Allergies During the Festive Season | Test Your Intolerance

As we get deeper into the festive season, we’re all treating ourselves to more and more yeast, barley and wheat centred food (and drink!). Warm pastries, baked goods and the occasional beer are all to be expected this winter season, but for those with unknown intolerances or allergies to these foods, it can become a minefield.

Common foods that we all enjoy around Christmas such as; cakes, pastries, and many alcoholic drinks all contain yeast. Beer is primarily made from yeast, hops, barley and water. So, this time of year, when we’re all celebrating at family parties, we’re at a much-heightened risk of developing symptoms from our diet.

It’s important to understand that yeast, wheat and barley allergies aren’t the same as coeliac disease (AKA’ gluten intolerance’). Coeliac disease is often confused with yeast or gluten allergies. Gluten intolerance is an autoimmune disease, as opposed to an allergy. Gluten is a mixture of proteins, found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley, that’s often added to processed foods as well. While a yeast allergy is an immune response to yeast only and not a catch-all autoimmune disease caused by the protein gluten.

Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms of yeast, wheat or barley allergies can vary from person to person, but can include the following:

  • abdominal swelling
  • breathing difficulties
  • dizziness
  • joint pain

If you notice these symptoms quickly after or immediately upon consuming foods containing these allergens, then it’s a good idea to get tested. An allergy test can determine which ingredient is causing your adverse reaction.

Intolerance Symptoms

Intolerances to these same substances will manifest themselves quite differently. Intolerance symptoms can include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Skin Rashes / Eczema

Which foods contain Yeast, Barley or Wheat?

Yeast, barley and wheat are all very common. There are a lot of foods in the typical western diet that contain them. Such as;


  • Aged meats and olives
  • Alcohol, especially beer, wine, and ciders
  • Buttermilk, synthetic cream, and yoghurt
  • Cereals
  • Fermented foods such as ripe cheeses and sauerkraut
  • Premade stocks, stock cubes, and gravies
  • Baked goods, such as bread, muffins, biscuits, croissants, or cinnamon rolls


  • Beer
  • Cereals
  • Protein bars
  • Soups
  • Stews


  • Bread, pastries and doughnuts
  • Fried, breaded chicken, fish and other deep-fried foods
  • Pasta
  • Even in some crisps, ice creams and chocolate recipes!

It doesn’t hurt to get tested for intolerances and allergies before going all out in enjoying this festive season. It’s much better to be prepared and aware of any foods that don’t agree with your than to find out once it’s too late and have it ruin your holidays.