Tapioca Allergy Questions



Tapioca flour seems to be a gluten free flour a few people have problems with. We have some frequently asked questions. So I thought I would list them below. If you have any or answers – please leave us a comment at the bottom of this page.

Q. Being allergic to Tapioca, what flour can I substitute in a GF All Purpose Flour Mix?

The tapioca diagnosis is new and explains why I was succumbing to unique to me symptoms of another layer of allergy. Since I already have Bob’s Red Mill all purpose Flour, I’m curious what substitute I can use when I make my own batch of All purpose mix.

A. by Kathy Brereton -Why do you need to eat grains anyway?

I follow a Paleo diet. I am very intolerant to all grains. So if you don’t pick it, gather it or hunt it I don’t eat it, our bodies are not designed to digest grains. In Paleo times they were leaner,heathler, and fittest, do some research on the topic and see what you come up with. Since eating Paleo, no asthma, eczema, skin is so soft, and I haven’t been sick all winter and I have lost 11.5 kg.

Q Does anyone have an Intolerance to Tapioca flour?

Hi guys. I’ve just become a member today and wondered if someone can help. In addition to having to follow a gluten free diet, I cannot tolerate soy, dairy and am allergic to pistachio nuts. I have had a reaction to ‘something’ else and it seems to be tapioca flour.  However, I am informed that this is unlikely as it is usually safe for anyone who is Coeliac.
Does anyone also have this problem? – Barb

A. by Gluten Free Kiwi – Multiple food allergies are common

I Barb – Thanks for joining us here at gluten free kiwi. Sadly multiple food allergies is common in many of us.

Personal I am allergic to gluten, dairy and have oral allergy syndrome so get a red rash and itchy mouth when i eat stone fruits and some raw vegetables (it also gives me incredibly itchy hands when peeling or preparing potatoes. I am not suppose to have high doses of sugar as it gives me candidiasis and to much starch upsets me.

I have a friend who like you has allergies to various gluten free flours – she likes to experiment with different flours to make her own baking mix – like you she can not have soy flour.

There is no “rule” to what you can and can not eat when you are gluten intolerant or celiac. It is different for anyone. Corn, rice, potato flour might be good things to try.

Its all about trial and error. I find I feel healthiest when I eat whole foods (not refined white ones).

A. by Kim Kurzdorfer

I have a severe allergy to tapioca, white potato, arrowroot, etc… I have moderate reaction’s to gluten, whey, soy, etc… List is too long to list. I also have a moderate reaction to caffeic acid found in almost all fruits, vegetables and grains. I deal with caffeic acid reaction’s by eating chicken and beef (animal proteins), helps slow down a reaction. Not sure how I live through all this? lol! All I know is I am living the healthiest life ever since I’ve had the Alcat test (food sensitivity test) done almost 4 years ago. All my life I was sick with many different symptoms that the doctor’s kept misdiagnosing me. I’ve had food sensitivities since I was born

A. By by: Maddi

Anybody out there know exactly what to avoid if you have a tapioca allergy? ie Can you be much more specific than Yucca and Cassava? What is the number of the modified starch made from Tapioca and what is the name of the syrup made from Tapioca? My 11 year son is having a huge battle with Tapioca.

>> Hello, I also had diarrhea and and stomach gas post eating tapioca. – Helen

A – by Anon

Yes Diane, my lungs and breathing in general are HIGHLY affected by tapioca in any form. This is how I correlated the symptoms of cyanide poisoning with tapioca because cyanide blocks oxygen transfer from lungs to blood cells and blood cells to your tissues. The effects I feel are like you describe like drowning because we are not getting enough oxygen to our bodies. I liken it to being at high altitude with thin air like I can never suck in enough oxygen.

remember to stay away from sneaky forms of tapioca:
Modified food starch
Bleached and Enriched flour

A. by Diane

I figured out a couple of years ago that I am sensitive to tapioca. It is my lungs that it affects. The consumption of tapioca flour congest my lungs. It causes me to cough and hack. I sometimes feel as though I am drowning.

A by: Eileen-  Thought I was losing my mind

Discovered a wonderful little bakery/deli that is totally GF. Had my first bacon and egg sandwich in over a year. I continued to have one everyday for 5 days.

