Fact or Myth: Is Nutritional Yeast Brewer’s Yeast?

This is a MYTH.

Brewer’s yeast is a byproduct of beer making. It’s pretty unpalatable with an extremely bitter taste. Nutritional yeast, on the other hand, has a nutty, cheesy taste that’s pretty scrumptious. It’s from the fungi family (think mushroom) and is an outstanding vegetarian source of B-12, a vitamin that is typically only acquired through animal-based foods. Nutritional yeast should be a part of every vegetarian/vegan’s diet!

Nutritional Yeast FlakesNutritional Yeast Is Nutritionally Loaded!

Made from a single-celled organism called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, nutritional yeast is cultivated on molasses, then harvested, washed, and dried using heat processing to kill, or deactivate it. This process renders it inactive so that it doesn’t leaven like baking yeast does.

Here’s why it’s such a valuable dietary treasure—it’s a vegetarian source of the crucial nutrient vitamin B12. B12 is an imperative part of red blood cell production. It also helps produce and protect myelin, which acts as protective insulation around your nerves. One tablespoon of nutritional yeast gives you your entire recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12!

Nutritional yeast is also high in protein (two tablespoons gives you more protein than one cup of whole milk) and high in fiber, so your gut health and digestion function smoothly. Naturally gluten free, nutritional yeast is a great supplement for those who are gluten sensitive or intolerant. It’s got a bountiful dose of essential minerals selenium and zinc, and is rich in folic acid.

How to Use It

You can find nutritional yeast at natural food stores (also under the name Vegetarian Support Formula). Recent studies have shown that synthetic folic acid may instigate breast cancer. Many brands of nutritional yeast have added synthetic folic acid, so check ingredient labels! Two brands that don’t use synthetic folic acid are KAL Unfortified Yeast Flakes and Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritional Yeast.

Sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn, or stir it into mashed potatoes, grits, and pasta dishes for a cheesy flavor and to add richness and texture.