Stomach cramps, nausea or diarrhea after eating certain foods could indicate a food intolerance. In the case of a yeast intolerance, the symptoms might be triggered by yeast-containing food such as bread, beer or vinegar. These symptoms can occur within a couple of hours of eating, or they might take as long as a couple of days to appear. While eliminating yeast-containing foods is an appropriate treatment plan for an intolerance, see your doctor first to rule out any other medical conditions.
Read more: Yeast-Free Meal Plan
Yeast Allergy Versus Intolerance
A yeast allergy is not the same as a yeast intolerance. Food allergies are a serious condition that occurs when the body wrongly identifies food as a foreign substance, which can cause symptoms that range from mild, including hives and itching, to severe, including anaphylactic shock.
A food intolerance, on the other hand, does not involve the immune system. Rather, it's caused by the digestive system improperly breaking down a particular food or chemicals in the food. Yeast intolerance symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and nausea.
Read more: List of Yeast-Free Diet Foods
One of the most obvious food groups that contain yeast is baked goods, such as most types of bread. According to Harvard University's Microbial Sciences Initiative, yeast breaks down sugars in other baked goods ingredients, converting it to energy. The yeast causes fermentation, releasing carbon dioxide and ethanol and causing bread products to rise.
Luckily, a yeast intolerance doesn't mean you have to give up bread forever. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture notes that baking powder and baking soda are leavening agents that cause bread to rise without the need for yeast. As an added benefit, these substitutes work right away, while yeast takes time to make bread rise. These baked items, such as muffins, pancakes, waffles, cakes, brownies, breads, cookies and scones, are appropriately called "quick breads."
There are many less-obvious foods that contain yeast, such as dried fruit, cereal, condiments, several types of berries, aged cheese, cured meats, mushrooms, buttermilk, yogurt, gravies and sauces. Seasoning mixes and stock or broth cubes can also contain yeast. Additionally, any food product that is stored too long after opening can contain yeast. Proper food preparation and storage can help prevent this from happening.
Alcohol and Yeast
If you enjoy alcoholic beverages, you might be disappointed to learn that without yeast, there would be no beer or wine. These beverages are produced when yeast converts sugar to alcohol during fermentation. However, the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that distilled spirits, such as whiskey, rum, brandy, vodka and other hard liquors, usually don't cause symptoms of yeast intolerance, so you can try sipping on these beverages to see how they affect you.
Yeast in Supplements
Yeast can be found in certain dietary supplements. According to Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, brewer's yeast is a particularly popular supplement due to its high B vitamin content. Yeast also contains essential amino acids and can be found in some energy boosters and protein supplements. Read supplement labels carefully to identify these yeast products if you have an intolerance.
- Food and Nutrition: The Controversial Conundrum of Food Sensitivities
- Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Is There a Diet for “Yeast Allergy”?
- Harvard University: Microbial Sciences Initiative: The Science of Bread
- Foodsafety.gov: FoodKeeper App
- Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research: Dietary Supplements Based on the Yeast Biomass
- University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: Quick Breads