Nutritional Yeast Vs. Whey Protein Powder

Nutritional yeast and whey protein powder are both food supplements intended to boost overall nutrition, round out your diet and help you reach health goals. Each has a set of specific nutritional properties and purposes, so before you begin using either, it’s smart to learn more about what they offer and how they compare.

Nutrition Facts

A standard scoop of whey protein powder is about 30 grams, which is equivalent to approximately 1/4 cup. That amount of powder has about 110 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbohydrates, no fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 23 grams of protein and 35 milligrams of cholesterol. A standard serving of nutritional yeast is between 1 1/2 and 2 tablespoons, which is about 15 grams. However, it’s more accurate to double that amount for comparison to whey protein powder. A 30 gram scoop of nutritional yeast has about 140 calories, 2 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, no sugar, 16 grams of protein and no cholesterol.


The nutrient breakdowns of whey protein and nutritional yeast are quite different. Protein powder, for example, gets more than 80 percent of its calories from protein, with a very small percentage coming from carbohydrates and about 15 percent coming from fat. Nutritional yeast has a more even breakdown; it gets approximately 50 percent of its calories from protein, 37 percent from carbohydrates and 13 percent from fat.


Whey protein powder is commonly packaged and sold as a muscle-building supplement. While it does not build lean muscle mass by itself, the low-fat protein it contains can work in conjunction with a strength training program to encourage growth, repair and development of lean muscle mass, according to the 2013 issue of "Journal of the American College of Nutrition." Nutritional yeast provides nearly as much protein per serving as whey, but is far richer in dietary fiber and B vitamins 1. Fiber is essential for promoting digestive and bowel health, and B vitamins may work to protect against heart disease, cancer and birth defects, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.


While both nutritional yeast and whey protein powder can have positive functions in a healthy diet, it’s important to be cautious about the types you choose and how you use them. When they are packaged and sold as dietary supplements, the products are not subject to the same health regulations as those of whole foods, according to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Additionally, your regular diet may already meet nutritional needs without having to rely on supplements, so always check with your doctor before making any new item a fixture in your eating plan. If you have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance you should avoid any whey protein powder, according to Food Allergy Research and Education 4.