It’s a vegan fave, but does it have weight-loss superpowers?
Ginger, matcha, and turmeric, we’re going to let you finish (said in best Kanye voice) but consider yourselves warned: There’s a new health-food trend stealing your spotlight.
Nutritional yeast, otherwise known as nooch by aficionados, is packed with protein, commonly fortified with B-12, and does a hell of a job mimicking cheese both in flavor and consistency—definite perks for those who are dairy and/or meat-free, says Keri Glassman, R.D.
While those qualities are definitely great for your bod, the mustard-colored powder might also help with weight loss, says Glassman. Hold up though: The key word here is “might.” While there is no research showing a correlation between nutritional yeast and weight loss, it’s low in calories and loaded with nutrients, which means it has the potential to help someone drop pounds, says Glassman.
Nutritional yeast has lots of vitamin B-12, says Lisa DeFazio, R.D., which can be also be a major plus for those looking to lose weight. That’s because B vitamins, specifically B-12, help your metabolism break down carbohydrates into energy, says DeFazio.
Nutritional yeast is also a protein powerhouse. In fact, the powder is considered a complete protein, containing all nine amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), says Glassman. These are an essential part of your diet because your body doesn’t produce them, and (as you might know) fueling up on protein keeps you fuller longer and balances your blood sugar. That means you’re less likely to overeat later. So, yeah, dusting your dish with a little nutritional yeast has similar weight-loss benefits as eating lean meats.
Plus, even though it tastes like cheese, it doesn’t have as much cholesterol, saturated fat, or cals (depending on the type of cheese) as the go-to dairy topping, says DeFazio. Although you’d get the same amount of protein in a domino-size piece of cheese, a serving of nutritional yeast is a good alternative when you’re trying to lose weight because it also contains fiber and B vitamins. While the exact calorie count varies by manufacturer, most brands average about 60 calories for two tablespoons, she says.
Bottom line: Nutritional yeast definitely has its pound-shedding benefits, Glassman says. That is, of course, when combined with a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise—a.k.a. the most important parts of healthy weight loss.