What is yeast?
Yeast is a living fungus which is used as an active ingredient in many foods and drinks, especially baked goods (baker’s yeast) and alcoholic drinks (brewer’s yeast). There are also many other forms of yeast, these include Candida (thrush) and others that live naturally in the body.
What is the difference between a yeast allergy and yeast intolerance?
Many people suspect that allergies and intolerances are the same thing. However, the biological processes behind them are different. The body produces an antibody (IgE) during an allergic reaction, affecting about 2% of the population. A food intolerance, on the other hand, is generally more common and the body triggers a food -specific IgG antibody response, estimated to affect 45% of the population. You can find out more on the differences between allergy and intolerance here.
A yeast allergy is rare, and it isn’t one of the 14 food ingredients identified by the Food Safety Authority (FSA) as causing allergies. Therefore, the symptoms of being allergic to yeast is uncommon. If you feel that you are reacting to yeast, you may have a yeast intolerance.
What is a yeast intolerance?
If you have a food intolerance† to yeast, your body may produce an inflammatory response to the yeast proteins present in foods and drinks.
There are a number of food groups which contain this living fungus, such as bread. If you suspect you are intolerant to yeast, it may not be the yeast you are reacting to, but other ingredients in a specific food, such as wheat and gluten. Food intolerances usually occur to a number of different foods. YorkTest has found that the average person reacts to 4 to 5 ingredients. Therefore, it’s always worthwhile to consider an IgG food intolerance test before jumping into an elimination diet by yourself.
Here at YorkTest, we understand that everybody has their own ‘food fingerprint’ and offer a fast track way of identifying a yeast intolerance through our food intolerance† testing programmes. Surprisingly, yeast is a common food intolerance and can present a range of symptoms, such as bloating and chronic fatigue.
What are the symptoms of a yeast intolerance?
The symptoms of a yeast intolerance are wide-ranging, so it is important to discuss your symptoms with your GP before taking a closer look at your diet. Yeast intolerance symptoms could include, but are not limited to:
- IBS symptoms – abdominal pain, bloating, excess wind
- Skin complaints – eczema, psoriasis, urticaria (hives), rashes, itchy skin
- Headaches and migraines
- Weight gain
- Anxiety and depression
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Joint pain
- Respiratory problems
Can you outgrow a yeast intolerance?
Yes, it is possible to lose your intolerance to yeast, though you don’t necessarily ‘outgrow’ it. Following a 12-week elimination diet, you may be able to gradually introduce yeast back into your diet. As everybody is different, you should monitor any symptoms after consuming any foods or drinks which contain yeast. You may find you can only tolerate small amounts, or your body no longer reacts to this trigger food.
Throughout the elimination diet, it’s important you are balancing your diet with nutritious alternatives, especially those containing Vitamin B12 which is commonly found in foods made with yeast.
How long does it take for a yeast intolerance to show?
A food intolerance occurs when your body mistakes a harmless food protein as a threat and produces IgG antibodies – which may result in inflammation and discomfort. It is thought that symptoms of a food intolerance are likely to occur in a delayed fashion, typically between 2 to 72 hours.
Stress, medication, an unhealthy diet or the contraction of an infection can initially spark a yeast intolerance and, over a number of years, this can develop and progress in the body. For more information, you can read here.
What is the difference between an elimination diet for a yeast intolerance and the Candida diet?
The ‘Candida Diet’ focuses on trying to reduce natural yeasts from the body. Candida albicans is a normal part of your gut flora and can also be found in the mouth. However, a large consumption of sugar, alcohol and processed foods or an impaired immune system can destabilise your flora and Candida growth can spread.
This Candida overgrowth can show external symptoms, such as a reoccurring yeast infection, a white coating on the tongue and, in time, could lead to “leaky gut syndrome”. A “Candida cleanse”, which focuses on eliminating a wide range of ingredients from your diet can often be challenging and restrictive, including sugars, non-glutinous grains, dairy and fermented, processed foods.
