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All about yeast extract

  1. If you go through your kitchen cupboards with a critical eye, chances are very high that you will find a lot of products that contain yeast extract. In fact, I don't even think you have to look far, because most products contain some form of yeast extract.

  1. These ingredients are particularly common in products based on many carbohydrates with a savory taste. Given the positive reputation of nutritional yeast in general, and the fact that baker's yeast is also used in pastries and bread, most people generally pay little attention to this ingredient. It's in everything, especially in the well-known everyday products, so why could there be a problem with that?

  1. But what is yeast extract actually? Is it your friend or is it your enemy? Is it all as good as the food industry claims?

  1. To get the correct answer to this, we have to go back to basics. To the trigger in your brain why you like something and continue to eat from it, in most cases until the entire package is empty. And yes, that's Glutamate.

Why we â € hankâ € ™ for Glutamate

  1. As a child I remember very well the family dinners. A few times a year the whole family came together in my grandparents' (big) house to spend a weekend together. Of course many activities inside and outside, but mainly food. Good food. Because cooking was something my grandmother was very good at. Lots of different things to eat, but what I remember most was the large bowl of meatballs. Deliciously seasoned, slow-cooked, and perfectly browned in the oven. A real treat!

  1. Of all the delicious food there was always something left for the next day, but the meatballs were always finished very quickly. The whole family, especially the kids, almost fought over the last. The same story every time. But why is that anyway? What makes those little meatballs so irresistible to us? Of course the fact that grandmother made these, but for the most part the presence of (in this case natural) glutamates.

  1. The term “glutamates” refers to the many forms of glutamic acid. (1) It is an amino acid (the building block of proteins) found naturally in many foods and in our body . Cheese, milk, meat, peas, seaweed, and mushrooms are some of the foods high in glutamate. Glutamate is largely responsible for the flavor of these savory foods. This phenomenon is also referred to as the 'fifth taste', or 'Umami'.

  1. MSG is an artificially produced and highly concentrated flavor enhancer consisting almost entirely of glutamates. (2) It is so concentrated that just a few drops can drastically change the taste of a dish.

  1. On the other hand, it is so powerful that it can also drastically change the health of certain people. People who are sensitive to this can experience very violent reactions, including headaches.

What Makes Glutamate So Incredibly Powerful?

  1. Ingredients such as sugar and salt are able to activate a response in your brain that makes us like food. Allowing us to enjoy food. A well-known process that the food industry makes good use of.

  1. Glutamate has the same effect on your brain, but squared! Glutamate also activates something in the brain that makes you like something, and makes you want more. Until the moment there is nothing left. The bowl is empty, the packaging is empty. (3)

  1. Despite the fact that glutamate makes it very difficult to keep your size, this substance does not necessarily have to be a bad thing, because there are many foods that already contain natural glutamate. Some even in very high concentrations, such as aged cheese, fermented vegetables, cured meat, broth and soy sauce. These all contain high concentrations of glutamate.

  1. And glutamates not only taste very good, they are also good for your body and your overall health. It is a neurotransmitter in the brain and is not only beneficial for your body, but also necessary for living.

  1. In the early 20th century, a scientist discovered the existence of glutamates. (4) These are the so-called “fifth flavor” that we love so much in traditional foods. This â € fifth flavorâ € ™ is also called â € Umamiâ € ™.

  1. But, as with so many natural things, commercial interests have a strong tendency to “improve” this. No, not so much to make a better product, but to reduce the price of the natural ingredient. The same â € taste sensationâ € ™, but at a fraction of the price of the natural ingredient.

  1. The result? Monosodium Glutamate (MSG, later also known as E621) was born: A highly concentrated, synthetically produced, and extremely potent form of glutamic acid.

  1. Everyone was enthusiastic about the introduction of MSG: The same taste sensation and many times cheaper. Not dependent on natural sources, but completely synthetically produced. Ideal right? Everyone was so enthusiastic about it that it was even used in baby food. (5)

  1. But when public opinion turned against MSG in the 1960s, food manufacturers looked for alternatives. This was the beginning of a very large MSG industry in which all kinds of variants were made. Variants with the same taste sensation, but all still made synthetically. A new variant was constantly being marketed under different names. Names less loaded than the old MSG.

