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Tapioca Intolerance?
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There are a few gluten-free products, made by gluten-free companies, that have been bothering me. I finally found the common denominator and it seems to be tapioca.

My daughter is actually reacting to a couple of the products (the two she eats) with the same symptoms.

Basically whatever it is makes my stomach really hurt.

Anyone else?

Nancy

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Oh yes--I discovered I was intolerant to tapioca after reacting to certain gluten-free mixes, and a flour mix that I made myself.

When I eat something made with tapioca, I first get a dry mouth--immediately, like while I'm still eating it. Then, I get an upset stomach--nausea and stomach pain. Very unpleasant :angry:

Sorry you and your daughter are experiencing this, but I'm glad you figured out the culprit. ;)

I have heard of a few others here on the board who are also sensitive to it.

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I read something about cassava (the root from which tapioca is derived) producing some sort of toxic substance when cut, and that it has to be prepared properly to destroy that substance. Apparently though some people do get an upset stomach from tapioca anyway, so I suppose it might be related to the toxin (which I recall was a cyanide acid of sorts).

While I've only just begun experimenting with gluten-free baking, my first thoughts on a substitute for tapioca would be either arrowroot starch, corn starch, or sweet white rice flour.

But I wonder; might you have a reaction to the instant tapioca pearls, or if the flour was cooked first? I just ran into a site which suggested that cooking the tapioca before making a bread dough makes a huge difference in the texture. It's supposed to work incredibly well, so I plan to try it soon.

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I also suspect a tapioca intolerance but don't want to give that up, not yet, and the reactions are not too bad yet. I replaced all my flour at home, wondering if there was something bad...because I don't react as bad to the chebe mixes, if I remember not to binge eat because I finally have a bread product! Anyway, I love my egg noodles receipe for my homemade chicken soup.

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I don't want to give it up either just because it's in my favorite mixes. But the stomach pains are starting to irritate the heck out of me.

The products that are starting to connect together for me are Pamela's Wheat Free Bread Mix, Pamela's Pancake mix and Kinnickinnick chocolate dipped donuts. I hate naming names because they're so good, but maybe someone else might have a problem with them.

My kids and I all had a problem with the pancake mix, but I could never pinpoint anything. I wondered if it was the syrup at first, or maybe CC. I also remembered hearing years ago that you're supposed to let pancake batter sit for a while before cooking it or the baking powder could upset your stomach, but that didn't help either. I finally just figured out that it had to be one of the flours in it.

I didn't have as much of a problem with her bread mix, but if I ate too much I'd have a bit of a stomach ache. So I stopped eating much of that, except for a piece here and there.

Then I discovered the Kinnickinnick donuts about a month and a half ago, which a local health food store sells, and I've been addicted to those things ever since. After a couple weeks I started getting the same stomach aches again. I suspected the donuts, but I really didn't want to admit it to myself (OMG - Yum!!) so I just kept getting them. But now it's just gotten ridiculous.

Last night my stomach was bothering me so much that I couldn't fall asleep. It occurred to me that I could compare the list of ingredients on the pancake mix to the ingredients on the donuts and the only common unusual ingredient other than xanthan gum was the tapioca. So I figured that's where I'd start. If it's not tapioca or xanthan, I'll have to start looking into rice as a possibility.

I bought Kraft tapioca mix at the store today, so I might try that this week to see if I get a reaction.

Hopefully whatever is causing my issues is one of those intolerances that will go away. I had an awful problem with soy for a few months in the beginning that went away completely. Or maybe since I usually don't react at first it can be something I can tolerate occasionally rather than every day.

With the info on toxins in tapioca if it's not prepared right, maybe it's one of those things like the gluten-free "prepared in a facility that also uses wheat" issues. Maybe some companies' tapioca is of better quality or better prepared than others.

Sweet rice flour sounds like a good place to start as a sub. I'll just have to start baking again. It was so great to be able to just dump a bag of mix into the breadmaker.

Nancy

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Poked around on Pubmed.gov a bit. Yikes!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...l=pubmed_DocSum

"Recent reports suggest that the ingestion of poorly processed cassava roots is associated with the incidence of an ataxic neuropathy (konzo) in African countries. When cassava-based diets are not supplemented with good sources of protein and iodine, goiter and rickets are also prevalent. In certain countries of Africa where the rate of ataxic neuropathy is high, the incidence of thyroid disorders is also high. Persons consuming poorly processed cassava in large quantities are susceptible to neuropathologies caused by cyanide."

.......

I looked into this "konzo" and it's something with sudden onset of really severe symptoms -

http://www.ennonline.net/fex/02/ng9.html

"From Professor Mike Golden, Aberdeen University:

I read with interest Yvonne Grellety's description of a possible cassava poisoning outbreak. This is not the way that poisoning with cassava usually presents. Symptoms of cassava poisoning - known as "Konzo" have been described in detail. There is a sudden onset of spastic paraparesis affecting mainly women and adolescents. There is no flaccid phase to the illness, the reflexes are exaggerated with clonus, strongly planter-flexed feet and a scissors-gait in those that can stand. The condition is not progressive and there are no sensory signs or symptoms.

