What Is Tofu Made From, and Is It Healthy ?


Quick Answer

Health experts generally debate the benefits and risks of eating tofu, a protein-rich ingredient made from soy. Eating a diet rich in soy products such as tofu may minimize some health risks, although eating genetically modified soy products may increase health risks such as food allergies, according to Bon Appetit.

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Full Answer

To make tofu, manufacturers first grind soybeans with water, heat them and separate the liquid soymilk from the solids. As the soymilk is stirred, the manufacturer adds a coagulant and stirs the mixture until curds form. The mixture goes into a special forming box to press the liquid out. At the end of the process, a block of tofu is created. The amount of coagulants and water added to the mixture during the process creates the texture of the tofu, which comes in several varieties including extra-firm, firm, soft and silken.

Although tofu typically is used as a meat alternative, it can also substitute for dairy, eggs or mayonnaise. Tofu typically has fewer calories and less fat than many types of meat, including beef and pork, although it does have more fat than chicken. Prevention compared tofu side by side to roasted skinless chicken and found that tofu has less protein, phosphorus, niacin and potassium than chicken. It does however, have zero cholesterol, and it has more fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc than chicken.

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