Is Tofu Keto? The Low Carb Guide
Is tofu keto? Yes, tofu is keto friendly. Tofu contains approximately 2g carbs per 100g. Tofu is a soy by-product that has low levels of carbs and also provides adequate levels of protein.
The fact that tofu is low carb means that it is keto friendly (providing it fits in your carb allowance). It is great for a vegetarian keto diet. Tofu is highly versatile and quickly absorbs flavors to suit a huge variety of dishes (link).
Tofu originated in Asia and has become famous all over the world. It has been consumed in Japan for more than 2000 years. It is made using soybeans, making it rich in protein. Usually, the beans are soaked, husks removed, cooked and converted into liquid form. After coagulation, the liquid becomes more robust and turns into tofu. The product has over the years become very popular with many specialized diets, especially ketogenic diets, since its low carb, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
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What Is Keto?
Keto is an extremely low carb, high fat, and adequate protein diet that helps the body to burn fat effectively. The main focus of a ketogenic diet is to transform and keep your body in a state of ketosis. Usually, your body burns carbohydrates for energy. However, when you limit the amount of carbs and eat adequate amounts of protein in your diet the body breaks down stored fat and the liver produces ketones. It then uses ketones for fuel.
As you continue with your keto diet, your whole body changes its fuel supply from carbohydrates and runs on burning fat. As your insulin levels dip, the fat burning process increases at an incredibly fast rate. This way, you will be able to lose weight and gain benefits from the process, including decreased hunger and acquiring a steady supply of energy. Generally, to be in a state of ketosis, you must keep your carb intake less than 50g net carbs every day, ideally under 20g for the best results.
(What Is It Made From? Are The Ingredients Keto?)
A typical serving contains 3.3g of fats, 7g of protein, 2g of carbs, along with 0.25g of fiber.
Disclaimer: Ensure that you check the label of the tofu carefully, some brands contain three times more net carbs.
The carbohydrate content is considered very low, and with 7g protein it is perfect for helping to achieve ketosis. Though the fiber content in tofu is really tiny, adding tofu to a balanced diet can contribute to your weight loss goals as fiber helps you feel fuller for longer. Other additional benefits of fiber in tofu include prevention of hemorrhoids and constipation by helping you maintain a healthy digestive system and help to regulate your sugar levels. The recommended fiber content for keto is around 20 - 30g daily.
Tofu is available in different varieties such as firm, extra-firm, super firm, and silken. These types vary in terms of consistency and level of water content. The less firm varieties such as silken and soft tend to have fewer carbs, fats, calories, and proteins compared to much firmer types.
Type of Tofu
Carbs Per 100g
1. Silken Tofu
Carb Content - A 100g serving contains 1.4g of carbs
This Japanese style is smoother and creamier compared to other varieties of tofu. This type of tofu has the highest water content. It's generally a great alternative to dairy products, especially for desserts. Since it's smooth and creamy, you can blend it into smoothies or mix with honey and eat it with fruits. You can also combine it with chopped spicy herbs and enjoy as a dip. Try out the tasty low carb pudding recipe which is also a great option to incorporate into your ketogenic diet using silken tofu. It only has 2.5g of carbs per serving.
Instant Low Carb Tofu Pudding Recipe - (link)
2. Firm Tofu
Carb Content - A 100g serving contains 2.3g of carbs
As the name implies it has a firmer consistency than silken. This type of tofu can be sliced into cubes and marinated or seasoned as it absorbs many flavors. Don't be shy of being creative when using it as a replacement for other protein types. Have fun making delicious crispy buffalo bites. This fantastic recipe will leave you wanting more. Ensure that you always drain and press the firm tofu before baking so that it can absorb as many flavors as possible. Baking the bean curd will give you a much better meat-like texture.
Crispy Buffalo Bites Recipe - (link)
3. Extra Firm
Carb Content - A 100g serving contains 2.6g of carbs
It has similar properties to those of firm tofu and holds its shape quite well. This is because it has higher levels of protein and less water compared to the softer varieties. You can cut it into cubes or slices. You may stir fry, deep fry, pan-fry, grill or bake it. If you decide to go the baking way, use this incredible crisp baked tofu recipe to help you keep your low carb diet in check.
Perfectly Crisp Baked Tofu - (link)
4. Soft Tofu
Carb Content - A 100g serving contains 2g of carbs
The texture of this tofu is similar to cheese. It's more like silken tofu and can be used equivalently. Soft tofu is less consistent compared to firm, and you can easily crumble it into soups, salads and even make scrambled tofu.
Tofu Sesame Sauce Recipe - (link)
5. Super Firm Tofu
Carb Content - A 100g serving contains 2.6g of carbs
Super firm tofu has the highest protein content as compared to other varieties of tofu. The reason is that it has the lowest water content and is easy to slice into well-shaped cubes. It tends to dry out much quicker when grilling or baking. Slice the tofu into slices and make baked sesame tofu cubes to delight your taste buds.
