Yeast Extract

I shake my tiny fist at Whole Foods.

MSG is nasty nasty stuff that gives me a headache.  I hate it.  I can always tell when I’ve ingested it because the headache is pretty distinctive… similar to both a pressure headache and a dehydration headache but not quite the same as either.

We went to Whole Foods and got a whole bunch of wheat-free junk food, including some nummy cheese flavored nuts.

Nummy, addictive cheese flavored nuts.

That gave me a nasty headache.  At a time I had to stay at work for several hours.


So, looked at the label.  Yeast Extract strikes again.  The “healthy food” version of MSG to fool people who are checking the labels for MSG.  I hate it when we forget to check for that.  We’re good about not buying the few fru-fru products our local grocery store offers that have it, but totes forgot to check when we looked at the ingredients at WF.  For shame, Whole Foods.  For shame, addictively nummy nut company.  I could eat your damn nuts if they didn’t have that yeast extract crap in them.  Luckily we also got some equally nummy but not-headache-inducing imported nut mixes from Spain (now labeled “Mine” rather than “Ours”).  You don’t need MSG to be nummy, just to be addictive and to give me headaches.  Grrr.

Note:  #2 loves MSG and is totes unaffected by it.  Lucky her.

Do you ever screw up when you buy food?

46 Responses to “Yeast Extract”

  1. Leah Says:

    I am blessed not to be overtly allergic to anything, but I do have a strong tummy aversion to cayenne powder or chili powder (not sure which, and I suppose a strong tummy aversion may very well be some sort of allergy). Thankfully, since they’re spicy, I get clued in pretty fast if I take a bite.

    I do feel for you re: labels. I’ve taught summer camp and school programs enough that I am an ace in reading labels. I do often put something in the cart, and then I’ll check a label on something obvious and then remember to check all the labels. This sometimes results in putting items back. But I’ve usually figured it out before checkout or been able to make sure not to give the item to the particular kid who can’t have that ingredient.

  2. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    I have a dairy intolerance or allergy or something. Sometimes I have bought “lactose-free” products without checking the label (and I know better!), and wound up feeling rotten because they have casein (the other milk protein) in them.

    • darchole Says:

      If it’s casein you have a problem with it’s probably an allergy. If it’s lactose, then it’s probably an intolerance (inability to digest food rather than an inappropriate immune response). If it’s both, then I have no idea which is more likely. A lot of foods that say lactose free actually contain some type of milk product.

      I’m lactose intolerant, which really means I have a limit on the ability to digest it, not a total inability. So some lactose is OK, like cheese. Which really just confuses the h*ll out of people when I say I’m intolerant but still eat cheese. Lactaid also helps if I blow over my limit (usually on purpose, I’m looking at you, Granite City reggiano hash browns).

  3. Debbie M Says:

    I also am lucky to have no known allergies or intolerances, yet I am also so glad for labels. They do not have to have everything (such as whether anything’s genetically modified), but I love that they have to list (almost) all the ingredients (not individual spices or individual natural flavorings, apparently) and they have to list them in a certain order. Companies still try to get around it by using unfamiliar words when familiar ones exist and, I am convinced, by doing things like using several kinds of sugar so that none of them have to be first. I especially love that they have to say if oils are hydrogenated (even if there is so little of these oils per “serving” that the front of the package can claim there aren’t any), and that they have to put several overall nutritional things on there (such as calories, grams of sugar, and grams of fiber). Yes, ideally we wouldn’t have to look at them (where do people get these ideas?), but at least we can.

    You can trust Whole Foods on a lot of things, but not everything. (My problem is that I want whole grains–“Whole” Foods doesn’t care about that.) But what store could do everything in these crazy times? Labeling is our friend.

  4. Cloud Says:

    I wish other products had to list ingredients like food does! I once got a terrible rash that I eventually tracked to either the new brand of laundry detergent or the new brand of dryer sheets I’d bought. (This was grad school, when I bought whatever was cheapest/on sale.) I would have LOVED to try to figure out what ingredient caused the problem. Instead, I just stopped using dryer sheets altogether and became obsessively loyal to my brand of laundry detergent.

    • becca Says:

      Dryer sheets are kind of environmentally terrible, and technically not healthy for anyone (I doubt they want to list their ingredients). You can always post-hoc rationalize and feel virtuous and healthy about not using them!

      • Cloud Says:

        Yes, but back when I used them, I never went to put on a pair of underwear only to find a sock I’d presumed lost stuck to them. So there’s that.

        Of course, now we have a clothesline, so this is less of a problem.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        #2 is allergic to dryer sheets. Vinegar makes an ok fabric softener in the wash. Fabric softener just leaves deposits of crap on your fabrics in order to get that effect, and makes towels less absorbent. It is evil.

  5. rented life Says:

    Milk. I know there’s no proof about rbST but I immediately taste and smell a difference. Makes me feel a little ill. We’re pretty good about it most of the time, but once in awhile a small jug ends up here.

