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Is Tofu Keto: The Verdict

Is Tofu keto? Sometimes known as bean curd, this is a popular food that originated in China. It is made via a process that is similar to making cheese from milk.

For a start, soymilk is first condensed or curdled and then it is pressed to form solid or gelatinous white to cream blocks. The tofu produced in this way is very rich in protein and this is one reason why it is popular among vegetarians. The consistency of the tofu usually depends on how much water is pressed out of it during the production process. For example, the soft, firm and extra firm tofu are different varieties of tofu that are available.

Since tofu is made from soybeans that has been subjected to a manufacturing process, the end product is usually a low-carb food that may be included on keto. However, based on the consistency of the tofu, the carb count may be decreased or increased slightly. This article discusses the important health benefits of tofu on keto and reasons why this soybean derivative may not be used on keto.

Macronutrients in Tofu

The following are the macronutrients contained in a 100-gram serving of tofu:

Carbohydrates – 2 grams

Proteins – 8 grams

Fiber – 1 gram

Fat – 4 gram

Other important nutrients in tofu include manganese, phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium, folate, calcium and copper.

Health Benefits of Tofu on Keto

1) May Promote Weight Loss: Weight loss is one of the reasons why many people have started the keto diet. Consuming foods that generally have low-carb content and are low in calories are usually encouraged to be the main focus of anyone who is trying to achieve weight loss. Tofu meets these requirements as it is not a calorie-dense food. In fact, the high protein in tofu has also been shown to be beneficial for keto. Proteins can help promote fullness and stop hunger cravings. It is able to achieve this by reducing ghrelin levels, the hormone that stimulates the feeling of hunger. Thus, when tofu is incorporated with other low-carb meals while on keto, weight loss can be achieved. Tofu also contains a gram of fiber in every 100-grams. This fiber may also contribute to its ability to promote less craving for food.

2) Contains Proteins that help Build the Body: Proteins have been associated with increasing the rate of metabolism as well as for building lean muscle. While consumption of tofu is important for weight loss, it is also important to build up muscle. The proteins in tofu can help in this regard by building up muscle and strengthening the bones thanks to its rich calcium content.

3) May Help Reduce Blood Sugar Levels: One of the factors to consider when choosing foods to include on keto is whether or not they would cause blood sugar levels and insulin to rise. Tofu contains compounds that work to maintain blood sugar and insulin levels. Its low carbohydrate content may be responsible for this action as glucose from carbohydrates has been shown to raise blood glucose levels. This also makes it a good addition for diabetics who are on the ketogenic diet.

The Different Types Of Tofu

Tofu is generally differentiated based on its consistency into soft, firm and extra firm. There are also several other types including the silken and regular or non-silken tofu.

  1. Soft Tofu: This is popularly used in salad dressing and dip recipes and it contains only 2 grams of carbohydrates in a 100-gram serving. It has more water content than some of the other tofu varieties, hence its name. During the preparation process, this type of tofu is pressed for a little time and has a rough texture.
  • Firm Tofu: The firm tofu contains only 2.3 grams of carbohydrates in a 100-gram serving. Despite having a slightly higher amount of carbs than the soft tofu, the firm tofu may still be used on keto. The only difference between the soft and firm tofu is that the firm tofu contains less water than the soft tofu.
  • Extra-firm tofu: This form of tofu contains the most amount of carbohydrates (2.6 grams per 100-gram serving). Unlike the other forms of tofu, it can be easily cut into cubes.
  • Silken Tofu: It is a Japanese style tofu that is not pressed and has the highest quantity of water. It even contains lower carb content than all other forms of tofu. The carbs in the silken tofu per 100 grams are only 1.4 grams.

It is important to point out that although some forms of tofu contain higher carbs than others, they all may be included on the keto diet. However, to stick with the keto diet, the tofu with the lowest carb content, that is, silken tofu is highly recommended. The other forms of tofu may be included on keto but in moderate quantities to get the best result from a low-carb diet.

Reasons Why You May Need to Avoid Tofu on Keto

Although popular among vegetarians, there have been so many controversies regarding the use of tofu on keto.

  1. Genetically Modified Soybeans: As already mentioned, tofu is made from soybeans. The soybeans may be processed and genetically modified and it may be very difficult to differentiate tofu made genetically modified soybeans from those that are not. The reason why these should be avoided is that it reduces the health benefits of tofu and this may make it unsuitable for use on keto.
  • Certain Compound in Tofu May Cause Weight Gain: Although tofu has been linked to weight loss, it contains certain compounds that may reduce its weight reducing properties. For example, these compounds may cause overproduction of estrogen which can, in turn, stop the process of burning fat and instead trigger weight gain.
  • Different Brands of Tofu: Although tofu is considered a low-carb, high-fat food, different brands may produce tofu with added ingredients that may compromise its use on keto. It is thus important to check the ingredients label to ensure that one purchases the highest quality tofu with no added ingredients that can halt ketosis.

Conclusion– Is Tofu Keto

From the macronutrients in tofu, it is clear that it can be included on keto. It not only has a low-carb count in all the different varieties but it is also a low-calorie food. It is also a good source of proteins and essential amino acids that the body needs to carry out its daily functions. While all the forms of tofu are keto-friendly, the variety that is the best for keto is the Japanese silken tofu since it is the one with the lowest carb content. Tofu is also packed with nutrients and other compounds that can promote weight loss and help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. Despite its advantages for keto, it has also been shown to cause serious health issues that limit its use on keto. Weight gain is just one of such risks and those who want to use the keto diet for weight loss should be cautious. To get the best from tofu while on keto, it may be necessary to make tofu at home instead of purchasing it from a store. If it must be purchased commercially, it is best to check the label to make sure that they do not contain ingredients that are not keto-friendly.

Michael Jessimy
Michael Jessimy is a qualified Pharmacist with over 10 years experience dealing with a range of both prescription and alternative remedies. He is also an amateur heavyweight bodybuilder and loves spending his spare time hitting the gym. He strives to help others build the best body possible through fitness, health and nutrition consultation and has several published books under his name.