are from an interesting family of sweeteners called ‘sugar alcohols’. The body processes them in a completely different way than it does sugar. The body doesn’t really see them as sugars and mostly won’t digest them.

In large quantities, they can cause diarrhea and/or gas but in small quantities, they can make a nice sugar substitute, with the side benefit that they don’t promote tooth decay. In fact, Xylitol is antibacterial and anti-fungal.

There are many different sugar alcohols but Erythritol and Xylitol are my first choice. The others you see (all ending in -itol) are cheaper to make: forms like sorbitol, mannitol, etc.

Erythritol and Xylitol (choose sources made from birch instead of corn) can be found in your health food store or online and is close to being as sweet as sugar.

Recommended brands made from 100% Pure Birch Xylitol: Anthony’s, Health Garden, Morning Pep, Sweet Nature and Zveet.

Stevia Plant

*Important note: Sugar alcohols are NOT safe for animals.

One last and probably the best natural sweetener to use is Stevia.

This plant-based sweetener is available at your health food store or online. This is a very good sweetener but it does have a bit of an aftertaste that some don’t like.

It will depend on the brand you buy just how much or little of an aftertaste there is. The purer the processing of the plant (using just the leaves and not stems for instance) the better it will taste. I use SweetLeaf Stevia either in liquid (which is my favorite) or powder form because to me it has no bitter aftertaste. 

The food industries are starting to patent various forms of Stevia which are reduced to just the sweetest compound chemicals of the Stevia plant. Truvia is one you might see; another is PureVia.

Although these manufactured sweeteners start with the Stevia plant, they add additional ingredients and processes so they can patent their products. I recommend you avoid these and stick with the natural forms of Stevia.  Another option is all-natural stevia that is not processed but has mixed reviews.

Here’s a handy chart to use for Stevia to Sugar conversions in your recipes:

Stevia Conversion Chart

Looking for sweet treats that are Candida Diet approved?

Check out my delicious Coconut Cupcakes or Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding recipes which use only a candida diet-approved sweeteners.

If you have insulin issues, you should avoid sweeteners altogether, including Stevia, as they all can decrease your sensitivity to insulin (insulin resistance).

I hope this has helped you have at least a fairly sweet life despite having to fight off Candida overgrowth.

Try not to be discouraged: the good news is that as you get the Candida under control, your craving for sweets will become much less. Hang in there, steady and focused wins the race.

Keep taking your preventative supplements and eating the recommended foods and stay ahead of the yeast’s attempts to come back. 

Please share on Pinterest!

Jar of sugar cubes with tongs

Reader Feedback:  Have you tried Xylitol, Erythritol, or Stevia yet?   If so, how did you like them?


Pearlman M, Obert J, Casey L. The Association Between Artificial Sweeteners and Obesity. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2017 Nov 21;19(12):64. doi: 10.1007/s11894-017-0602-9. PMID: 29159583.

Swithers SE. Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Sep;24(9):431-41. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2013.05.005. Epub 2013 Jul 10. PMID: 23850261; PMCID: PMC3772345.

Suez J, Korem T, Zilberman-Schapira G, Segal E, Elinav E. Non-caloric artificial sweeteners and the microbiome: findings and challenges. Gut Microbes. 2015;6(2):149-55. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2015.1017700. Epub 2015 Apr 1. PMID: 25831243; PMCID: PMC4615743.

66 Comments on Candida Diet Approved Sweeteners

    • If you have Candida overgrowth I would recommend avoiding coconut sugar as it is still a sugar and will feed Candida yeast.

  1. I have tried Erythritol, stevia and xylitol. They all have a horrible aftertaste! Is there anything else that I can use as a sweetener?

    Thank you, Marie

    • Have you tried Sweet Leaf stevia? That one for me has the least aftertaste. Also if you’re used to regular sugar there is going to be a transition phase for your taste buds to get used to the other types of sweeteners. Another one you may want to try is Lakanto that has Erythritol and Monk Fruit Extract and is has a zero glycemic index and according to Donna Gates does not feed Candida. It didn’t agree with my body but it has gotten great reviews from a lot of people.

    • I read someone said they blend the erythritol, xylitol and it’s not so bad. I know your taste buds need to be given time to adjust…it’s not easy…but they will eventually stop rebelling and adjust.

      • Where did you find monk fruit? I find it mixed with other sugar substitutes and doesn’t taste sweet at all…minty actually. I am still searching and have tried everything.

    • it is really a fine line with the 3 recommended sweeteners. One drop too much and it turns bitter. I slowly find the amount one drop at a time in my herbal teas. Also if you drink anything with stevia on an empty stomach, it makes me sick. I need to make sure I have eaten something before using any of them.

