Yeast intolerance: because it does not exist

Yeast intolerance: because it does not exist

Often, after eating a pizza or a slice of cake, it can happen to feel a sense of bloating in the abdominal level, for which one self-diagnoses an intolerance to yeast. But is it really so? In fact, from a scientific point of view, yeast intolerance as an adverse reaction to food does not exist, because the so-called intolerances are due to the partial or total lack of enzymes which serve to break down and digest a specific nutrient (as in the case of lactose), to an exaggerated biochemical reactivity to some molecules (for example, histamine or tyramine) or to factors not yet known, where it is not known why certain substances (such as dyes, thickeners, preservatives, antimicrobials or antioxidants used by the food industry) trigger an adverse reaction. “Yeast is not on the list of potential “suspects” and consequently there are no specific tests with proven scientific evidence to diagnose an intolerance “, Dr. Massimiliano Piolantinutritionist biologist at Primus Forlì Medical Center.

Causes of abdominal bloating

If you feel abdominal bloating and bloating after eating bread and company, the reason should be sought rather in the flourwhich could be of poor quality and with too “strong” gluten and difficult to digest. «Often, very strong flours are used in leavened products, that is with a“ modern ”gluten, because this intertwining of so hard proteins guarantees a better result for the rapid industrialization processes. Strength is measured with the so-called W index, or alveographic: the higher its value, the greater the hardness of the gluten », describes Dr. Piolanti. «Just think that today Manitoba is often chosen for pasta making, which can reach 300-350 W, while our grandmothers made bread with flours that were around 30-40 W. What changes in our belly? Simple: with modern flours, it is as if we had to digest a chewing gum, because the strength of the gluten makes the dough similar to chewing-gum“.

History of a supplement

If we think about it, yeast cannot be so harmful, since there are supplements in tablets that contain it precisely because of its high intake of microelements essential for health, such as B vitamins and numerous mineral salts, precious for strengthening. of skin, hair, nails and the immune system. And for those who argue, arguing that the one in tablets is different from the yeast used for baking, a myth must be dispelled: it is the same product but in dry formrather than fresh.

“Moreover, yeast cannot ferment in the stomach: being a live microorganism, it dies when it is at 50-60 degrees, for which there is no baked product properly cooked that contains live yeasts », says Dr. Piolanti. “And even if we introduced them, they would die immediately upon reaching the stomach, because they would not resist the strongly acidic pH. In short, no pizza or other product can “rise” in the belly“.

How to behave at the table

Yet, on the shelves of shops and supermarkets, it is increasingly common to come across products labeled as “yeast-free”where the words – highlighted on the packaging – reassures and suggests more digestible and lighter products. “It is a pure marketing strategy, where alleged health claims leverage the consumer and can influence their choices,” says Piolanti.

«In reality, the really important element is to carefully select the ingredients of the products we put in the cart, remembering to vary often at the table and never overdo the quantities. The main reasons for abdominal bloating, in fact, are the excess of calories and the mix of nutrients that make digestion difficult. If we think of the classic pizza, it is not the few grams of yeast that make it heavy, but the ingredients, the many carbohydrates and fats that are often present on top, with the “toppings” we choose. It is normal for swelling and discomfort to arise ».

Practical advice: those who have the impression of not digesting pizza well, can try to eat half of it or to find the quantity that can be processed without problems, tolerating it. «We can also try to replace the yeast with the sourdoughwhich is pre-digested, but in the end we can obtain the same lightness with the first, extending the leavening time to 48-72 hours and using quality flours, perhaps made from ancient grains ».

When it’s really the yeast’s fault

That said, it is not possible to completely exclude that in some subjects the yeast – like any other ingredient – may trigger an allergywhere, however, the symptoms have nothing to do with abdominal swelling, but are almost respiratorssuch as rhinitis and asthma, or dermatological.

“In this case, it must be an allergist who indicates the best path to follow to diagnose the problem”, explains Dr. Piolanti. “If, on the other hand, after a moderate meal or a snack based on leavened products, you continue to experience transient gastrointestinal disturbances, it is good to check for the presence of a ‘food allergy triggered by other ingredients which are accompanied by yeast, such as wheat for example. If, on the other hand, the problems are persistent, it is good to investigate the presence of a chronic intestinal disease or an alteration of the bacterial flora, reversible with a change of lifestyle “.

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