For years, tofu has been a standard in vegetarian and vegan diets as a source of plant-based protein. It packs a nutritional punch, is versatile in dishes, and cooks quickly, so it’s no surprise that it has grown in popularity with omnivores alike. However, along with its rise in fame has come a lot confusing information and apprehension about the safety of tofu and other soy-based products. Never fear! We are here to help provide some clarity.
Listen Up, Men.
You might have heard rumors that soy could reduce testosterone in men. This has been studied, but it was completed in rats and has not been replicated in humans. Additional studies showed that men consuming EXTREMELY high doses (3 quarts of soymilk per day) could experience changes in sex hormones. However, these changes reserved themselves once the extreme soy consumption stopped (1). Too much of any food is never a good thing, and soy is no different.
This one is for the Ladies.
It has also been widely discussed that soy’s phytoestrogens (similar in structure and function to estrogen), could increase
breast cancer risk. Nevertheless, large studies following healthy women have shown no association between soy and breast cancer, and some studies even showed a protective association from eating soy (1). Additionally, populations who typically
have the highest consumption of soy also have some of the lowest rates of breast cancer. The moral of the story – soy is not only okay to eat, it’s good for you! Soy benefits us all! It can help decrease cholesterol, blood pressure, and overall risk of chronic disease. These attributes alone make it a big winner for improving heart health. Additionally, it’s a complete protein source, which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
This one is for the parents.
I first fell in love with tofu when my kids were really young and eating their first foods. I needed some soft, bite-sized foods that were easy to prepare. There is almost nothing easier than chopping up some tofu cubes and throwing them on a plate. My kids loved them and I loved how fast I could have it ready. Now it’s a family favorite that has been in our weekly meal rotation for years.