I cannot say what condition would present in this way with parasthesia in the lower leg and flaccid paralysis in a sudden epidemic form affecting the non-anthropometrically malnourished although it was most likely to be an intoxication or infection. I wonder if this population which has been hiding in the bush had been taking any unusual plants to eat that were not part of the normal diet. I think that the patients should have a full and comprehensive physical examination to describe the syndrome in detail and a full history of the exact time of onset and the way and order in which the symptoms have evolved in relation to intake of unusual food items."

.................

Although "konzo" wouldn't be what is happening, it does show that cassava is less docile than you'd think. Kinda like wheat. :blink:

It would make sense that something like this might be a problem because in the US, tapioca just isn't something we use much of. But those of us on a gluten-free diet that eat a lot more cassava than the average american, might see some Companies making gluten-free products may not be aware of this being an ingredient with some potential issues. With as much as these large amounts of specialty flours must be costing these gluten-free companies, I'd be looking for inexpensive sources if I were them. Maybe there's a common source that isn't as careful as they should be with their processing, that can offer it at a lower price. Hmm...

:blink:

I'll have to see if I can find anything that talks about just stomach complaints.

...............................

Nancy

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I've been using tapioca starch in place of potato starch. Looks like I should go back to potato starch. We have enough intolerances without adding to it, or getting serverely sick. I have Bob's tapioca that I use in bread and the children eat quite a bit of it.

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The products that are starting to connect together for me are Pamela's Wheat Free Bread Mix, Pamela's Pancake mix and Kinnickinnick chocolate dipped donuts. I hate naming names because they're so good, but maybe someone else might have a problem with them.

If it's not tapioca or xanthan, I'll have to start looking into rice as a possibility.

Hi Nancy

There were just some threads up on Pamela's and also zanthan gum

I found that through trial and error that i can't have any mixes of the above mentioned products.

the culprits were the tapioca and 'x' gum.

Just tried the chebe mixe 2 days ago as my final test...dingo..

no tapioca for me anymore.

I do fine with rice flour, sweet rice flour, potato starch and corm starch for my homemade flour mixes. i use the guar gum now and it even cheaper than the other 'x'.

judy

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It occurred to me that I could compare the list of ingredients on the pancake mix to the ingredients on the donuts and the only common unusual ingredient other than xanthan gum was the tapioca. So I figured that's where I'd start. If it's not tapioca or xanthan, I'll have to start looking into rice as a possibility.

I bought Kraft tapioca mix at the store today, so I might try that this week to see if I get a reaction.

Hopefully whatever is causing my issues is one of those intolerances that will go away. I had an awful problem with soy for a few months in the beginning that went away completely. Or maybe since I usually don't react at first it can be something I can tolerate occasionally rather than every day.

Well, I've read that xanthan gum can be a problem because some companies grow the microbes on wheat. Apparently corn is also commonly used to grow the microbes, so those who cannot tolerate corn might have problems from it too.

I decided to use guar gum right from the start, so I don't know if I'd have a reaction to xanthan. I just don't like the idea of eating a goo derived from microbes.

About the Kraft "minute tapioca" pearls - last I saw they add soy lecithin to it. I'd guess it's either a flow agent or a cheap filler. There are brands that don't add anything to it. You can make tapioca pudding from the flour, though it won't have the same texture without the pearls.

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I decided to use guar gum right from the start, so I don't know if I'd have a reaction to xanthan. I just don't like the idea of eating a goo derived from microbes.

Yeah but think about the bigger picture... you eat veg fed on poop and nearly all living matter has been microbes at some point.. I once read that everyone has at least one atom of Julius Cesar within them... and in any case, once it gets in your stomach its going to be digested by microbes anyway?

Not saying what you should do, just another viewpoint... I used to find the very idea of eating raw beef or fish made me gag, now its a fallback for summer especially... ??

Leastways it gives me some choices where before I had less

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I too find I can't tolerate tapioca starch or potato starch, which leaves me with cornstarch, which thankfully doesn't seem to bother me even though I have trouble with corn. It always amazes me how a food can bother a person, yet there are certain parts of a food we can tolerate.

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Yeah but think about the bigger picture... you eat veg fed on poop and nearly all living matter has been microbes at some point.. I once read that everyone has at least one atom of Julius Cesar within them... and in any case, once it gets in your stomach its going to be digested by microbes anyway?

Well, true to a point I guess, though there aren't too many forms of life which can live in the stomach anyway, on account of the hydrochloric acid. Intestinal "flora", sure. But I'm not purposely ingesting them, as would be the case with xanthan gum. If it was truly all the same, we could eat poop, or dirt, etc. But we don't. I guess it's the more direct consumption of the substance which bothers me.

