Video: Nutritional Yeast

Watch as Dr. Weil discusses the benefits of nutritional yeast flakes. A good source of B-complex vitamins and trace minerals, this popular vegetarian seasoning adds a complex umami or savory taste to foods. Try nutritional yeast on popcorn, steamed veggies, pasta and even broiled fish.


Learn more about nutritional yeast.

Recipe to try: Umami Sauce!

See more of Dr. Weil’s videos and photo galleries.

Video Transcript: Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast used to be something that health food nuts ate. This is yeast that’s grown on a nutritive medium, primarily for human consumption. As distinct from brewer’s yeast which is a byproduct of the brewing industry and doesn’t contain as complete a spectrum of B vitamins. Brewer’s yeast also has a bitter taste; nutritional yeast is much more pleasant.

I first got into using it back in the 60’s and 70’s when people used to sprinkle it on popcorn instead of salt. Then I played around with it and came across a sauce that’s made for it and we serve this at True Food Kitchen restaurants. We call it umami sauce. It’s made with olive oil and cider vinegar, soy sauce, water and nutritional yeast and garlic. And this nutritional yeast has a very interesting savory flavor and this is one of the conveyors of umami, the fifth taste that Japanese scientists identified some time ago.

We have taste receptors for umami in addition to sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, and this responds to glutamate, which is an amino acid found, especially associated with animal protein. And probably, we evolved that sense to guide us toward sources of animal protein. But it’s in seaweed and mushrooms and Parmesan cheese and tomatoes and a very hot item in the culinary world these days. Umami and nutritional yeast is a wonderful and lesser known source of it and also this is a good source of B vitamins. I like the taste of it.

Share Dr. Weil's expertise with your friends & family