    We’ve also accidently bought “fat free” which we try to avoid (replace fat with salt? and fakey flavor? No thanks.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      With the insulin thing I’m totally with you on fat! Because fat balances out sugar and fat is replaced with sugar in a lot of things. So only high quality premium ice cream at Casa Grumpy.

      It makes me sad when the frozen yogurt places here get rid of their fat options and only have the fat-free options. It doesn’t taste as good and I can’t have it. :(

      • rented life Says:

        It REALLY doesn’t taste as good. If we accidently buy something like that we try to find someone we can give it to (usually MIL who thinks it’s “heathier”–my parents know better) because no one wants to eat it. I make my own ice cream :)

  6. bogart Says:

    Oh no! I am sorry.

    We’re pretty food-issue free in my household (touch wood). I have definitely bought fat free stuff I didn’t mean to and/or accidentally bought, e.g., lime-flavored Pepsi (WTHeck?) for DH when I wanted the regular stuff.

    Conveniently DS’s preschool has him bringing lunch and/or contributing to potlucks so I can usually get rid of erroneously purchased low-fat stuff (e.g. yogurt, I am not talking junk food!) that way. They prefer/require low or no fat whereas we steer clear of it at home.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We will often get rid of things via the food-bank. I wish they took glass containers though!

      • bogart Says:

        Ooh, good point, that’s an option I tend to forget about unless I’m focusing on it (major pantry cleanout)

    • Debbie M Says:

      I like the fat-free milk, yogurt, and sour cream and low-fat cream cheese and ice cream. (I actually don’t like the taste of fatty milk–tastes like they reconstituted it from powder and put in too much powder. As a friend of mine once said at a beer tasting party: “I like it. It tastes like water. I like water.”) But I generally put all the fat back with too much cheese on top (or, for ice cream, peanuts). (Exceptions: chocolate milk made with skim milk, sugar, and cocoa–though I often am using it to wash down fish oil pills. And ice cream topped with chocolate syrup made from sugar, cocoa, and water but no peanuts.)

      Sugar-free, not so much. I have to keep reminding my boyfriend that “sugar-free” does not mean “unsweetened,” which is what he really wants.

      And fat-free baked goods or chips? Yeah, I don’t like real food replaced with other stuff. Now if you’re making your own baked goods with applesauce or squash or carrots or whatever instead of some or all of the fat or sugar, that’s awesome if it still tastes good. (Carrot cake.)

  7. Linda Says:

    I was tested for food sensitivities a few years ago and came up as highly sensitive to cow dairy products and pineapple. It’s easy enough to avoid those ingredients, although it does mean that most cheese I encounter when I’m eating out is on the “avoid” list. (And since I don’t have any over top the reactions like severe headaches, hives, etc. when I do eat cow cheese on, say, a pizza, I will do so occasionally.) Ice cream and frozen yogurt is also on my “avoid” list, but I’ve never been much into ice cream. (Unlike cheese. I *llooooovvvveeee* cheese.)

    Like Debbie M, however, I do read labels on anything processed I buy. I try to avoid/severely limit my intake of soy (because it is highly goitrogenic and I am already hypothyroid), hydrogenated oils, and sugars/sweeteners. Since pretty much anything processed or prepared has at least one of those items in it, that means I don’t eat a lot of processed foods. At least foods in the grocery stores have labels. Eating out at restaurants is a huge gamble, unless one always go to finer dining establishments that disclose their ingredients as a selling point.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Ha, I just assume that all restaurant food sucks (with those few exceptions). But I go to them anyway. It’s part of why I won’t bring hydrogenated oils into the house. I get plenty elsewhere, I’m sure.

  8. chacha1 Says:

    I avoid soy, HFCS and other artificial sugars, MSG, and trans fats. Thanks for the heads-up on yeast extract, never heard of it. I try to avoid artificial nitrites/nitrates; fortunately there is a growing supply of “uncured” cured meats, but just a little bacon/prosciutto goes a long way! All purely due to preference … I have no known sensitivities (very insensitive in fact). :-)

    This means I can eat pretty much all foods in their natural state. Also all fermented foods. No bottled “teas,” sports drinks, or sodas; no snacks that come packed in plastic or mylar; we very rarely buy chips, crackers, or cookies; I buy bread, which we don’t eat a lot of, mostly from a local bakery.

    And when I say I eat “no” snacks etc I mean it’s extremely uncommon to the point of being insignificant in my diet. I know people who eat “healthy” but who think nothing of having, e.g., the plastic-wrapped vegan cookie, at 230+ calories, every afternoon.

    I routinely buy pasta sauce, chili beans, tomato paste, Grillin’ Beans (love those things despite the massive amounts of sugar!), pineapple snack cups (in juice), no-sugar-added blueberry apple sauce, 2% milk, half-and-half, low-fat cottage cheese, various yogurts, a galaxy of cheeses. Those are my staples of prepared foods. Also red/purple/black rice and the very occasional box of noodles, and a little too much high-quality dark chocolate. I buy organic when I can.