I began to feel odd around day 3 ( I made no connection between symptoms and the GF bread at this time, why would I?) My hands felt very cold and weak, as if there was little blood going to them. It was difficult to move my fingers. Using a keyboard became impossible. This inability to use my hands for acute movement lasted an hour or so. The coldness continued with some residual weakness. I also was having difficulty with my feet. I was stumbling quite a bit. Of course, since I could still function, I ignored everything. It never got to the point where I couldn’t function. I did mention it to my husband.

By day 5, I was exhausted and experiencing shortness of breath. I was also incredibly thirsty. I went to sleep fairly early only to be awakened a few hours later with abdominal cramping. Figured it was just the usual dance of the bathroom that occurs when I, despite being as careful as possible, accidentally ingest gluten.


Within 15 minutes I realized this was different. Thought I was going to meet my maker and, considering the severe pain I was in, I was more than willing to make his acquaintance. Long story short, I survived but only after my doc (who my sensible husband and daughter insisted I see) had me ambulanced to the ER because I was bleeding internally. I stabilized very quickly so I didn’t need a transfusion, just a couple of bags of fluid to pump up the volume, so to speak.

Took a week before my innards stopped complaining and I could finally think and begin to make a connection. I decided the delicious Brazilian Yucca Cheese Bread was the most likely culprit.

Been ’bout 3 weeks so decided to test mt theory today. Ate a small amount. 4 hours later, hands got cold but only the right one became very weak…and this time the weakness traveled up to my shoulder. It,s the evening now, my legs are slightly weak and guess where I’m headed? The pains are no where near as bad…I only had a small amount and only on one day…I’m not going to be having a fun evening but at least the mystery is solved.

Tapioca flour is from Yucca which is also known as Cassava. I guess there are still anti-nutritive components and toxins still present in some small amount and some people are just more sensitive than others.

A – Sharon Tapioca cross-reactive with Latex

I just stumbled upon this posting while trying to find out if tapioca starch could be making me sick. I have Celiac disease and despite a strict gluten free diet, I still suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms. On two occassions I had a gluten free pizza that uses only tapioca flour in the crust and shortly after suffered from horrible diarrhea and cramps and gas. So, I started to suspect the tapioca since that was the only ingredient in the crust. Almost all of the gluten free bread and flour mixes I have been eating have tapioca starch or flour in them. I have a mild latex allergy, so after reading the article posted earlier about the tapioca cross-reactivity with latex, I am now certain that tapioca has been causing my symptoms. Does anyone know if there are any other grains to avoid if you react to tapioca and or have a latex allergy?


A – ANON – Hidden dangers in flour

I have been reading these postings with interest. I don’t tolerate most of the flours listed here, either. I have realized that I have a reaction to anything that is “enriched”. I get gum swelling, and a lot of hair fall out. I can always tell when I have had somethng “enriched” by all the hair in the sink after washing in the morning. As long as I avoid all flours, I’m usually ok. The way I reached this web site is because I was trying to find out if tapioca is “enriched”. Magnesium Stearate is another hair fallout and gum swelling culprit. Used in supplements for manufacturing processes. Modified food starch is awful in foods for same reasons. We are being poisoned! Thanks for listening and good luck! Hope this helps someone!

A. Protein similarities  by: Anonymous

As I understand the proteins, tapioca proteins are similar to latex proteins. Latex proteins are similar to soy proteins. So if a person reacts to soy or latex, they are likely to react to tapioca.

Just realised that the gluten free flour I have must be responsible for my current bloating and migraine – I suspect the maize flour content, but I will be aware of possible tapioca as well now, thanks!

Tapioca is horrid stuff!!
by: Anonymous

I have too have celiac and have discovered that I get horrible reactions to all forms of tapioca (flour, starch and syrup). I suffer terrible swelling and discomfort (often burning sensations) around my thyroid region, severe shortness of breath, cold shivers, tingling, stomach cramps and the most terrible nausea you could imagine!!

