How to Cut Back on Yeast in Your Diet

Cut back on white bread, which almost always contains yeast.
Cut back on white bread, which almost always contains yeast. (Image: series object on white food - white bread image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

In some individuals, over-consumption of yeast-containing foods can upset the body’s delicate balance and lead to health problems. In the digestive system, excess yeast can cause foods to ferment rather than be digested normally. The proliferation of yeast in some people may present with a myriad of symptoms, such as eczema, oral thrush, athlete’s foot, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, urinary tract and vaginal infections or heightened food and chemical sensitivities, to name a few. It may help sufferers to eliminate all yeast-containing foods for a period before gradually adding them back to into the diet in smaller quantities.

Read labels on packaged products before purchasing. Avoid anything containing yeast or yeast extract. If the list of ingredients is long, don’t purchase the item. Chances are that it contains unpronounceable components, such as disodium guanylate, which are oftentimes derived from yeast. Also avoid products containing MSG and maltose because yeast may have been used in their manufacture. MSG, a flavor enhancer, is commonly found in salty goods such as canned soup, frozen dinners, chips and salad dressings. And many chocolate bars list maltose as an ingredient, so compare labels when choosing chocolate.

Become familiar with the types of foods and beverages that contain yeast. Yeast is an important ingredient in many baked goods. It is present in nearly all breads, bagels and pretzels as well as some doughnuts, pastries, cakes and cookies. Yeast can grow on overripe fruit, so be sure to consume your fresh produce in a timely manner. Dried fruits, like raisins or prunes, usually contain traces of yeast. Yeast can lurk in cultured foods, such as cheese, and is often present on fungi, such as mushrooms. Yeast could have been used in the production of many fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, pickles, vinegar and most soy sauces. Beer, wine and cider also contain yeast, so if you choose to imbibe, opt for cocktails made with spirits like vodka.

Reduce your intake of sugars, carbohydrates and starchy foods like potatoes and pasta. Though these foods don’t themselves contain yeast, they are processed in the body as sugar, and sugar is what the yeasts that are already present in your intestinal tract feed upon.

Prepare meals at home, rather than dining out or ordering takeout. Most restaurants don’t make the ingredients they use in their dishes readily available to the general public, leaving patrons to guess at the quantity of yeast they are ingesting.

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