    If I ever lost my dairy-ability, I would be a very, very sad girl.

  9. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    I feel like I’m turning into one of those old men academics always talking about his hernia or foot fungus. (Note: I have neither, yet… but my body, she is fragile!)

  10. becca Says:

    The yeast thing (or “autolyzed yeast extract”) ticks me off, cause my Dad is allergic to MSG and I’ve bought things for him that he can’t eat because of the yeast trickery.
    I’m terribly susceptible to the addictive qualities of MSG, so even though I don’t have any specific allergy, I try to avoid it because I will INHALE any food containing it, in a sick sad way. I keep trying to get the SO to abandon the Ramen flavor packets because of this, but I only have minimal luck.

    Yogurt is incredibly challenging to buy, and I always try to check the labels. Sometimes I want nonfat (yogurt for my lunch), sometimes I won’t get nonfat (yogurt for toddler). I don’t want gelatin, but I’ll tolerate Kosher gelatin depending on my mood. I don’t want high fructose corn syrup, and I don’t want artificial sweetener. Do you know how many zillions of yogurts there are, and how few match my requirements? I shake my tiny fist at that!

    Pet labeling peeve: not telling me where your rennet is from in your cheese. I want GMO rennet, thankyouverymuch, NOT animal rennet (because, really, ewwww).

    Biggest labeling happiness: that they finally required trans fats to be listed. I’ve avoided those ever since a biochem class where we talked about how they are metabolized. There are a lot of things with small amounts of hydrogenated oils that have 0g/serving, that are worth eating as a treat. And, moreover, they’ve taken a lot of hydrogenated oils out of things now that they have to list the trans fats.

    • chacha1 Says:

      LOL at yogurt rage. There’s a lot of candy masquerading as yogurt. I have moved entirely to Greek-style yogurt (almost always plain, sometimes honey or vanilla) and don’t buy anything made with any kind of starch (such as tapioca) or gelatin. Which brand-wise limits me to Chobani and Open Nature, for the most part.

      I don’t buy fruity yogurts anymore b/c of the added sugar. When I first started eating yogurt it was Yoplait Custard Style. It took a while to cycle my palate down to plain but now the sweet ones just taste disgusting.

    • Liz Says:

      oh my gosh, I am so frustrated by the amount of time I will never get back that has been spent in the yogurt aisle trying to figure out which kind I want. And just when I think I’ve found a type that has/doesn’t have what I want in it, my grocery store seems to discontinue it

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We get full fat (sometimes cream on top) Stonyfield farm, plain (not vanilla). That seems to satisfy all my messed up requirements.

        Nummy with apple butter or fruit or oatmeal or instead of milk with cereal.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, for the vegetarian partner I won’t buy cheese with rennet unless it is specifically labeled “vegetarian rennet”. Although he has probably accidentally eaten animal rennet at some point. Me, I eat it all. Nom nom nomcheese!

  11. julier Says:

    I try to keep my sodium intake fairly low (i.e. at the FDA’s recommended 2300 mg per day) because of my history with pregnancy induced hypertension and preeclampsia. It’s harder than I imagined. There are foods like bacon and cheese and canned soup that are obviously high salt foods, but there are large amounts of sodium in some unexpected places. For example, bread, salt, and ketchup are all high sodium foods.

  12. MutantSupermodel Says:

    “I could eat your damn nuts if they didn’t have that yeast extract crap in them”



  13. Rumpus Says:

    I like bison. We should regulate more food like that.

    Worker: “Can I put this in the ground bison mix?”
    Inspector: “What do you have there”?
    Worker: “Bones and whatnot…maybe some hay.”
    Inspector: “No.”
    Worker: “It’s a lot like meat.”
    Inspector: “No.”
    Worker: “Everyone else is doing it.”
    Inspector: “No.”
    Worker: “Tell you what, I’ll only put in up to 20% by volume.”
    Inspector: “Seriously, dude, no.”
    Worker: “Fine, 20% by weight.”
    Inspector: “No. Listen to me…bison meat.”
    Worker: “Do you have any idea how hard it is to get bison? We basically extinct-ified them for fun and profit. Furthermore, they weigh like two thousand pounds, run at least 35 mph, and they have a six foot vertical jump! Trying to keep them fenced up is like my granny trying to stop a pro-football blitz. We’re just lucky they haven’t stumbled on a marshmallow factory yet [1].”
    Inspector: “Bison meat, and only bison meat.”
    Worker: “That’s so limiting, not to mention expensive. I could make twice the profit if I just threw some extra gristle in there.”
    Inspector: “No.”
    Worker: “How about this can of yeast extract?”
    Inspector: “Gawd no.”
    Worker: “Well is it at least ok if the meat and filler that I’m putting into these pork sausages come from cannibal pigs [2].”
    Inspector: “As long as no one else finds out.”
    Worker: “No problem. Last guy that found out slept with the pigs.”

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