I agree with the cyanide theory as symptoms of tapioca intolerance are very similar to that of cyanide intoxication. Those with celiac and food intolerances usually have impaired natural detoxification systems ( ie though liver and kidneys). Perhaps these folk find it harder than totally healthy people to eliminate even the smallest amount of cyanide or any other potential allergenic component of Tapioca/cassava

Me too!
by: Margot

So glad (but sorry to hear about your reactions) that someone else has the same problem with tapioca (and possibly other flours etc). I often say to my husband that I feel ‘poisoned’ and joke that hes lacing my coffee with arsenic.

My son and I are both coeliac and his latest food intolerance testing from a lab of 240 different foods brought up Yuca (ie tapioca/cassava) as the food he is MOST intolerant to – even more so than wheat, dairy and eggs.

Have of course been living on Tapioca flour for years as a base for baking (I bake nearly all of our own stuff thinking I was doing the right thing) but knew that he and I were still not right despite being wheat, dairy and going very light on grains and fructose. THe cyanide theory is really interesting and makes sense. No more tapioca for us!

My symptoms and coping mechanisms
by: Anonymous

Hello I posted before but I have learned a great deal about my Tapioca allergy.
First the symptoms: each time I feel the effects of tapioca, the symptoms are VERY similar to cyanide poisoning. From the instant onset of symptoms to the stomach cramps, nausea, bloating, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, muscle cramps, flushed skin ect are exactly the same as cyanide poisoning. These symptoms are debilitating for at minimum 24 hours and I do not feel normal for at least a week.
Doing research: Tapioca is derived from the Cassava root. This root contains cyanide and the process to make it into a food stuff is supposed to remove all of the toxin.
I hypothesize that some of us are more sensitive to the minute levels of cyanide that are still contained in supposedly food safe tapioca. OR I hypothesize that something in my saliva or digestive system recombines the molecules from inert to toxic cyanide.

Foods to avoid:
Anything labeled with tapioca which is found under “Flour” “Starch” and “syrup” which is a sweetener.
Also avoid any food containing “Modified Food Starch” Most of those foods are processed and should be avoided anyways but Modified Food Starch includes Tapioca starch as a component.
I also get reactions from Bleached and Enriched flour even though Tapioca is not on the list of ingredients.

Foods to look out for:
All bread, cookie, cracker ect… products
Barbecue sauce or any sauces that are “thick” these contain modified food starch.
Foods that are marketed to allergy sufferers. I found out about this allergy because I was avoiding dairy products and most products marketed to gluten and dairy allergic people contain tapioca.

Coping mechanisms:
Read all food labels.
Do not ingest foods with tapioca or modified food starch.
Stay away from bread. yes all bread unless you make it yourself.
In-fact invest in a standing mixer and make everything from scratch.
When in doubt make yourself throw up. This is gross but it has worked for me one out of the two times I tried it. The effects cause me nausea and its really not hard to do.

Going out to eat:
I got a reaction from eating a bite of bread from Outback Steak House and now avoid all restaurant bread products with a few exceptions.

The exceptions: Buns from 5guys and in&out burger.


tapioca reaction
by: Smilin’ Bill

i am gluten & lactose intolerant and hypoglycemic as well; i normally enjoy very good health due to a strict dietary regimen and have been symptom-free for a long time. last monday night i made some pancakes with rice flour & tapioca starch, approx. 3:1 ratio. woke up 2AM thoroughly toxic: severe nausea, cold sweats, diarreah, accelerated heartbeat, extremely anxious and unable to concentrate. It’s now 10 days later, i’ve lost almost 10 pounds weight in that time (i am very thin already), and i am just now getting back to normal (i hope!); a full physical & blood work this week showed nothing abnormal. i am convinced this stuff is poison and should carry a label warning.

Cyrex Labratories does testing for Tapioca
by: Kathy newly diagnosed to hypersensitivities

Like everyone here, I came to understand my issues with gluten & tapioca. I was lucky by getting tested by my “Functional Neurologist” who just changed labs for his patients. He was “conventioning” with other Functional Neurologists and the new theories were being presented by speakers. Apparently, gluten testing has had some false negative results. This new lab was who diagnosed me. If you look at their site, you can see Array 3 test and Array 4. Once Array 3 results showed my gluten hypersensitivities, I went through Array 4 since they already had my blood sample. This test tests Gluten Associated Sensitivities & Cross reactive foods.
For instance they tested Cow’s milk with the immoglobin IgG + IgA combined.
Other items tested included:
Potato,Rice, Corn, Coffee, Oats, Tapioca, Yeast, Quinoa, Amaranth, Spelt, Millet, Sorghum, Buckwheat,Polish Wheat, Barley, Rye, Hemp, Sesame,Chocolate,American cheese, Milk Butyrophilin and Alpha-Casein & Beta-Casein.


