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Is tofu good for weight loss?

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Tofu is beancurd that is rich in protein while being low in calories and fat. The plant based protein provides health benefits such as weight loss because tofu contains essential amino acids and wholesome nutrition that makes you feel full for longer. 

Is tofu good for weight loss? Yes, tofu is good for weight loss because the plant based protein takes longer for your body to digest and metabolize. 

Since your body processes the food for longer, then you feel satiated longer than after consuming simple carbohydrates. The reduction of hunger cravings will prevent unnecessary snacking that increases calorie intake above daily output.

This article discusses how tofu helps with weight loss. Answered below are frequently asked questions about eating tofu for weight loss and the best ways to lose weight with tofu.

Tofu for weight loss

Tofu is most commonly consumed by vegans and vegetarians. In the US, most soy is genetically engineered, but you can find non-GMO and organic tofu if you prefer. 

There are two main types of tofu, but six total levels to differentiate firmness:

  • Firm tofu 
  • Soft tofu

Tofu texture is determined by the amount of water left in the block after pressing. Silken tofu is less nutritious than firm tofu because the coagulated beancurd is less dense.

Is tofu healthy for weight loss?

Since tofu is made out of soybean curds, which is gluten-free, low fat and high in protein. It is a very low carbohydrate food, which can make it a great addition to a low carb diet that is often touted for weight loss. [1, 2, 3]

In addition to having high protein, tofu also contains nutrients such as calcium and iron. Eating tofu instead of fatty meats can help with weight loss because the high protein content keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

Replacing certain meats with tofu can help reduce triglycerides and unhealthy cholesterol levels. [4, 5]

If you struggle with weight loss, consult your doctor about changes to your diet and see if tofu is a good protein source for you. 

There are various ways that tofu helps in weight loss:

  1. Contains high protein content that curbs appetite. Eating protein rich foods allows you to feel more full for longer, which helps you eat less food over time. As a result, it is able to suppress overeating and helps weight management. [6]
  2. Helps reduce weight gain during menopause in older women. According to recent research, eating less than 40g of soy per day helps to reduce the amount of fat older women carry in the midsection. 

    This is due to the fact that hormonal changes during menopause typically cause women to gain weight. Soy contains something called isoflavones, which bind to estrogen and helps to stabilize hormone levels to help reduce the symptoms of menopause weight gain. [7]
  3. Since tofu is rich in protein, it can help you eat fewer carbohydrates and control glucose levels. Eating too much carbohydrate-rich foods can cause weight gain, and replacing them with protein-rich foods like tofu may contribute to weight loss.

    Tofu also helps to improve the body’s response to insulin and its ability to regulate glucose levels and thus leads to weight loss. [8]
  4. Helps to reduce weight gain in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. According to research published by the Human Nutrition and Dietetics journal, women who have PCOS can lose weight by reducing animal proteins and increasing plant proteins in the diet.

    During the study, women who replaced 30 percent of their protein from animals with soy protein such as tofu experienced significant weight loss. [9]
  5. It helps with obesity prevention and treatment. According to recent research, peptides found in tofu are associated with the prevention and treatment of obesity.

    These peptides reduce the breakdown of something called stereo regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) ,which helps reduce the synthesis of fatty acids and their depositing in fat cells. Fermented tofu has a higher amount of these bioactive peptide concentration than regular tofu, and these may be used in the management of obesity. [10, 11]

Tofu nutrition

Tofu is made of high-quality proteins that is considered healthy for weight loss. It is cholesterol-free and has an extremely low fat content. 

When it comes to nutritional value, a 3oz or 85g serving of firm tofu has: [12]

  • 70 calories 
  • 4g of fat
  • 2g of carbohydrate
  • 65g of magnesium
  • 421mg of calcium
  • 3mg of iron
  • 282mg of phosphorous

In addition to the above nutrients, tofu also contains antioxidants that help boost immunity. It has selenium, manganese and small quantities of vitamins such as vitamin B6, riboflavin, choline, and thiamin, nutrients that are all beneficial to the human body. 

The beancurd also contains saponins that aid with heart protection, and omega-3 fatty acids that offer numerous health benefits.

Best time to eat tofu for weight loss

The best time to eat tofu is in the morning. Plant proteins take longer for your body to metabolize, therefore it help you to feel fuller for extended amounts of time.

If you eat tofu in the evening, then your body slows its metabolism while sleeping and that may cause indigestion. 

Tofu is a versatile protein that can be prepared in a variety of ways and different meal types. It can be prepared like scrambled eggs in the morning, and eaten for breakfast, or stir fried with rice or noodles. 

It can be crisped or grilled and eaten as a snack, or included in sandwiches and tossed on a salad. For heartier vegan or vegetarian meals, tofu can be used in soup, pot pies, or used as a substitute for paneer or cottage cheese in Indian cuisine.

How much weight can you lose with tofu? The USDA suggests ¼ cup as a healthy serving of tofu, and some nutritionists recommend one to two servings per day. [13]

The optimal amount of tofu to add in your diet depends on the type of diet you follow. If you are vegan or vegetarian and eat tofu as a main source of protein, then you may need to eat one to two servings per day.

Is tofu good for weight loss at night?

Tofu can help with weight loss regardless of the time of day that you consume it. However, eating tofu at night may be good for weight loss because it curbs feelings of hunger, but it might lead to digestive issues.

Tofu is high in protein, and your body requires more energy to digest and absorb proteins. However, your body isn’t metabolizing food at peak performance during the nighttime.

Therefore, eating the plant protein can cause your body to work harder and burn additional calories while digesting, which leads to additional weight loss and potential for indigestion. [14, 15]

Tofu good for weight loss

Tofu for Weight Loss: Conclusion

The results seem conclusive that tofu can be good for weight loss when consumed in moderation.  It helps you control your appetite since it makes you feel full with fewer calories for longer duration of time. 

There are a lot of ways to incorporate tofu into your diet. Use it as a substitute for cheese in salads, toasted in a sandwich, added to a fruit smoothie, grilled alongside healthy vegetables or added into broths and soups to make them more filling

Tofu can be eaten on a low carbohydrate diet, which can further aid with weight loss. It contains antioxidants, essential amino acids, and other nutrients needed in a healthy and balanced diet. 

If you are considering to incorporate tofu into your weight loss diet plan, then consult a physician or dietician to get specific recommendations for your body and lifestyle.

In the end, weight loss is a result of calorie input versus output on a daily basis. If you are at a calorie deficit for a long enough timeframe, you will lose weight, and tofu is a superfood that can help accomplish that goal.

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