Limited effect of refined carbohydrate dietary supplementation on colonization of the gastrointestinal tract of healthy subjects by Candida albicans

Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jun;69(6):1170-3. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/69.6.1170.


Background: Infections due to Candida albicans occur readily in situations in which ample glucose is available. In mice, dietary refined carbohydrate supplementation leads to higher rates of Candida growth in the gastrointestinal tract and favors mucosal invasion.

Objective: The modulating properties of dietary carbohydrate supplementation on colonization of the human gastrointestinal tract by C. albicans were evaluated.

Design: A 2-step study was conducted in 28 healthy volunteers. First, we determined the subjects' habitual uptake of refined carbohydrates and correlated these data with the C. albicans blastoconidia concentration in the mouth washes and feces of subjects with no intervention. Second, we compared C. albicans counts in the specimens before, during, and after a high-sugar diet.

Results: No correlation between C. albicans counts in the specimens and the habitual uptake of refined carbohydrates was observed. A high-sugar diet did not increase the frequency of C. albicans-positive samples, the number of subjects positive for C. albicans in the mouth washes, or the concentration of candidal blastoconidia in the samples of the 28 subjects. However, in selected subjects with elevated counts of oral C. albicans, we observed an increase in fecal C. albicans counts in response to the diet.

Conclusions: The effect of adding a high amount of refined carbohydrates to the diet of healthy human subjects has a limited influence on Candida colonization. Follow-up studies should define whether selected patient groups might benefit from dietary restriction of refined carbohydrates.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candida albicans / isolation & purification
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Digestive System / microbiology*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth / microbiology
  • Regression Analysis


  • Dietary Carbohydrates