Allergy to Cassava/Tapioca has been documented
by: Anonymous

My daughter is allergic to tapioca (and I am gluten intolerant) so I only use gluten free flour mixes that do not have tapioca in them. This allergy was researched and documented in 2007 but I doubt many allergy doctors are familiar with it. Here is a link to a research paper on the subject. http://www.jiaci.org/issues/vol17issue06/11.pdf

You may want to avoid some of the related foods as well.


Tapioca allergy is hard to diagnose
by: Anonymous

I was told two things, one that there is no such thing as an allergy to tapioca and two there was no test for it. Its the starch form of tapioca that gets me the worst. I would rather drink a gallon of milk that have one bite of food with tapioca starch. Try to test all the forms of tapioca; flour, starch, syrup ect.


Tested for Tapioca Allergy
by: carol

I had an allergist do a skin prick test for a tapioca and sorghum allergy and it turned up negative! The sorghum prick site itched ever so slightly but no hive developed. My allergist said I was most likely had reacted to a chemical additive that may have been in a greater quantity in Bob’s Gluten Free Pancake Mix. I read over the mix ingredients again and the only thing in there is calcium monophosphate. I really am stumped to explain the intense reaction. Anybody have any thoughts or comments on this?


Additional Symptoms
by: Carol

I forgot to mention that I rapidly had three bouts of diarrhea after consuming the pancake mix. Also I had to pee copiously and frequently. My face turned white/green. The next day I also had carry over nausea whenever I just smelled a grain like rice or whole wheat bread–my brain would supply another memory of taste/smell that I experienced with the pancakes. I still felt somewhat nauseated the next day.


I bought Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix and became intensely nauseated after a few bits of pancake and also had hot and cold sensations under my arms and intense anxiety. I was nauseated for the full day and could only drink gingerale and take gravol which did not totally wipe out the nausea. I read this is a Class 1 allergy–these symptoms can escalate into anaphalaxis in some people. The only ingredient that matches these allergy symptoms is the tapioca flour listed as an ingredient. I have never eaten tapioca before–but did have a few graham crackers with tapioca flour in them a few days before. I know I may not have reacted with a first exposure. The sorghum flour is another possibility in the mix but I read sorghum allergy causes blood blisters around the mouth and I did not get that at all. Can you tell me if your symptoms are like mine when you consume tapioca and what other things you avoid? I read that tapioca is a filler in some prescription drugs. Now I don’t know where I’ll find tapioca. It was a very frightening experience and definitely the beginning of an intense allergy.

Same problem with tapioca starch
by: Anonymous

I’ve had the same trouble with cramps and diarrhea from eaten gluten free products with tapioca starch. It’s very frustrating since I was trying to improve my digestive problems by switching to gluten free diet and then had this bad experience with the tapioca additive.

I thought it was wheat but I am allergic to Tapioca
by: Anonymous

Hello I was looking to find if anybody else is allergic to tapioca like I am. I am allergic to both the flour and starch forms of tapioca as well as “modified food starch” which I suspect includes tapioca. My allergic reaction begins immediately after eating something with tapioca in it. One time a dairy and gluten free doughnut got me before I swallowed my first bite.
The feeling is akin to being poisoned because I get an intense pain in my stomach right off. The pain is followed by physical weakness especially in my legs, dizziness, nausea, bloating like I am 7 months pregnant, lots of gas and lots of diarrhea.
I hope this helps because this has been a very strange allergy to diagnose.

by: Anonymous

Tapioca seems to be the culprit for shocking stomach pain/wind, bloating. I have found this in gluten free s.r. flour and plain flour. Not sure if it is also in some gluten free cakes mixes. No fun.



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