Nutritional Yeast

While we can all agree that nutritional yeast may have the least appealing name possible for a food, it is certainly something you may want to consider including in your diet. Never heard of nutritional yeast? You are not alone! Although it has been around for quite a while, it has just recently started to become more popular and a larger number of grocery stores are now carrying it. So just what is this mysterious product and why should you be eating it? Let’s find out!

WHAT IS IT?

Nutritional yeast differs from bread and other yeasts in that is deactivated. This means that it can’t be used as a substitute when making dough, and shouldn’t be confused with the type of yeast that is used in baked goods. The yeast is grown on a food source, in some cases molasses, harvested, then dried and finally broken into small flakes. This finished product has a wonderful nutty and cheesy flavor that is delicious with a wide range of foods.

WHY SHOULD YOU EAT IT?

While these yeast flakes may be small in size, they pack a supersized nutritional punch! Nutritional yeast contains protein, and in a ¼ cup serving, you get 8 grams or close to 16% of the recommended daily value. In addition, it is a great source of fiber. In that same serving size, you can get close to 12% of what is recommended daily. While it is true that not all brands are created equal, it is common to find high levels of B12 in most.
Are you ready for the best part? In addition to being a great source of protein, fiber, and B12, there is almost no downsize to nutritional yeast. There is zero sodium, zero cholesterol, zero sugar, and zero fat. There aren’t too many other foods out there that can make those types of claims!
So now your interest has been piqued, how exactly do you get nutritional yeast into your diet? One simple and tasty way to enjoy this is to sprinkle some on top of popcorn. Skip the buttery/salty variety and pick a plain flavor in which you can enjoy the naturally cheesy flavor. Another great dish to try this on is pasta. Instead of reaching for the overly processed green can of Parmesan, do yourself a favor and grab the yeast! If you are a little more savvy in the kitchen and want to try something new, nutritional yeast can also be used to make some delicious and creamy cheese sauces.
Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, just make sure you are including it in your diet. Try it tonight and see what you have been missing out on!
nutritional yeast

David became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) in 2013 and founded Nutrition in Recovery, a group practice of RDNs specializing in the treatment of eating and substance use disorders. In 2017, David received the “Excellence in Practice” award at the national Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. The California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics awarded him the “Emerging Dietetic Leader Award” in 2020. He earned his PhD from UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health in the Community Health Sciences department (with a minor in Health Psychology) by investigating the links between adverse childhood experiences and various mental health outcomes among socially disadvantaged men. His treatment philosophy is based on a biopsychosocial model which incorporates an understanding of biological mechanisms, psychological underpinnings, and contextual factors that integrate the social determinants of health. His website Wise Mind Nutrition offers a fully online interactive treatment program that will be available in the Summer of 2022.

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