The answer depends on how you’re eating it. If the yeast is killed during the baking of the bread, there is no health risk. If the bread is under-cooked, it could make you ill, but that is more likely due to under-cooked eggs than the yeast. However, eating and handling yeast can make you ill in certain situations.
Why do people think active dry yeast is bad for you?
Women are prone to vaginal yeast infections. This causes itching, burning and general discomfort. Some people blame the yeast used to make bread, though yeast infections can strike women who’ve never baked anything in their lives.
If you have a yeast infection, eating bread made with yeast won’t affect things one way or the other. Women with diabetes are more prone to yeast infections, and only then will bread with a high sugar content indirectly make things worse.
In these cases, you could eat more whole grain bread to bring down your blood sugar, though this isn’t as important as controlling your blood sugar.
Is eating yeast bad for you?
The real answer is that it depends on what type of yeast you’re eating. There are three main types of yeast we eat: nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast and baker’s yeast.
Brewer’s yeast is often used as a nutritional supplement, since it is reach in chromium. It isn’t used very often because of the bitter taste it has, especially if used to brew beer first.
Official nutritional yeast is a separate species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nutritional yeast provides several grams of protein and fiber. More importantly, it provides a dose of B vitamins, potassium, calcium and iron. It is popular because it is a vegan source of these B-complex vitamins like riboflavin and B-12. It also contributes to improved glucose sensitivity.
Baker’s yeast can be eaten, but it should only be eaten after it is heat treated. For example, marmite is made of heat treated baker’s yeast.
What happens if you eat raw active yeast?
The acid in your stomach may not be able to neutralize it. Now it could get into your system. At a minimum, that can cause intestinal distress. A minor case involves gas build up, resulting in burping, farting and bloating. If it gets bad, you could have constipation, diarrhea and chronic stomach cramps. And as a living organism reproducing in your gut, it won’t go away the way food poisoning often does once you’ve purged your system.
Living baker’s yeast in your system may encourage a candida yeast infection. When it forms in the mouth or throat, it is called oral thrush. In this case, it causes painful lesions that make it painful to drink or swallow. When it inside the rest of the body, it causes fatigue and digestive issues.
It can contribute to urinary tract and vaginal infections. You’re prone to nail and skin fungal infections. In severe cases, the affected person suffers joint pain, headaches and light sensitivity.
How does eating live yeast lead to other yeast infections?
Candida yeast is found in small amounts throughout the body. It is found on the skin, in the mouth and even in the intestines. It floats around in the air, as well, colonizing everything. It is normally kept in check by the immune system.
The problems arise when there is “overgrowth” of yeast, throwing the body’s biochemistry out of whack. This could be due to high alcohol intake, a diet high in sugar and refined carbs, or high blood sugar due to diabetes. Then other infections can more easily take hold.
Candida can explode, too, if the body is thrown off balance. For example, taking antibiotics to kill bad bacterial wipes out the healthy gut bacteria, too. However, the issue could be a generally weakened immune system. Then candida yeast could explode in the gut.
This means you don’t want to eat live active yeast in any form or eat dry active yeast that could activate on contact with food in your stomach.
Baked bread that has killed the yeast inside the dough or nutritional yeast that was baked to kill the yeast is safe to take. That type of yeast can be used to restore lost vital nutrients.
Does active dry yeast ever cause other types of infections?
Yes, and the most likely type is a fungal infection under your nails. After all, most of us don’t wear gloves while we’re kneading the dough.
You can also get a yeast fungal infection of the skin from the physical contact with the active yeast after it was proofed.
Symptoms include redness in the area, especially a rash with white spots. The area could be sore. It may look like milk curds but it can’t be wiped away. It may look like dry flaky skin on a red rash, but it won’t go away if you add moisturizers. Rub it, and it may bleed. It can cause irritation and inflammation under the finger nails.
Worst of all, when it is living there, it is prone to take root in sensitive damp areas you may scratch like your armpits or genital area. You can also get yeast infections in the mail folds and under the nail.
In these cases, you see swelling in the nail fold or abnormalities in the nail as it grows. You can also get swelling in the webbing of the hands, though this is rare unless you’ve had abrasions in the skin or have a weakened immune system.
Should I avoid yeast or baked bread if I have candidiasis?
Note that if you have candidiasis or a candida yeast infection, you’re warned not to eat bread. The general advice in this situation is to avoid alcohol, gluten, caffeine, yeast, bread, dairy and sugar.
This means that bread made with yeast is off the menu for a while, though the yeast in the bread may not be the cause of the candidiasis.
However, many make that assumption, hence the belief that eating bread or yeast caused the infection.