Most Dangerous Foods for Gluten Sensitivity, Celiac Disease, Gluten-free Diet #2–Yeast

Hi, I'm Dr. Marie Starling.

At The Healing Center, we help people like you reach their full potential.

I specialize in adjunctive care for internal disorders, autoimmune conditions, IBS, thyroid symptoms, diabetes, and other complex health issues.



I want to share with you the #2 most dangerous food you can eat if you’re gluten sensitivehave celiac disease or are following a gluten-free diet


Again, I’m talking about brewer’s yeast and baker’s yeast. That type of yeast is called saccharomyces cerevisiae. You find it in many kinds of breads, beer, flavorings.

IMPORTANT: Nutritional yeast is the SAME kind of yeast. I know a lot of you were already thinking about asking about it. Nutritional yeast is the  #2  most dangerous food for gluten sensitivtiy, celiac disease and a gluten-free diet.

Why is yeast such a problem? Answer: cross-reaction.

About a year and a half, maybe two years ago, I published some very popular videos and blog posts on dangerous foods for persons suffering with gluten sensitivity. Yeast was one of the things I mentioned.

In January 2013, the research paper by Dr. Aristo Vojdani (PhD immunologist) was published (Journal article here) that confirms the problem.

Cross-reaction occurs when the antibodies that the body is making to tag one food (gluten, in our example) attach to a different food that is not the original food (Yeast). This is called cross reaction.In Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (let’s not debate the semantics, they’re functionally the same thing) you have a problem with gluten. Your immune system is reacting to gluten and is trying to kill it, so it makes antibodies to tag the gluten.

Antibodies are like little flashing, adhesive strobe lights that are designed to attach onto the gluten protein so that the immune system cells can find it and try to kill it.

When those antibodies attach to some food that’s NOT gluten –because that food looks SIMILAR to gluten–that’s called cross reaction.

The recent Vojdani study confirms that the #2 offender of all foods that they checked was yeast –brewer’s and baker’s yeast (same as nutritional yeast).The #1 most dangerous food is milk products and I’ve covered that in another post.  #2 is yeast.

I don’t want to get into all the technical aspects of the Vojandi paper because it would take too long, but every way they looked at the issue, yeast was the second biggest cross-reactor.

What are the sources of yeast?

…A lot of places.  The mistake that a lot of people make when they go on a gluten-free diet is they immediately switch from eating gluten to eating gluten-free grains or gluten-free processed products and many of them contain this yeast.

Many people get diagnosed as gluten sensitive—or they’re pretty sure they’re gluten sensitive—or they get diagnosed with Celiac disease—and they will start a gluten-free diet.

And they may feel a little bit better,  but then  they plateau. The gluten-free diet just wasn’t the miraculous change they had read about.

Why did the gluten-free diet “not work” for them?

Most of the time it’s because they are eating  cross-reacting foods like milk and/or yeast.

And it can be hiding in supplements, or be used as a flavoring in gluten-free products.   You’ll see it on the ingredient list as “yeast extract” or “autolyzed yeast extract.”

Clearly, consuming yeast is problematic for the person trying to avoid gluten. Yeast can cross-react….and then the person suffers the same inflammatory response as if the person was still eating gluten. The exact same response.

So what happens is the person doesn’t improve and they start thinking:

“This gluten-free diet thing really doesn’t work.”

It’s not the gluten-free diet that doesn’t work.  It’s the fact that you’re still eating these cross-reactive foods.

If you’re going to go on a gluten-free diet  it is critical that you NOT eat these cross-reactive foods.

If you have an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, Vitiligo…and decide to start a gluten-free diet, you must make triple sure that you’re not consuming things that can cross-react.

Notice I just said can cross-react.

To be fair, we know that cross-reaction does happen but that doesn’t mean it IS happening all the time in every person. But, I can tell you, to be safe you really should assume it IS happening.

One last thing about yeast….

The scientific research is very clear that many people diagnosed withCrohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis make antibodies to yeast.  In fact they’re called ASCA antibodies. That stands for anti-saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies.  These people are making antibodies to yeast…and I can guarantee you that these people are gluten-sensitive.

Sadly, they are probably being told by well-meaning doctors that what they eat doesn’ have an effect one or the other.

What’s worse is that cross-reaction is a bi-directional process….a two-way street.

Eating yeast can cause you to make gluten antibodies. Sheesh!

So, the # 1 most dangerous food is milk. The #2 most dangerous food for people wilth gluten sensitivityCeliac is yeast–also known as brewer’s yeast, baker’s yeast or saccharomyces cerevisiae.


© 2013 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. David Clark, DC
Functional Neurologist (FACFN)
Diplomate College of Clinical Nutrition
Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Vestibular Rehab Specialist (ACNB)
1515 W. NC Hwy 54 Ste 210
Durham, NC 27707

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