  2. Is it possible to every once in a while have a bite of sugar free cake and even sugar free frosting. it’s made with Splenda.they sell it at the market says sugar free but has sugar alcohol? . I’ve been on the candida diet for 2 months now went through die off for a week now I’m on antifungal nyastatin feeling good just don’t want to ruin my mojo.

    • I would say that you have to see how you feel after eating something sugar-free. If you don’t have digestive distress like gas, bloating and/or diarrhea, skin issues or headaches, etc. then it may be something you can eat once in a while. Another thing to watch is if you start having sugar/sweet cravings then this is a sign that these foods may not work for you until you get to the root of the cravings. I, personally, don’t recommend Splenda since it’s not the healthiest of options when eating sugar-free. Can you try some of the sweeteners suggested above instead? Have you tried my delicious Coconut Cupcake recipe yet? Enjoy!

        • Hi Cindy, from what I read it looks like it only contains Erythritol and Stevia, so it should be fine for the Candida diet. Just make sure you’re only getting these ingredients and avoid Sucralose.

  3. Hi what do you think about inullin(fos) ?
    actually iullin(fos) incuded in stevia sweetner(like Sweet Leaf stevia)
    but inullin has fructose (I think fructose more harmful than glucose)

    • I only use and recommend SweetLeaf products that are just Stevia. The clients I work with are so sensitive to additives that I suggest they avoid them and that includes inulin.

  4. Xyla is pretty amazing! Tastes almost exactly like sugar, but can be overly sweet if you use too much of it. We put it in our homemade ice cream and it’s delicious. The only drawback is that the ice cream doesn’t freeze as well, so you have to eat the whole batch right away 🙂

  5. I have a brownie recipe that is part of the Palo diet. It’s Candida friendly with the exception of 1/2C honey. Is there any ingredient similar to honey that I can use on the candida cleanse?

    • I have yet to find a liquid sweetener that is safe for the Candida diet. If anyone has please chime in. I use Erythritol in all my baking so you could give it a try and see if it works in your recipe. It does take some experimenting to see if the substitutions will work in different recipes. Sometimes it’s a flop and other times it’s a home run. You could also search for a brownie recipe that is sugar-free and uses an approved sweetener like xylitol, erythritol or stevia as the sweetener. Best of luck in your baking adventures!

      • Have you heard of Sukrin Fiber Syrup Alternative? I’m wanting to try it unless someone already has and it’s a no go. Sukrin does a lot of the erythritol sugar substitutes so I’m hoping that it can be added to the list candida safe sweetners!

        • Hi Amy, I don’t know enough about this product to comment. I will look into it some more and see if it would be a safe alternative for those on a Candida diet. Please let us know how it goes if you try it.

  6. I have a yeast overgrowth for about 9 months and it’s hard for me to find anything that doesn’t have sugar and yeast in it to eat and drink. I have been drinking water and coffee for 4 months but before that I was drinking diet cokes but when I found out I stop and started drinking water and coffee but I get tired of water and coffee. Is there anything else that I can drink besides water and coffee. And is there any candy and ice cream that I can eat that doesn’t have no sugar and yeast in it. Thank you

    • It can be a challenge to find things to eat and drink on the Candida diet but it can be done! I’m sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free so I know first hand that it is possible. I like adding lemon or lime slices to my water. Also, mint leaves and cucumber are amazing added to water as you feel like you’re having a spa day. 🙂 Some herbal teas like Peppermint, Ginger, Nettles, are safe for the Candida diet. Check out my recipes on my blog for sugar-free treats like my Coconut Cupcakes. I also have a Facebook page and Pinterest boards dedicated to Candida diet friendly recipes. You can also search for sugar-free desserts. Hope this is helpful!

  7. I just heard about monk fruit sweeteners. Do you know if they’re safe to use while following the candida diet?

    • According to Donna Gates from Body Ecology she states that it does not feed Candida and is safe for those with Candida overgrowth. The product she offers is called Lakanto and has Erythritol and luo han guo also known as Monk fruit. I did try it and I didn’t feel good when I ate it so I don’t use it. Some people don’t do well with the other approved sweeteners like Xylitol, Erythritol or even Stevia so it’s always good to test a small amount of anything new to see how you do.

  8. I used to get terrible athlete’s foot and never knew why until I went to a naturopathic dr. When he told me I had a yeast infection it all came together so many side affects of yeast. I then went on a Candida diet (can’t eat it diet) but I tell you I stayed on it for 6 months (yes I did!) but I cured that infection and I’ve never had athlete’s foot again but I notice when I eat too much sugar — well some of the other side affects show up. So after years I’m going to cut out the sugar again. I said all that to encourage others to hang in there. Also I used Stevia and found it most useful. Thanks for all the other suggestions for & against sugar substitutions. Appreciated that & you.