Anyway, I appreciate your additional prospective. It is good to keep a balance. I'm sure there are things I eat which might seem icky to some, though of course they aren't apparent to me.

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This is interesting!

Incidently, the mix that started me wondering about tapioca was Pamela's Brownies. They were so good, but when I ate one, I'd get the stomach pain. Then, the same thing happened with Gluten Free Pantry's Spice Cake mix.

I switched to some of the Gluten Free Pantry mixes that don't contain tapioca. There are several, and they're very good. I do fine with the xanthan gum that's in those, so I've ruled that out for me.

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This is weird.

I haven't had anything with tapioca in it for two days. Today I woke up with only about a level 3 back pain rather than the 8-9 it had gotten to. It has just been building up slowly for several months up to a level 4 or 5. Not bad, but enough to cause me some issues. But then over the last two months it has gotten so bad that I have had to take Advil just to get out of bed. Today - no Advil. For the first time in a couple months.

Other changes today - I'm awake. I felt like I had a good night's sleep. I have energy. I'm not irritable and snappy. I'm motivated.

Not a gluten reaction, but enough to put a damper on my day.

Of course, at this point there's no way to be sure if it's tapioca or one of the other ingredients in one of those mixes, CC on the bag of donuts at the healthfood store (maybe I should have washed the bag off?), but whatever it is, it's really affecting me.

I did have a potential slip today and ate a gluten-free cookie without looking at the ingredients and it turned out there wasn't any tapioca in it. No reaction.

I'm going out of town for a few days later this week, so I can't do a tapioca challenge now, but when I get back I'll start trying to experiment with it and see if I can rule it in or out as the problem ingredient.

I'm so excited that I'm not going to have to worry about my back while I'm on vacation. I hated that it was starting to get bad again. Hopefully the improvement will stick.

Nancy

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Wow Nancy--that's great news!

It's always good when we begin to "close in" on the cause of symptoms--and in time for vacation :D

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This is such an interesting topic!! I kept wondering why the Food for Life gluten-free bread gave me problems, and then just yesterday I tried Pamela's gingersnaps...and got destroyed. Tapioca is common in both. I think I've found another ingredient to avoid; thanks for the corroboration.

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This is a great topic. I think I may be reacting to tapioca too. I had the Starfish gluten-free battered fish last night for dinner and today I have a noisy rumbly tummy and have had a few minor trips to the bathroom. No pain but a lot of gas. I love this fish so much so I certainly don't want to talk ill of it but this is the second time I've reacted to it. The first time I reacted to it I reacted badly, within a few hours of eating it and got the Big D. I was having a particularly bad week diet wise at that time so I wasn't positive it was the fish. I waited a good 3 months before trying the fish again. I also noticed I do get some gas from eating Pamela's gluten-free bread which I adore. It's become a staple in our house. My husband who is not gluten-free also gets gas when eating the bread. We jokingly call it 'Colon Blow' bread. So I wonder if I can't tolerate tapioca in the same way I can't tolerate wheat or soy or if it's just that my intestines haven't healed enough yet to digest it. I had no idea tapioca was from the cassava plant. I had fried cassava a few years ago in a 'fish and chips' meal at a Cuban restaurant and loved it. However, it did not love me! I got so sick that night. This was well before going gluten-free/sf so now I'm really beginning to think I can't do tapioca.

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There are a few gluten-free products, made by gluten-free companies, that have been bothering me. I finally found the common denominator and it seems to be tapioca.

My daughter is actually reacting to a couple of the products (the two she eats) with the same symptoms.

Basically whatever it is makes my stomach really hurt.

Anyone else?

Nancy

Hi Nancy,

What happens to me is my throat actually swells and is noticable as such as though a sudden goiter will start! No kidding and also after several servings of Soy Chocolate milk that I was trying the reaction was the same. I was totally surprised by how quickly the tapioca effect me also my heart races from both.

I also am quite dismayed that so many packaged mixes have tapioca and it is even now added to a Goats Milk Yogert that I was buying from Trader Joes. I couldn't understand why I kepft feeling sick untill I read it had added tapioca obviously for a thickener. Anyone else with racing heart and swelling thyroid? Susan

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Anybody on here heard of a reaction to tapioca including acne and fatigue?

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Hey everyone.. I know this thread is old, but i wanted to let you know that i had an Array 4 test from Cyrex labs to see if i had any cross-reactive sensitivity and it was VERY high for tapicoa.. VERY interesting for me since i didn't even THINK about this... yet i still wasn't feel well (exhuasted/fatigue/unable to lose weight).. i've been off of it for a few weeks now and had some last week.. i didn't have an immediate response, but i think one week later i'm having stomach problems and i'm wondering if it was from that last week.. here's the site about the test:

http://www.cyrexlabs.com/CyrexTestsArrays/tabid/136/Default.aspx

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