Many vegans tend to shy away from the keto diet because they think it’s impossible to make it work without being able to eat a ton of meat. The good news is that nothing could be further from the truth. There are all kinds of excellent options for plant-based protein sources, tofu being a great example. But is tofu keto? Let’s take an in-depth look in order to find out.
What Makes Tofu a Popular Choice for Low Carb Diets?
Tofu has been an incredibly popular protein-source for many people on low carb diet plans. Here are a few of the main reasons why:
- Tofu is low in calories and contains next to nothing as far as net carbs go.
- Tofu rovides plenty of plant-based protein per serving.
- Tofu also contains modest amounts of dietary fat.
- Tofu is an excellent plant-based option for low carb and vegan dieters alike.
- Tofu can be used to make a wide variety of tasty keto recipes.
Is Tofu Keto?
Answering the question of whether or not tofu is keto-friendly isn’t quite as straightforward as one might think.
What that means is that although at first glance, the macros found in tofu seem like they’re rather keto-friendly (see below), there is more to this story than meets the eye.
Since tofu is made from soybeans, the fact is that it does contain a rather high concentration of both xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens. Excess amounts of both of these compounds can affect your body’s hormone levels by preventing it from producing real estrogen. (1)
With that being said though, tofu can indeed be considered keto-friendly, under the following circumstances:
- You’re keeping track of your daily macro counts and not going overboard with net carbs.
- You’re following either a vegetarian or vegan-friendly version of the keto diet.
- You’re looking to increase estrogen levels, in which case a diet high in estrogenic foods like tofu can help.
In the end, as with most types of food, moderation is the key to being able to enjoy tofu while on the ketogenic diet.
Good Keto Tofu Recipes
Tofu Nutrition Facts
Have you ever wondered how tofu breaks down as far as its nutritional content goes? Here is exactly what a 100 gram serving size of tofu can provide you with:
- 76 calories
- 4.8 grams fat
- 8 grams protein
- 1.9 grams carbs
- 0.3 grams dietary fiber
- 0 grams sugar
- 0 mg cholesterol
- 7 mg sodium
- 121 mg potassium
Tofu Health Benefits
Tofu wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as it is if it didn’t provide you with some excellent health benefits in its own right. Here are three of the top benefits it can provide you with:
- Contains all nine amino acids. On top of being an excellent source of vegan-friendly protein, tofu also happens to contain all nine essential amino acids. These essential acids play a role in just about every major bodily function, from muscle growth and repair to providing you with energy to carry you throughout the day.
- Relieves inflammation in the body. Tofu is a good source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to protect against various types of chronic inflammatory diseases. In fact, one particular study found that consuming tofu (and other dietary soy sources) helped to improve inflammatory markers in a test group of Chinese women. (2)
- May help to protect against heart disease. Those same antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds mentioned above may be especially useful in helping to prevent heart disease. The American Heart Association has even published a study that found that eating at least one serving of tofu per week was linked to an 18% reduced risk of developing heart disease. (3)
Keto Tofu Alternatives
Considering that a lot of people enjoy tofu because it’s both keto-friendly and vegan-friendly, here are a few ideas for options that you can substitute tofu with that are also keto and vegan-friendly:
(Learn more: Is Soy Sauce Keto?)