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Any reason not to eat nutritional yeast?

by (975)
Updated about 15 hours ago
Created September 22, 2011 at 5:47 AM

I have a can of high-quality nutritional yeast in the pantry. I only use it as an occasional treat/supplement for my pet rats, but I acquired a taste for it during a four-year stint as a vegan in the olden days and wouldn't mind using it again.

I gained weight when I quit drinking, dipping, and smoking last year, and only really cleaned up my diet in early August. I've lost 22 lbs since August 4, and am reintroducing benign (or not especially terrible) starches to slow my weight loss to a sane rate. I think the way I eat right now is coincidentally close to the Perfect Health Diet.

My reason for wanting to eat nutritional yeast is that it tastes good and is, um, nutritional. Is there any metabolic reason not to eat it? I have nothing against the "is it Paleo?" construct but I'm most concerned with whether there's an actual positive or negative effect on human metabolism - for instance, the yeast is doubtlessly cultured on some kind of sugar, but it's sugar-free itself, and I have no idea what the implications of that are. I also remember hearing that it contained something like an MSG analog.

I'm obviously not going to die if I don't eat it, but I'd like to have a compelling health reason not to eat tasty food in my pantry. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Medium avatar
598 · November 01, 2013 at 10:10 PM

I have had pet rats periodically throughout my life. I never thought to feed them nutritional yeast but they certainly got plenty of rat-safe human food as treats.

All I'm trying to say is - RATS ARE AWESOME PETS

Sorry if that's an inane comment.

Af49bced416926d9f88e47a7e705d99d
20 · June 29, 2012 at 9:46 AM

nutritional yeast is not like regular yeast though, travis.

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975 · September 23, 2011 at 2:32 AM

Thank you. This is actually quite a helpful starting point, although I lack the training to examine the literature in any nuanced way. The amount I'd use would never be more than .25 cups per week and typically much less, i.e., I'd be using it for occasional flavor rather than in its usual vegan capacity as a B12 supplement or cheese substitute. I don't know what its critical mass would be for the "spikes" to actually be problematic - I eat fruit in moderate amounts without discernible ill effect. But this gives me somewhere to start in terms of what to look for, thank you very much.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Feel free to e-mail me whenever you want.

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49
1371 · September 22, 2011 at 4:19 PM

WOAH....cool studies...you REALLY need a blog i have like a gazillion questions for you

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · September 22, 2011 at 4:06 PM

well-phrased question.

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975 · September 22, 2011 at 6:22 AM

It is, particularly the part about the glutamic acid. (I've never had Marmite but was crazy about Vegemite when I lived in Australia.) I don't think nutritional yeast is wheat-derived, though ... at least the kind I have is supposedly gluten- and sugar-free.

D037d734f061de515a0bd49a32e11d3c
90 · September 22, 2011 at 6:18 AM

Not sure if this is of any help http://paleohacks.com/questions/39638/is-marmite-paleo#axzz1YenuLmwc

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2 Answers

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39841 · September 22, 2011 at 3:57 PM

The reason you might not want to eat a lot of yeast is that there is a lot of RNA in it. When nucleotides are digested, large amounts of uric acid are produced. It's really a very similar effect to the metabolism of fructose given that fructose causes a spike in the catabolism of adenine nucleotides (ATP->ADP->AMP->IMP->inosine->hypoxanthine->xanthine->uric acid).

Anyway, if you take a look at a paper like this one: http://www.ajcn.org/content/21/9/892.short You'll see that yeast really spikes uric acid levels. The reason why we don't want that is that elevated uric acid is principally why sugar causes insulin resistance, type II diabetes etc.: http://ajprenal.physiology.org/content/290/3/F625.short.

I don't know how much yeast it would take to simulate drinking a 2L bottle of cola a day, but if you're trying to improve insulin sensitivity, lose weight etc. it will definitely work against you.

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49
1371 · September 22, 2011 at 4:19 PM

WOAH....cool studies...you REALLY need a blog i have like a gazillion questions for you

De65560c40ddb3f27764307ffa504240
975 · September 23, 2011 at 2:32 AM

Thank you. This is actually quite a helpful starting point, although I lack the training to examine the literature in any nuanced way. The amount I'd use would never be more than .25 cups per week and typically much less, i.e., I'd be using it for occasional flavor rather than in its usual vegan capacity as a B12 supplement or cheese substitute. I don't know what its critical mass would be for the "spikes" to actually be problematic - I eat fruit in moderate amounts without discernible ill effect. But this gives me somewhere to start in terms of what to look for, thank you very much.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Feel free to e-mail me whenever you want.

Af49bced416926d9f88e47a7e705d99d
20 · June 29, 2012 at 9:46 AM

nutritional yeast is not like regular yeast though, travis.

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49
1
1371 · September 22, 2011 at 3:11 PM

mine is derived from sugar beets... fwiw

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