  1. Nowadays food manufacturers don't take MSG that seriously anymore. The same ingredient is presented under different names on the ingredients list. (6) Anything to avoid the consumer getting chills when reading the name MSG or E621.

  1. Ok, back to the yeast extract

Is yeast extract a hidden form of MSG?

  1. To go very briefly whether yeast extract is the same as MSG: No!

  1. I am well aware that I am bumping several people into the head with this, but I can't make anything of it anymore. This is reality.

  1. That does not necessarily mean that yeast extract is good or bad for you. We are not that far yet. The thing is, yeast extract and MSG are two completely different things, both made in different ways with different raw materials. And the end result is that they both release different forms and concentrations of glutamates.

  1. Yeast extract contains glutamate, just like the natural glutamate found in aged cheeses and homemade broth. It also contains other substances that all contribute to the unique flavor of yeast extract.

  1. MSG, on the other hand, is a highly concentrated, synthetic, and processed form of glutamic acid. It is made by bacterial fermentation. Although it is not recognized, there have been many bad experiences with MSG. The discussion about the safety and side effects of MSG can be found all over the internet. Headaches, among other things, are a common complaint. (7)

  1. So again: Yeast extract is not the same as MSG.

  1. Yeast extract is, normally, an all natural ingredient which happens to contain large amounts of glutamate. But this concentration is not even close to the amount found in MSG.

  1. But, as said before, manufacturers don't take the truth too seriously nowadays, and the ingredient list sometimes includes 'yeast extract', even though it is ordinary. MSG goes. You don't see the difference in the ingredients list, and you don't taste it either. You have been warned!

Yeast Extract: Glutamate versus MSG

  1. So what does all this information mean to you? Some are sensitive to both MSG and different types of yeast extracts. But there are also many people who are highly sensitive to MSG, but not sensitive to yeast extract and other forms of glutamate. A

  1. Why? Should we be concerned about glutamate?

  1. The food industry says (of course) â € ˜ no problem! Â € ™

  1. But the problem is much more complicated than a simple â € Yesâ € ™ or â € Noâ € ™.

  1. As mentioned earlier, glutamates occur naturally in a very wide variety of foods, especially when these foods are fermented, slow-cooked, or stewed. Traditional cultures in particular prepare their food in this way to consciously increase the concentration of glutamate. Clearly, our ancestors were very much aware of the health benefits of natural glutamate.

The risks of too much glutamate

  1. We can hardly ignore MSG anymore. It is incorporated in many products. By eating MSG, in addition to the natural glutamate that we already eat, our consumption is increased to the extreme. In other words, the processed foods with MSG eventually make us almost literally addicted to it. In addition, the danger of an â € âoverdoseâ € ™ is very great.

  1. There are a number of risks associated with this significant increase in glutamate.

  1. First, these high reward foods in the form of Glutamate will mess up the appetite and regulatory systems of our brain. MSG kills brain cells, especially in the hypothalamus in the brain stem. The hypothalamus plays an important role in controlling your metabolism and the endocrine system. (8)

  1. On the other hand, there are other foods that can have the same effect, some of which contain no, or very little, glutamate.

  1. Second, some people are highly sensitive to glutamate, even if they are not sensitive to MSG. People sensitive to glutamate can react very badly to a wide variety of foods such as aged cheeses and other foods containing yeast extracts.

  1. This sensitivity, especially for people with sensitive intestines, is why, for example, the GAPS diet contains only very briefly cooked foods. (9) This is for a period of time until there is progression in the healing process.

What to do if you are sensitive to glutamate?

  1. Except if you have an imbalance in your gut, there are other causes for a sensitivity to glutamates. Hereditary seems to play a major role in this. Some people tolerate glutamates better than others, just as there are people who have problems converting beta-carotene to Vitamin A.

