What Are Nutritional Yeast Flakes?

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  • Written By: B. Koch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2019
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Nutritional yeast flakes are a type of dried, deactivated yeast that is often consumed as a food supplement or used as a condiment. Yeast flakes are popular for their high protein content and high level of B vitamins. They are suitable for vegetarians and vegans and are gluten free, making them especially popular for those with dietary restrictions.

Yeast consists of tiny microorganisms. There are many different types of yeast, including the yeast that is used in beer making and the yeast that is used to make bread. The type of yeast that makes nutritional yeast flakes is called Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is typically grown on molasses. After it is harvested, the yeast is heated to a point at which the microorganisms perish, leaving yeast that is no longer active and alive. These are what make up the nutritional yeast flakes.

Vegans and vegetarians are the most regular consumers of nutritional yeast flakes, as it provides an excellent source of protein for individuals who do not get their protein from meat. It may also be consumed by anyone who is interested in increasing the amount of protein in his or her diet. Nutritional yeast flakes typically contain about 9 grams of protein per every 2 tablespoons of yeast.


Many brands of nutritional yeast flakes are enriched with B vitamins so that they will have optimal nutritional value. Yeast flakes have high levels of many different types of B vitamins including B6, B1, and B12. B vitamins are involved in everything from helping the body to produce red blood cells and assisting in the growth of new muscle to being a pivotal factor in the nutrition of pregnant women and the health of their babies.

This type of yeast may be consumed in a number of ways. Often it is treated as a condiment and is sprinkled onto food much like shredded cheese might be. It may be added to salads, popcorn, and vegetable dishes as well. Other times, it may be mixed into a liquid so it can be quickly consumed as a type of supplement. Nutritional yeast flakes do have a distinctive flavor that some individuals do not enjoy, so they may be mixed with orange juice or another strong flavored liquid in order to mask their distinct flavor.

There is some evidence that nutritional yeast flakes in especially high quantities may cause an increase in the body's uric acid levels. Too much uric acid in the body can cause conditions such as gout and gall stones. In order to prevent these conditions, the amount of nutritional yeast flakes consumed in a day should be limited to 2 tablespoons, or one serving.



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Post 1

I've seen recipes that use nutritional yeast flakes mixed with oil as a type of "cheese" topping. It's popular on pizza.

I didn't know it could cause an increase in uric acid. I find that interesting. I did know vegans eat it because it contains B12, which is not usually found in the plant kingdom.

I've seen the flakes on the shelves in the health food sections of stores, but I've never used them. I might give them a try, though.

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