Baked Sesame Tofu Cubes - (link)
Comparison To Other Foods
Carbs Per 100g
Beef: A 100g serving contains 0g of carbs
Ham: A 100g serving contains 1.5g of carbs
Chicken: A 100g serving contains 0g of carbs
Pork: A 100g serving contains 0g of carbs
Meat contains few carbohydrates, making it a healthy and rich source of protein. 100g of beef has 26g of proteins which is much higher than the 8g from a similar tofu serving.
However, meat contains a considerable amount of fat which leads to an increase in calories. Tofu is low in calories compared to beef.
Each 100 calorie serving of meat has 8.9g proteins compared to 11g from a 100 calorie tofu serving.
A 100g serving contains 1.3g of carbs
This is noticeably lower than tofu which has 1.9g of carbs on average.
For every 100 calories of cheese, your body gets 6.2g of proteins which is much lower compared to the 11g in tofu. This makes tofu a much healthier source of proteins compared to cheese.
A 100g serving contains 1.1g of carbs
Eggs offer a great source of protein which are quick and easy to prepare. A medium egg (40g, 1.4oz) contains around 6g of proteins, in a 40g block of tofu there is around 7g. One egg contains 5.5g of fat and up to 187 milligrams of cholesterol. Tofu is cholesterol-free.
A 100g serving contains 5g of carbs
Milk is rich in proteins, calcium, and other nutrients such as fat, and minerals. A 1/3 cup of milk weighing at around 100g has 5.1g of protein compared to 11g in tofu.
Benefits Of Eating Tofu For Weight Loss
Isoflavones are plant compounds produced by soybeans and are present in tofu. These soy proteins help in curbing hunger. While scientists are still figuring out all the effects that isoflavones have on individuals, their consumption is beneficial especially when trying to cut down on weight and reduce BMI.
Improves Glucose Control
Scientists have discovered that isoflavones play a significant role in regulating body cells’ insulin resistant. Reducing this resistance allows for better glucose regulation within the body and as a result reducing the amount of fat that is stored. Researchers reviewing the antiobesity mechanisms of isoflavones concluded that improved insulin response was one of the main ways that soy proteins aid in weight loss.
Low Calorie Option
Tofu is considered to be a low-calorie food, especially silken tofu. In fact, tofu is one of the healthiest sources of protein. Protein is required for cell growth and replacement during weight loss. This is because part of weight loss includes gaining more muscle mass which enables increased metabolism and hence more fat is burned.
Fights Menopause Weight Gain
Menopause is marked by uncomfortable symptoms ranging from hot flashes, weight gain, and even night sweats. Tofu can help fight this menopause-related weight gain thanks to the soy proteins which act as estrogen activators. This leads to increased metabolism which helps in cutting down weight gain. The soy proteins help in restoring hormonal balance thus cutting down on other menopause-related symptoms.
Are soybeans good on a keto diet?
When you consume 100g of soybeans, you take in nutrients as stated below;
Calories - 416
Fat - 19.94g
Carbs - 30.16g
Protein - 36.49g
The 30.6g carb content is quite high; making it generally not recommended especially when on a strict keto diet. Generally, legumes have very high levels of carbs, making them not ideal for ketogenic diets.
Is tofu suitable for a low carb diet?
Tofu is great for low carb diets. In a 100g serving, you will get 2g of net carbs. A recommended keto diet ranges anywhere between 20g and 50g of net carbs depending on your plan to get you into a state of perfect ketosis. Tofu, therefore, fits the low carb requirement acceptable for the diet. However, you should consider the carb amount in any tofu brand you buy since others have three times higher net carbs.
The protein in the tofu also may help you lose weight since it may trigger fat burning and help you feel fuller for a longer time.
Is tofu that bad for you?
Tofu is not that bad for you. The product is an excellent source of proteins for keto dieters and vegetarians alike. Additionally, it also contains all essential amino acids that your body requires to function effectively. It also provides your body with fats, carbs, and various vitamins together with minerals. It's generally safe for consumption however, there are some controversies around soy generally, check out this article if you’re interested in learning more (link).
Is tofu high fat?
Yes, most tofu varieties contain a high amount of fat compared to carbohydrates. Approximately 50 percent of the calories in a block of tofu come from fat.
Is tofu good for weight loss?
Yes, tofu is an excellent source of proteins and is low on carbs making it perfect for weight loss. Tofu also contains soy proteins which have a positive impact on weight control hormones and also maintaining hormonal balance especially in postmenopausal.
Is tofu keto diet-friendly?
Yes, tofu contains only low amounts of carbs and a high amount of proteins and fats. This makes it a recommendable food item for anyone on a keto diet or anyone trying to lose some weight.
Is it ok to eat tofu every day?
It is not recommended to eat tofu every day due to the hormonal effects. When consumed in moderate amounts, it's safe to eat tofu and other soy foods regularly. These effects can worsen especially on women with estrogen-sensitivity.