    • Thanks Judi for taking the time to share your story and give encouragement to others! I’m sure the readers here will feel encouraged by your words and feel your support. I appreciate you as well. 🙂

  9. I’m on a sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free diet for a couple of years now (due to candida and allergies/intollerances). It’s the second time in my life I go sugar-free, the first time I was just 22 and had a terrible yeast overgrowth which caused irregular and very heavy periods with a lot of pain and PMT. Once I treated the yeast infection with the help of a nutritionist specializing in candida, my periods got regular, the PMT and pain disappeared! I’m saying this so other women can see the benefits of going without sugar. I let it creep back into my diet (due to peer pressure – people who invite you to eat at their house don’t understand why you won’t have a slice of cake etc.) and after nearly 20 years of eating sugar and drinking alcohol again, I was pretty much back to square one and a huge candida overgrowth set me back on the candida diet. It was easier to come off sugar the 2nd time around, and most of the time I don’t miss it now. But every so often you fancy something sweet and I like to cook with xylitol and stevia – I find just a small amount is fine, anything more tastes sickly.
    So to all those women out there with really bad cravings, hang in there! Try to focus on the benefits of eating healthy savory food so you change your habits. Our forebears never ate the huge amount of sweet food we eat today, we have developed bad habits which we need to change. It’s really worth it in the end, and your body will thank you for it.
    My fave tip: when you look at a chocolate bar or cake, imagine it’s poison! Would you want to eat poison? Well, that’s what sugar is to your body. It’s a kind of self-hypnosis, I used it a lot during the cravings and it worked well for me (still does ;-).

  10. I just found Cassava syrup. Is that a candida friendly sweetener. It is REALLY delicious so I’m hoping it’s okay on the candida diet. Thanks!

  11. So I’m about to start a Candida diet soon & I’m trying to research things that I can & can’t eat while on this. What do you know about allulose? Is that safe to eat on a Candida diet? I’m looking at Know products which are Paleo friendly foods so there are no grains at all but when I looked at their ingredients they use allulose as a sweetener. It’s low on the glycemic index but not sure if ok for Candida.

    • To be honest this is new to me. I did find this excellent article about it, Is Allulose a Healthy Sweetener?. It looks like this is a promising alternative sweetener that may offer some health benefits. I can’t say for sure if it’s safe on the Candida diet. I always recommend testing small quantities of each new food to see how your body responds. If you don’t have any reactions, ie. rashes, congestion, headaches, gas, bloating, itching, etc. then it may be okay for you. You have to feel comfortable with what you’re eating no matter what it is. Let us know how it goes if you do try it.

      • personally – Allulose seems to be worse than Lactose.

        Which is to say I can generally get away with some milk as long as i doesn’t spike my blood sugar. I’ve tried a few products with Alulose and I seem to get a mild candia reaction from them. So Candida does appear to get worse with allulose for me personally.

      • I’ve been using allulose for awhile and personally don’t have any reactions from it. It is the only sweetener (other than stevia) that doesn’t cause that minty, cooling effect for me.

    • Yes, these foods are usually okay for those with Candida. My usual precaution is to make sure they work for you.

  12. Sorry, one more thing. Is it ok to use apple cider vinegar while on a Candida diet? I have read that it helps to alkalize the body & is good in getting rid of Candida but not sure about it. Thanks so much!

    • Again this is individual. My experience with most of my clients is that they don’t test well for any kind of vinegar in the initial stages of the program because their Candida overgrowth is so bad. After being on the diet and supplements for 4-6 weeks some can add in Apple Cider Vinegar again and do fine with it.

    • It doesn’t look like Erythritol contains yeast according to this article on Healthfully.com that describes how it’s produced. Here’s a direct quote, “The fermented mixture is then heated (in order to kill off the yeast) an dried (by boiling off all the water) so that erythritol crystals are formed.” As with any food I would recommend testing a small amount to see how your body responds to it. Hope this helps!

  13. I have been on Candida diet for 2 months. My sugar cravings stopped within a week. Tried oil of oregano but quit after 2 weeks due to side effects. I made a cake with xylitol and frosting with Erythritol with coconut flour for my birthday yesterday. Wow- severe headache and GIi issues. I have used xylitol previously with no issues. I wondered if you think I should ask my doctor for anti fungal med. I am super sensitive to meds and supplements. I am not sure if I need medication.
    Thank you!!

    • Rice milk is higher in carbs vs. the other kinds of milk you mentioned. Have you tried hemp, flax or macadamia nut milk as these are lower in carbs as well?

  14. Hi there,
    Would you guide me on how I can introduce SOME sugars back into my diet. I’ve been on the Candida diet now for 2 months whilst taking strong fungalite pills twice a day.
    No one has really given me any advice on how to manage this diet long term and although I will NEVER have the same
    relationship with sugar and all yeast products again, situations sometimes can not be
    avoided where I will come across these things. Will I be undoing all my hard work if I
    have a little again in small doses ?

