Nutritional yeast has become quite popular among vegans and vegetarians as it contains a plethora of nutrients that are difficult to obtain from plant-based foods alone. Besides being a great source of vitamins and minerals, it is also widely used as a condiment due to its tangy and cheesy flavor.
However, if you are someone who follows a gluten-free diet, you might be wondering whether nutritional yeast is actually gluten-free. Let’s dive in and find out if this food item is safe for those who are sensitive to gluten.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a type of yeast that is grown on molasses or other similar mediums. It is then deactivated, washed, and dried to form yellow flakes or powder.
One of the main reasons why nutritional yeast has become so popular is because it is an excellent source of vitamin B12, which is not commonly found in plant-based foods.
Due to its unique flavor profile, nutritional yeast is often used as a substitute for cheese in many dishes, and it can also be sprinkled on top of popcorn or salads as a condiment.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein that is found in several grains, including wheat, barley, and rye. It helps to give dough its elasticity and helps to keep baked goods from crumbling.
However, for some individuals, gluten can cause a range of adverse symptoms. Those who have celiac disease, for example, must strictly avoid gluten as it can cause damage to their small intestine.
Others may have a gluten intolerance, which can cause symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Is Nutritional Yeast Gluten-Free?
The answer is yes, nutritional yeast is gluten-free.
Since nutritional yeast is not made from any gluten-containing grains, it is generally safe for those who are sensitive to gluten or have a gluten intolerance.
However, there is one exception to this rule.
Some nutritional yeast brands add barley to their product, which would make it unsuitable for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Therefore, it is always essential to check the ingredient list before purchasing nutritional yeast to ensure that it is indeed gluten-free.
Nutritional Value of Nutritional Yeast
One of the main reasons for the popularity of nutritional yeast among health enthusiasts is its impressive nutritional profile.
Below are some of the nutrients that you can find in just one tablespoon of nutritional yeast:
- Vitamin B12: 40-60% of your recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Protein: 2 grams
- Vitamin B6: 2% RDI
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Thiamine: 30% RDI
- Riboflavin: 15-30% RDI
- Niacin: 15% RDI
- Folate: 15-30% RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 11% RDI
How to Use Nutritional Yeast
Now that we know that nutritional yeast is gluten-free and chock full of nutrients let’s discuss some creative ways to use it.
Sprinkle It on Popcorn
Nutritional yeast makes an excellent addition to popcorn. It provides a cheesy and salty flavor that pairs perfectly with the buttery popcorn.
Add It to Pasta
You can use nutritional yeast to make a vegan version of mac and cheese by adding it to pasta with some plant-based milk and vegan butter.
Make a Vegan Cheese Sauce
By combining nutritional yeast with cashews, plant-based milk, and spices, you can create a creamy and cheesy vegan cheese sauce.
Toss It in a Salad
Nutritional yeast can add some extra flavor and nutritional value to your salad. Just sprinkle some on top of your greens for an instant nutrient boost.
Add It to Soup
You can also use nutritional yeast to enhance the flavor of your soups. Just sprinkle some on top of your bowl of soup and enjoy the savory goodness.
Nutritional yeast is a delicious and nutritious food item that is gluten-free and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. It is versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes to add flavor and nutritional value.
- Q: Is nutritional yeast gluten-free?
- A: Yes, nutritional yeast is generally gluten-free, but it is essential to check the ingredient list to ensure that it does not contain any gluten-containing grains such as barley.
- Q: Is nutritional yeast vegan?
- A: Yes, nutritional yeast is vegan as it is made from deactivated yeast, which is a fungus and not an animal product.
- Q: Does nutritional yeast contain MSG?
- A: Some brands of nutritional yeast may contain MSG, but it is not a naturally occurring substance in nutritional yeast.
- Q: Is nutritional yeast healthier than cheese?
- A: Nutritional yeast is lower in fat and calories than cheese and is a great source of protein and vitamins. However, it is not necessarily healthier than cheese as cheese provides calcium and other essential nutrients that nutritional yeast does not offer.
1. Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nutritional-yeast#what-is-it
2. Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/nutritional-yeast#benefits
3. The Spruce Eats: https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-nutritional-yeast-for-3376824
4. Verywell Health: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-gluten-4588367