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What is yeast extract?

Yeast extract is a popular food ingredient. You may find it used in different kinds of sauces, soups, snacks, and delicatessens. To produce the extract, manufacturers use the same yeast used to make wine, beer and bread. Yeast extract has a unique salty flavor that, like spice, can add to the overall taste of foods. This is why many people often refer to yeast extract as a "hidden flavor enhancer." food.

Yeast is a single-celled organism belonging to the kingdom Fungi.

Yeast extract is a natural food ingredient made by bakers from yeast extract. or brewery yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae ). This is the same fresh yeast used for centuries to ferment beer, bread and wine.

At an industrial level, yeast extract is usually prepared through the following three-step process:

  1. Manufacturers grow yeast in large vessels called fermenters. Use sugar to nourish the yeast. They maintain a rich supply of oxygen and a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius in the fermentation tank. These are similar conditions to those maintained when baking at home.
  2. Manufacturers increase the temperature to 45 to 55 degrees Celsius to stop yeast growth. They then either use enzymes already in the yeast (autolysis) or add new enzymes to the fermenter (hydrolysis). These enzymes break down yeast proteins and other large molecules into smaller components and dissolve the cell walls to release the contents from the yeast cells.
  3. The manufacturer mixes the internal yeast cell contents (yeast extract) with the contents of the fermentation tank. After proper mixing, they separated the cell walls from the mixture and dried the filtered yeast extract.

Depending on the process performed in step 2, you can obtain autolyzed or hydrolyzed yeast extract.

Some small-scale manufacturers produce baker's yeast extract by grinding dry yeast in a mortar and mixing it with water overnight. This is followed by steps of centrifugation, filtration, dialysis and freeze-drying. These processes are necessary to obtain purified yeast extract.

What does yeast extract contain?

Yeast extract contains all of the naturally occurring macromolecules originally present within yeast cells. It is rich in macronutrients like carbohydrates and proteins as well as minerals and vitamins . Among vitamins, yeast extract is rich in B vitamins.

The protein content of yeast extract accounts for almost 65%. These proteins are made up of amino acids, the nutrients that give yeast extract its unique flavor. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), yeast extract contains important proteins and amino acids whose qualities are similar to those found in milk and eggs. However, they may not meet your daily protein needs since most contain only very small amounts of yeast extract.

One of the most essential amino acids in yeast extract is glutamic acid. It is also found in different foods such as vegetables, fish, meat and dairy products, as well as soybean paste and Parmesan cheese. Soy sauce and Parmesan cheese.

The sodium salt of glutamic acid (called glutamate) accounts for almost 5% of yeast extract's nutritional content. Many manufacturers extract this glutamate and use it as an additive in foods, giving them a unique "umami" flavor. Taste - A salty flavor often associated with mushrooms and meat. You may often find this isolated form of glutamate listed as monosodium glutamate (MSG) in a variety of foods.

What are the uses of yeast extract?

Yeast extract is popular for its unique umami flavor. Many people also find that yeast extract tastes similar to homemade broth due to its amino acid structure. Due to its delicious taste and rich protein content, manufacturers like to add it to various foods.

You can find yeast extract used as a flavoring in many snack foods, sauces, dressings, gravies, canned soups, soup mixes, broths, meat products, dressings, dairy products, desserts, frozen dinners, and ready-to-eat meals food. drinks

In the UK and Australia it is commonly used in sandwich spreads such as Vegemite and Marmite.

Due to its high content of B vitamins, you can also find yeast extract supplements in many nutritional supplements for pregnant women and those suffering from malnutrition.

Is yeast extract safe?

The United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given beer or baker's yeast extract "generally recognized as safe" certification. (GRAS) status. It is approved for use as a flavoring and additive in amounts not exceeding 5% of food ingredients. Due to its high content of B vitamins, brewer's yeast is also approved by the FDA for use as a dietary supplement.

However, the Center for Science in the Public Interest notes that some people should avoid yeast extract. For example, people with high blood pressure or other problems caused by high sodium intake may wish to limit their consumption of products containing yeast extract.

Many manufacturers use autolyzed yeast extract instead of MSG. MSG can cause symptoms such as tingling, mild skin flushing, numbness and headaches.

Since yeast extract contains very small amounts of glutamate, such side effects are unlikely. But if you have an allergic reaction from inhaling a fungus, you may experience similar symptoms after taking yeast extract.

If you have any severe allergic reaction to yeast extract or if the symptoms do not go away on their own, contact your doctor.

How to avoid yeast extract?

People who are sensitive to MSG may also react to the glutamate in yeast extract. To avoid this, the FDA mandates that manufacturers:

  • Mention "yeast extract" on its own in the ingredient list, rather than hiding it under the "natural flavors" label. or "additives".
  • Avoid saying "MSG-free" or "No added MSG" If the product contains yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed yeast or soy extract, state this on the label.

Therefore, to avoid consuming yeast extract, check regularly and choose products that do not mention their ingredients.

But in practice, you may find it difficult to do this.

This is because there are a variety of products that contain yeast extract, such as those that fall into the category of processed packaged foods. Those who enjoy snacking, junk food, or ready-to-eat meals may especially find yeast extract in most of the foods they eat.

Therefore, if you do wish to eliminate yeast extract from your diet (although it is relatively safe), be sure to avoid most processed foods. Instead, choose to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and prepare your own meals.

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