It is surprisingly difficult to find the amino acid profile of nutritional yeast.
I had to dig around for a while, but eventually I found a study that had it (1).
The table below shows the data from that study, plus the amount needed to be considered a complete protein by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Essential Amino Acid Profile of Nutritional Yeast
Note that amino acid profiles always fluctuate a bit depending on the manufacturer (for all foods, not just yeast), but this gives us a good idea of what to expect.
|Essential Amino Acid||Yeast mg/g protein||Complete protein mg/g (2)|
It’s a very balanced profile and overall healthy food, and it’s really hard to eat too much nutritional yeast in a day.
Is Nutritional Yeast a Complete Protein?
I think it’s safe to say that nutritional yeast is a complete protein, or extremely close to it.
Even though it falls a tiny bit short on methionine, that’s not really a fair comparison. The 16 mg/g from WHO is for methionine plus cysteine. The data for cysteine wasn’t available for nutritional yeast in the study, but it’s a safe bet that it’s over 2.
Regardless, here’s a list of the best plant-based methionine food sources if you’re interested.
In addition to being well balanced, it has a significant amount of protein as well.
In one quarter cup of nutritional yeast, there’s:
- 60 calories
- 8 grams of protein (32 calories)
- 0.5 grams of fat
- 5 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber)
Over half the calories come from protein. It’s no surprise that nutritional yeast is included in many vegan high protein recipes.
Additionally, there are a ton of B vitamins, which people on a plant-based diet sometimes lack (and avoids any concerns of vegan brain shrinkage).