I have long been confused by nutritional yeast. And just so you know, I still am a bit. 😉 I am hoping that between all of us, we may sort it out.
What Is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a dried single-celled fungi. According to Sundance Natural Foods (Eugene, OR) it is present in the air around us and on fruits and grains. This strain of yeast multiplies as it feeds on various types of sugar, converting the sugars into alcohol. Next, the producers pasteurize the yeast to kill it. And that is good, otherwise it would continue to grow in your intestines and absorb the B vitamins that your body needs.
Why Eat Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B-complex vitamins, 18 amino acids and 15 minerals, particularly chromium. Chromium is very important in the regulation of blood sugar — certainly beneficial for diabetics and people who struggle with low blood sugar.
Depending on whose writings you read, nutritional yeast may or may not be a good source of Vitamin B-12, typically only found in animal foods. Some nutritional yeasts are fortified with Vitamin B-12.
Commercial Nutritional Yeast v. Natural Nutritional Yeast
The best kind of nutritional yeast starts with a non-GMO strain, which is fed on mineral-enriched molasses. The pasteurization takes place at low temperatures without chemical processing.
Unfortunately, according to Sally Fallon Morell in Nourishing Traditions, most commercial brands of nutritional yeast “contain high levels of MSG — formed during high-temperature and chemical processing from the glutamic acid naturally present in the yeast.” She points out that light-yellow colored yeast that dissolves easily is most likely processed at low temperatures.
Not Brewer’s Yeast
Nutritional yeast is not the same as Brewer’s Yeast, which is a by-product of beer-making. Nutritionally, they are similar. However, brewer’s yeast has a bitter kind of taste, while nutritional yeast tastes cheeses.
Does Not Contribute to Candida Overgrowth
Since it is not alive, nor does it feed on refined carbohydrates (as does candida), nutritional yeast will not contribute to a candida yeast overgrowth.
Uses for Nutritional Yeast
- Sprinkle on salads
- Add to salad dressings
- Add to sauces and broths for a “cheezy” flavor
Still Some Confusion
Here’s where I am not completely settled.
- The “mineral-enriched” molasses. How natural can this be?
- Whether or not nutritional yeast is a source of Vitamin B-12. Since the answer is not clear, this gives me and my family another reason to keep eating meat.
What do you think? Do you eat nutritional yeast? Will you continue or possibly stop now? What confuses you?
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