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Nutrition

Food Focus: Nutritional Yeast

Yeast is something we have been consuming for years in many different food and beverages from bread to beer. But now all of a sudden there’s this hot new food item called “nutritional yeast” that’s got us wondering what it is and how to use it. I mean, it’s got “nutritional” in the name, so it must be healthy, right? Sure! Although its name, “nutritional yeast”, lacks some marketing appeal, it can actually add health benefits to your food beyond just texture and flavor. So hop on this nutritional bandwagon and sprinkle some “nooch”, as the avid users would say, in your favorite dishes.

Nutritional Yeast – What is it?

Much like it’s more well-known cousins, active dry yeast and brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast also comes from the same yeast species: Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This yeast, which is grown on a variety of foods including sugar beets, molasses, whey, or grains, is allowed to ferment before being processed. Nutritional yeast differs in that its processing involves heating and drying the yeast, thus deactivating it for consumption – brewer’s and active dry yeast remain alive when used. Nooch is then flaked and packaged, producing a final product with a nutty, cheesy flavor.

What does it look like?

The outcome of processing this yeast is a golden yellow flake. It is light and airy in appearance, almost like a grated parmesan cheese.

Why use it?

Flavor: Nutritional yeast is a great way to enhance the flavor of your recipes or simply to sprinkle on top of your favorite snack. Its natural nuttiness and cheesiness brings out the savory flavor in dishes while remaining friendly for those with food intolerances or certain dietary choices.

Vitamin B: Because of its exceptionally high vitamin B content, nutritional yeast attracts food enthusiasts, vegan or not. In some cases, one serving of nutritional yeast may provide you with most, if not all, of your daily value of B vitamins. You may even find nutritional yeast with fortified B12 (of particular importance for non-meat eaters) just read the label! Why care so much about B vitamins? Well, chances are we don’t get enough of them. And according to Norm Lemoine, chemist and President of Radiant Life, “These vitamins support the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to provide energy for the body. They are also important for maintaining a healthy nervous system, aiding with vision, and enhancing the integrity of the skin and hair.”

Protein: Yet another reason to love nooch is it acts as a good source of “complete” protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies don’t naturally synthesize. This is a major benefit for vegetarians and vegans who rely on plant based foods for protein, which commonly are incomplete sources of protein rather than complete. Just two tablespoons of nutritional yeast offers about 4g of protein according to the USDA nutrient database, but certain brands may have even more!

How to use nutritional yeast

In addition to being high in B vitamins and protein, nutritional yeast is extremely versatile in use as its friendly to almost all those with food allergies, intolerances, and specific dietary choices – just be sure to pay close attention to the type of food the yeast was grown on (whey, grains, etc). To use incorporating nutritional yeast into your diet, start by adding 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast to soups, stews, or sauces. This will not only enhance flavor, but boost nutritional content. You can also sprinkle nutritional yeast over pizza, pasta, or popcorn in the same way you would parmesan. Using nooch doesn’t have to be complicated – so let your creative culinary juices flow! To store, seal tightly in a dark container and keep in a cool place.

Recipes using nutritional yeast
Cheesy Vegan Roasted Cauliflower
Creamy Vegan Mac n Cheese
Easy Asparagus Risotto
Cheeto Chickpeas
Vegan Queso
Creamy Cauliflower Wild Rice Soup
Nooch Popcorn

References:
1. Nutritional Yeast Rises to the Occasion by Melanie Peters – UC San Diego Health
2. Sorting Out Yeast: Nutritional and Brewer’s by Dr. Mercola – Mercola.com
3. Nutritional Yeast by Norm Lemoine – Weston A Price Foundation
4. Everything You Need to Know About Nutritional Yeast, Nature’s Cheeto Dust by Christine Chaey – Bon Appetit
5. Nutritional Yeast: The One Pantry Staple Your Cooking is Missing by Kathy Hester – Whole Foods Market

6. Nutritional Yeast – USDA Food Composition Database

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Nutrition

Medical News Today: Fats or carbs: What causes obesity?

Too many carbohydrates or too much fat? Opinions as to which parts of our diets are likely to cause obesity are split. A recent study takes a closer look at the effects of diet on weight and health.
unhealthful foods and measuring tape
Does a diet that is too rich in fats or too rich in carbs lead to obesity?

Earlier this year, Medical News Today reported on a study that pitted the potential benefits of the low-carb diet against those of the low-fat one.

The scientists asked which type of diet would be best for shedding excess weight.

Their conclusion? In essence, that it is hard to tell.

Both have pros and cons; some people may benefit more from laying off the fats, whereas others may see better results by sticking to a low-carb dietary plan.

Both carbs (which are a primary source of glucose, or simple sugar) and fats have been blamed for increasing a person's likelihood of facing obesity, and studies keep debating these points, so the argument is far from settled.

Recently, the view that an excessive carb intake may be the main dietary cause of obesity has had more traction, though some researchers have questioned this.

In a paper now published in the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers from two institutions — the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom — have once more turned the cards, suggesting that we should look once more to fatty foods.

