Sticking to a yeast-free diet is challenging but possible. It takes time to become familiar with yeast-containing foods and make the proper adjustments to your diet. Some people with yeast intolerance can tolerate small amounts, while others must avoid certain foods completely. Work with your health care provider to come up with a plan that fits your needs.
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Baker's and Brewer's Yeast
Yeast is used in food processing to ferment foods by feeding on sugar and converting it to carbon dioxide and alcohol. So naturally, baker's yeast is used to make baked foods rise. It's used in baked goods such as breads, pizza and pie crusts, pastries and biscuits.
Brewer's yeast is sometimes used to bake certain bread and is commonly used in wine making and to brew beer. Depending on your degree of intolerance, you'll need to limit or avoid these foods completely.
Yeast Extract and Other Fermented Foods
Various foods contain yeast extract or yeast proteins such as cottage cheese, yogurt, gravies and very ripe cheeses like brie. Other fermented foods that contain yeast are soy sauce, dressings, cider, dried fruits, chili sauce, sauerkraut and tomato ketchup. You'll also need to watch out for vinegar and foods that contain vinegar such as pickles, vinaigrette, mustard, chutney, canned roasted peppers and relishes. Packaged fruit juices may also contain yeast, and spreads such as vegemite and marmite most certainly do contain yeast.
Food Label Ingredients
When buying packaged food, scan the ingredient label carefully to identify any yeast ingredients. Barley malt is a yeast ingredient found in malted milk and malted drinks. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is another yeast ingredient to avoid. It's used as an ingredient in processed meats, soups, sauces, broths, seasonings, snacks and bouillon cubes. Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is typically extracted from autolyzed yeast extract. Nonfood items such as cosmetics may also contain yeast extract.
It's much easier to avoid yeast if you prepare your food fresh at home. Cut back on packaged food so you have control over the ingredients in your meals. Safe foods are vegetables, fruit, fresh meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, unprocessed nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, brown rice, quinoa, millet and amaranth. Use substitutes when preparing food, such as lemon juice in place of vinegar and toasted sesame oil as a replacement for soy sauce. Specialty products such as yeast-free bread, pastas and cereal are also available.
- Cambridge National Sciences: Food Intolerance Dietary Support Guide
- British Allergy Foundation: Yeast Intolerance
- Feast Without Yeast 4 Stages to Better Health; Bruce Semon et al.