  1. It should also be noted here that a sensitivity to glutamates can also develop as a result of overexposure to glutamate. Someone who is not normally hypersensitive can become so after a week of eating a lot of foods high in glutamates and MSG. After a period of abstinence so that your body can get rid of the â € delayâ € ™, the sensitivity will probably decrease or even disappear. [! 160779 => 1140 = 41!] Is it wise to avoid common foods with yeast extract?

  1. First of all, for those who are not sensitive to yeast extracts and other natural forms of glutamate, eating yeast extract is no problem at all. Provided, of course, in moderation.

  1. The biggest problem is that many foods that contain MSG are in most cases highly processed foods. And these are precisely the foods that are not the very best nutrition for your body. Also in terms of portion control, this is not the best choice, partly due to the presence of MSG which makes you â € addictedâ € ™ to what you are currently eating. (10)

  1. For this reason alone, avoidance is a very smart idea, especially if you're already struggling to eat just a small portion. Because all of these foods can be very addictive.

  1. For the people who are already familiar with their sensitivity to MSG and / or glutamates, it is of course important to know more details. Is it only MSG? Or also natural yeast extract? Or other forms of glutamates?

  1. In this case it is important to seek the help of an expert to find out exactly which shapes are involved. This can be difficult to determine, as any reaction to natural glutamate and / or synthetic MSG can sometimes take 24 to 72 hours. This fact can make it difficult to accurately determine any sensitivity.

  1. For healthy people, glutamates play a very important role for good health. In most cases, it will only be about avoiding the synthetic MSG, and not avoiding the natural form of glutamate: Yeast Extract.

Yeast Extract Health Benefits

  1. This was indeed quite a story about yeast extract versus MSG. I hope this has brought some clarity.

  1. Now we come to the health benefits of natural yeast extract. Will you read with me?

  1. Some manufacturers add vitamin B12 to the yeast extract. Whether this is added in your case, you can read grandfather's label. Vitamin B12 can help increase your energy levels. (11) Deficiency of these is often a major cause of weakness and fatigue.

  1. Yeast extract with added vitamin B12 can be particularly useful for vegetarians and vegans, as this important vitamin is usually only found in animal products. And this is exactly what vegetarians and vegans don't eat.

  1. Adults need about 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily. A quarter cup of yeast extract already contains 7 times as much.

  1. Research has shown that a certain yeast strain in yeast extract can support the immune system and, as a result, significantly reduce bacterial infections. It can also be very helpful in the treatment of diarrhea.

  1. Some researchers suggest that yeast extract can combat hair loss and brittle nails. It can also help reduce acne and other skin problems. Especially in the adolescent age.

  1. Some people claim that yeast extract improves sensitivity to glucose in people with Type 2 diabetes. (12) But this is not scientifically substantiated yet.

  1. Some researchers saw in animal experiments that yeast extract with added chromium (usually brewer's yeast) can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

  1. Yeast extract can also support a healthy pregnancy. Manufacturers often add folic acid to the final product. If this is the case in your case, you can check the ingredients list. In this way it is a very useful supplement for women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant.

  1. It is generally recommended to take 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid daily to prevent abnormalities and support fetal growth. (13)

  1. But be aware that some manufacturers add more than the recommended daily amount. So always consult your doctor before applying this. Especially if you already take tablets with folic acid during pregnancy and prior to pregnancy.

Are there any risks associated with the use of a yeast extract?

  1. Despite all the benefits that yeast extract can offer, its use is not suitable for everyone. Scientists warn people who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, glaucoma, and hypertension not to use yeast extract because it can ultimately worsen symptoms.

  1. As said before: People who have a hypersensitivity or an allergy to nutritional yeast should be careful when using this.

  1. Also people with a high risk of gout should definitely avoid a yeast extract. (14)


  1. Yeast extract is sometimes referred to as a superfood because even some of this high-protein, low-fat ingredient contains an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals.

  1. But more research is needed to confirm and scientifically support all the benefits of yeast extract.

  1. Just besides all the advantages: Many people simply enjoy the taste of added yeast extract. Yeast extract is very versatile and can be added to a wide variety of healthy dishes.

  1. Do you use yeast extract? How do you use it? Do you have a nice recipe that you want to share with us?

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