    • Hi Justine, I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with Candida and the diet. I’d be happy to help you but I don’t do consults online. If you would like to chat about your specific needs I offer a free 30-minute Health Discovery call. You can give me the scoop on what’s going on and I can share how I can help support and guide you. Go to my contact me page here: Contact. Hope to talk to you soon!

    • I’ve done the candida diet twice in my lifetime. The first time I was supported by a nutritionist who specialized in treating candida. I strongly recommend consulting one since it’s hard work all by yourself with no-one to support you. She told me that to break the sugar habit (or addiction as some call it) you need at least 6 months without eating any, including natural sugars like fruit. I suffered a lot, I had real withdrawal symptoms and thanks to her coaching and support was able to keep going.

      Those 6 months were a breakthrough for me. After that I found sugar tasted horribly sweet and my palate naturally no longer wanted it. After a year on the diet I started socializing, having dinner at other people’s houses and I would eat a bit of cake so as not to offend, but honestly I didn’t enjoy it. My fear is that if you don’t obtain this breakthrough, you’ll soon get used to the taste of sugar again and will continue to want or crave it. If friends want you to eat cake or chocolates, it’s not for you but for them. I believe a real friend will support you in your dietary choices, not make you feel bad for refusing their sugary habits. Same with family. As for eating out, it can be hard but not impossible to avoid sugar and sweeteners. I travel regularly with work and have often found myself picking a boring salad with a simple olive oil dressing, but it’s worth the few months of austerity to achieve that breakthrough. These days I can tolerate small quantities of fruit or small quantities of sugar in things like vinaigrette, and I still find them terribly sweet. You’ll surely be able to do the same but first give your body time to heal and your palate time to rid itself of the sugar craving.

      Good luck and don’t give in!

    • Hi Linda, according to Donna Gates from Body Ecology she states that Monk fruit does not feed Candida and is safe for those with Candida overgrowth. The product she is referring to called Lakanto and has Erythritol and luo han guo also known as Monk fruit. I did try it and I didn’t feel good when I ate it so I don’t use it. Some people don’t do well with the other approved sweeteners like Xylitol, Erythritol or even Stevia. It’s always good to test a small amount of any new food to see if you react to it in any way.

  15. Eating carbohydrates does raise the level of sugar glucose in your blood. Especially when you eat simple carbohydrates like those processed foods, and grains. As you now know, sugar feeds the Candida yeast in your system. This does not mean to avoid all carbohydrates, but make sure you avoid the simple carbohydrates think processed . Starch contains huge amounts of glucose. Again this is absorbed in your system and feeds the candida. So high starch foods potatoes, corn, etc. and simple carbohydrates sugars, processed grains should not be included in a Candida specific diet. They raise your blood sugar level.

    • The evidence from studies shows that glutenous foods can create health problems, even in those who are not celiac (see this study). The gluten in bread, pasta, and cereal can cause chronic inflammation in your gut and destroy the bond between the cells lining your intestinal wall leading to what is called “leaky gut”. If tolerated, gluten-free grains and pseudo-grains (quinoa, millet, buckwheat) may be used in small amounts. Keep in mind they have high nutrient value but are in high carbs. Also, flours from these should not be used due to their likelihood to raise blood sugar. Use Almond or Coconut flour alone or mixed with a small amount of these other grain flours. I usually recommend people starting out on the Candida diet avoid all grains for at least three weeks while using supplements to start healing their intestinal lining. Please keep in mind that the timeframe for avoiding grains should be tested as you may need a longer time to completely heal the gut.

    • Hi Anna, I will post the reply I gave to this question from back in 2018 below. I’ve been looking for more updated information and didn’t find anything more to add to this. I hope this helps. Also, read the rest of the comments on this post as there are some who it did agree with, and some it didn’t. That’s why I recommend trying it in small quantities to make sure it will work for you.

      “I did find this excellent article about it, Is Allulose a Healthy Sweetener?. It looks like this is a promising alternative sweetener that may offer some health benefits. I can’t say for sure if it’s safe on the Candida diet. I always recommend testing small quantities of each new food to see how your body responds. If you don’t have any reactions, ie. diarrhea, rashes, congestion, headaches, gas, bloating, itching, etc. then it may be okay for you. You have to feel comfortable with what you’re eating no matter what it is. Let us know how it goes if you do try it.”

  16. Hello, very informative article. I have done some research and have found that natural Maple Syrup is also recommended as a sweetener. From your perspective can you comment on that please??

    • Hi Rosemarie, I don’t recommend using maple syrup on the Candida diet since it’s still a source of sugar.

    • Hi Emily, I’ve answered this question a couple of times in the comments below. Studies have shown that it doesn’t raise blood sugar so it should be fine with the Candida diet. Some people don’t have any problems with it and some do. I would try a small amount first and see how your body reacts to it.

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