Sugar intake had no impact on weight

In what they think is the largest study of its kind to date, lead researcher Prof. John Speakman and team worked with mice to test the effects of three macronutrients – carbohydrates, fats, and protein — on body fat accumulation.

The scientists turned to the murine model because, as they explain, asking human participants to follow one type of diet and evaluating them for very long periods of time is extremely tricky.

But looking at rodents — which have similar metabolic mechanisms — could offer crucial clues and workable evidence.

Mice belonging to five different genetically engineered strains were assigned to one of 30 various types of diet, including variations on their content of fat, carbs, and protein.

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The mice were kept on their respective diets for a period of 3 months — which counts as 9 years would for humans.

Throughout this time, they were assessed for changes in body weight and body fat content, to see which of the mice would end up becoming overweight.

The scientists found that only an excessive intake of fats increased adiposity (body fat content) in mice, while carbohydrates — including up to 30 percent of calories derived from sucrose — had no impact.

Moreover, a combined fatty and sugary diet did not increase body fat more than a fatty diet did on its own.

As for protein intake, the research team says that there was no evidence that it affected the intake of other macronutrients or the amount of body fat.

And why does the intake of fat lead to obesity? The researchers believe that fats “appeal” to the brain's reward system, stimulating a craving for an excessive amount of calories, which then determines weight gain.

“A clear limitation of this study,” as Prof. Speakman explains, “is that it is based on mice rather than humans.”

“However, mice have lots of similarities to humans in their physiology and metabolism, and we are never going to do studies where the diets of humans are controlled in the same way for such long periods.”

So the evidence it provides is a good clue to what the effects of different diets are likely to be in humans.”

Prof. John Speakman

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Nutrition

The Meal Delivery Kit That Accommodates (Almost) Every Trendy Dietary Plan

Tempted to try a meal kit service but not sure there’s one that will work for your diet? We have good news. If you hate chopping but love healthy, fresh foods, Green Chef is here to save the day. The meal service is particularly good for those doing keto or paleo but who have zero time to fuss with complicated recipes. And Green Chef also happens to be the first certified organic and gluten-free meal kit company in America.

The company breaks up its meal plans by diet: carnivores (meat and seafood meals), omnivores (a mix of meat, seafood, and vegetarian meals), vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and keto. (Currently, there’s no Whole30 plan, but according to Green Chef executive chef Dana Murrell, that could change. “We’re always following new diets and health trends,” she says.) Pricing is based on the plan you choose and whether you choose two or four servings, but the price range is roughly $11 to $15 per serving. And it’s available throughout the mainland US. (Sorry, Hawaii and Alaska!)

Green Chef is tailor-made for beginners. Yes, the “Green” in the name means fresh and healthy, but it also means “novice.” “We’ve developed gourmet dinners that even beginners can cook with ease. We do the prep work in advance from the diced veggies like onions to the signature pre-made sauces,” Murrell explains.

Green Chef chops, mixes, and blends everything for you ahead of time. The only downside: freshness can get sacrificed in the process. In our package, some ingredients (like onions) looked a little wilted, but other starchier vegetables like potatoes were fine. We ordered the gluten-free plan, and it pleasantly surprised us. The package included three (two-serving) meals:

  1. honey-mustard salmon with a kale, carrot, and orange salad and a sweet potato mash
  2. steak and black-rice ramen bowl with rainbow carrots, edamame, corn, ginger, and sesame seeds
  3. veggie-stuffed crepes with sweet-potato-mushroom filling, dill sauce, and a kale salad

These meals can be easily tackled in about 20-30 minutes — certainly more efficient than ordering take-out or eating out. Taking out the prep work made the cooking and assembling part fun and effortless, and the recipes surprised us with their bright and bold flavors and satisfying portions. One thing to consider: Given that the ingredients are packed and shipped, you do really have to cook those meals quickly to keep the ingredients at their peak, so know your schedule and plan ahead! (And since you can’t pick the specific meals each shipment, this isn’t the meal plan for picky eaters.) But that aside, we would highly recommend Green Chef. It’s is a lot more time-, health-, and cost-efficient than delivery, takeout, or even attempting a from-scratch recipe.

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What are some of your favorite meal kits? Let us know on Twitter!

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.

(Photos via Green Chef)

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Nutrition

7 New Keto Cookbooks That You Need to Get, STAT

Keto Cookbooks for 2018 | Brit + Co

Cookbookmarked! is our new series where we review the latest cookbooks from the foodie influencers you follow. Check back often to find out which new releases are worth your hard-earned cash and the recipes you should try first from each.

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It's safe to say that the ketogenic craze isn't going anywhere — the high-fat, low-carb diet is gaining popularity (and converts) day by day. And if you're on the keto diet and finding yourself running out of meal inspo, we've got you covered with a list of keto cookbooks coming out from now until 2019.

For more keto meal inspiration and recipes, follow us on Pinterest.

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.

Our Latest In Books

👋 See Ya Later!

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