What happens if you eat active dry yeast?

Written by mark fitzpatrick
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What happens if you eat active dry yeast?
Active dry yeast helps the leavening process for bread. (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Yeast plays an important role in the creation of foods humans eat, like bread. Yeast is a fungal organism that consumes matter such as sugar. When yeast is used in the baking process, the yeast helps ferment or leaven food, creating anything from alcoholic beverages or breads. A manufactured version of yeast is active dry yeast, which is dried granules of yeast that respond and consume sugars during the cooking process. Direct consumption of active dry yeast is particularly dangerous, mainly because the granule structure of the fungus allows the yeast to survive in volatile environments, such as the stomach.

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Yeast Allergies

Yeast allergies are immune system responses to the yeast fungus in the body. People who have yeast allergies are unable to eat foods like bread. However, eating a product like active dry yeast directly is especially harmful. If you eat the yeast directly it may cause a massive immune response. Once ingested, the yeast reaction is more common to dietary yeast allergies, not the yeast allergy Candidiasis. Because of this, the person will feel severe stomach pains, weakness and fatigue and any unique allergic reactions associated with her yeast allergy.

Waste Poisoning

Because yeast is alive, yeast consumes food and gives out waste. The most common waste products are carbon dioxide and alcohol. If a person swallows a large amount of active dry yeast, the yeast will begin breaking down sugar compounds found in the stomach for food. As the yeast breaks it down, the stomach will be filled with large amounts of carbon dioxide and alcohol. People do not willingly consume yeast, but pet health references state that when a pet, most commonly a dog, consumes active dry yeast, the dog may have severe pain and possibly even die from alcohol poisoning. It is possible this same reaction can occur in humans.

With Bread Dough

Severe reactions to consuming active dry yeast are often seen in people with allergies or with people who consume a large amount of the yeast. However, if a person eats a tiny amount of active dry yeast, she can still expect an uncomfortable experience. The yeast, most likely, would begin to break down sugars in the stomach, causing an increase of gas or alcohol. However, the biggest concern is if the active dry yeast is eaten with bread dough. The bread dough would act like increased fuel on a fire. The yeast would survive off the bread dough and create more waste products in the stomach, increasing stomach pain.

General Concern

Overall, most people do not have to be concerned if they do eat active dry yeast. They may experience pain in the abdomen area as a result of the yeast actively consuming sugars in the stomach and from the digestive cells. However, the stomach acids should eventually destroy the yeast. The real concerns come from a person's allergic status to yeast or if food products, like bread or wheat, are eaten with the active dry yeast. If you do eat active dry yeast, consult your doctor if you are deeply concerned over your consumption.

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