The eating plan for a yeast intolerance, although similar, is less rigid and does not avoid as many foods. Addressing a yeast intolerance mainly focussing on removing yeast-containing foods and drinks from the diet that can be triggering inflammation in the body.
Which foods contain yeast?
Yeast intolerance is relatively common, yet finding which foods contain yeast can often be tricky as they can be found in many food and drinks that you would not expect.
As yeast covers a range of different type of foods and drinks, it may not necessarily be the yeast you are reacting to but other triggers instead, such as wheat, gluten or certain fruits. After finding out if you have a yeast intolerance, it’s wise to steer clear of any products which are fermented, processed and aged.
Here are some examples of ingredients which should be avoided on an elimination diet if you have a yeast intolerance:
- Processed and cured meats
- Aged cheese
- Dried fruits
- Gravy and stock cubes
- Processed fruit juices
- Vinegar containing ingredients
- Alcohol (brewer’s yeast)
- Baked goods
- Yeast extract
It is also a good idea to reduce your intake of sugary foods which can fuel the growth of natural yeasts in the body such as Candida (thrush).
Does yeast have other names?
Sometimes it isn’t as easy as picking something up from the supermarket shelf and looking for the term ‘yeast’. As an ingredient, yeast is often given other names which can make it difficult to identify on product packaging. Because of this, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the other ingredients listed below. These names should be avoided if you have a yeast intolerance:
- Hydrolysed protein
- Hydrolysed vegetable protein
What are yeast-free foods?
There are many alternative food and drink ingredients you can choose from which are yeast-free, so you can optimise and balance your diet effectively during your elimination diet.
You can supplement your meals with a variety of alternatives, such as the example grains below:
- Brown rice
If you have found out that you are intolerant to yeast, changing your diet need not be daunting. Nutritional consultations are provided with any of YorkTest’s full food intolerance† programmes. These consultations are a worthwhile opportunity to discuss a range of alternatives not listed above which could support with your elimination diet. They will also give you personalised and specific advice on what foods and drinks you need to avoid which contain yeast that are currently in your diet.
Can I drink alcohol on a yeast-free diet?
Are you looking for yeast-free alcohol? All alcoholic drinks rely on yeasts to produce the alcohol, hence the term ‘brewer’s yeast’. However, the process of distilling and filtering in some types of drinks will remove most of the yeast. Good news! You can still enjoy a small glass of champagne, and some spirits, though be wary of your mixers, especially if they have a high sugar content.
How do you test for a yeast intolerance?
There’s an easy way to determine if you are yeast intolerant. YorkTest has been providing IgG food intolerance† testing for over 20 years. With a simple finger prick blood test, your results will show whether you have an intolerance to yeast.
YorkTest’s full food intolerance programmes include up to two 30-minute calls with a nutritional therapist. As yeast is often a hidden ingredient in many products, it’s a good idea to take note of their advice regarding suitable alternatives. They will also take into consideration other food triggers you may have.
How does the test work?
We care about your food intolerance. Drawing a finger-prick blood sample isn’t as tense as it sounds. Check out this video below to see how the YorkTest process works so you can quickly be on the road to optimising your diet.
Making health happen
We give our customers an opportunity to share their YorkTest experience through product reviews and testimonials. Did you know that 4 out of 5 respondents who followed one of our full programmes noticed an improvement in their symptoms? You can check out our 2017 customer survey.
To give you an insight into our customer journeys, we’ve selected a few customer snippets below whose lives were improved after eliminating yeast, which was part of their food fingerprint.
Want to see more? You can browse all of our testimonials here
Whether it’s to ask a quick question or to purchase a test, you can find us on live chat, or you can call our friendly Customer Care team on our free phone number: 0800 074 6185.
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Emily Catterall, 24: IBS
“I feel like I’m in a new body! I’m so much healthier. I can’t tell you how amazingly different I have felt since!”
Sally Gunnell OBE, 52: Energy levels
“I’m not waking up as much during the night, not as bunged up in my nose and I’ve got so much more energy”