What is Nutritional Yeast and Why Should I Eat It?


What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast, a.k.a. “Good tasting yeast” or “primary grown yeast” is made from a single-celled organism, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is grown on a mixture of cane and beet molasses. It is then harvested, washed, pasteurized, and dried to “deactivate” it.  Nutritional Yeast is not the same as brewer’s yeast or Torula yeast, which are by-products of the beer-making process and paper-mill waste (including all the chemical toxins).

Why Should I Eat It?

  1. Vegan protein source; contains up to 50% protein
  2. Low in fat
  3. Gluten-free
  4. Good balance of all the essential amino acids
  5. Rich in B-vitamins, especially niacin (B3) and folic acid (B9)
  6. High in chromium, selenium, zinc, and other minerals
  7. Helps with anemias
  8. Assists in pulling out uranium, lead, DDT, carbon monoxide, nitrates, nitrites
  9. Some people experience an energy boost!
  10. Tastes delicious

Where Can I Find It?

Nutritional yeast flakes can be found in the Bulk department of your local health food store.  It will have it’s own container. Scoop the desired amount of flakes into a plastic bag.  A little goes a long way. This is an inexpensive superfood and runs about $6-$8 a pound in the Bulk section.

How Should I Store It?

At home it is best to store the flakes in an airtight container that is out of direct sunlight and heat.  It can be stored at room temperature and needs to be in a moisture-free area, e.g., I store mine in a stainless steel, airtight container and leave it on the dining table (away from sunlight).  This makes it convenient and also reminds me to eat it with my meals.

What Does It Taste Like?

It has a pleasant, nutty, cheese-like flavor.

How Much Should I Eat?

Start by sprinkling it on meals and gradually increase amount over time, e.g., Begin with ½ tsp and work up 1-3 tbsp per day.  The amount will vary from person to person.

How Do I Eat It?

I love the taste of nutritional yeast so much that I sprinkle it on almost every meal.  I treat it like a cheese substitute.  It tastes great on salads, popcorn, eggs, vegetables, rice, pasta, meat, quinoa, and in soup and stews.  I also like to use it in recipes as a thickening agent.  My sister made a killer gravy using nutritional yeast instead of flour. 

Important Recommendations about Nutritional Yeast

Anyone taking nutritional yeast should also take calcium and magnesium supplementation. Nutritional Yeast contains low amounts of these 2 minerals, therefore they should be supplemented to keep all minerals in balance.  200-300 mg of calcium and magnesium (preferably a higher quality calcium, like a citrate, versus a lower quality, like a carbonate, is optimal) per tablespoon of nutritional yeast.

Because nutritional yeast can cause an energy boost after eating it, I wouldn’t recommend eating it right before bed.  Best if eaten several hours before bedtime; eat it with breakfast and lunch.

Nutritional Yeast Does NOT Cause Yeast Infections

“Nutritional yeast is the extracted contents from dead and deactivated species that cannot be used for leavening or fermenting and certainly cannot infect you. Yeast extracts do not contain any Candida species, which are the most common cause of pathogenic yeast infections in people.”

– Owen Bond


Not recommended for those with renal disorders/failure, and gout.  Too much niacin from nutritional yeast could cause a niacin heat flush which can cause itching on the head and the extremities.  Also could cause further irritability for those who have skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, and pruritis.  The nucleic acids in RNA can sometimes cause loose bowels so I wouldn’t advise nutritional yeast for someone who already has loose bowels/diarrhea.