Relationship Between Tofu And Diabetes

Relationship Between Tofu And Diabetes


Glycemic index:


Calories per 100 g:

93 kcal

Tofu is one of those foods that people tend to have a lot of questions about. They want to know if it'll mess with their hormones, whether it's healthy, and most importantly, whether it is a great choice for people with diabetes.

Those are all important questions. And they are especially important to people with diabetes who need to take special care about what they eat because of their blood sugar.

In this article, we'll be going over everything you need to know about the diabetes diet and tofu.

Nutritional value

  • Protein 10 g
  • Carbohydrate 1.2 g
  • Fat 5.3 g
  • Fiber 1 g
  • Sugar 0.7 g
  • Cholesterol 0 g

What Is Tofu?

Tofu is basically a kind of food that originally originated in China. At its basic level, tofu is condensed soy milk that's pressed into solid white blocks to make tofu blocks. The process for making these blocks is not too different from how cheese is usually made.

Nigari, a mineral-rich coagulant, is usually added to tofu to make it solidify. That's how tofu gets its shape.

Tofu is naturally gluten-free and has very few calories. It has no cholesterol and is a great source of calcium and iron.

It's a very good source of protein content, and it's also great for vegetarians because it has important vitamins that they can only get from meat.

Another reason why Tofu is nutritionally important is that it contains soy isoflavones. These soy isoflavones include phytoestrogens, which are very useful in combatting symptoms caused by estrogen deficiency.

These soy isoflavones may have estrogen-agonist or estrogen-antagonist properties, and these properties usually help protect against cancers and heart disease.

Tofu is made almost entirely of soy. A gram of soy contains about 3.5 mg of isoflavones. That means a hundred gram serving of tofu provides around 60 mg of soy isoflavones.

That will definitely offer a lot of beneficial effects, especially for people with increased risks of health conditions like breast tumours or breast cancer, and heart disease.

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Varieties Of Tofu

There are so many kinds of tofu on the market. You can purchase the food in bulk or extra-large, and can get either soft or extra firm ones as well.

You can also get dehydrated, jarred, freeze-dried, or even canned tofu. It all depends on your taste.

If you'd prefer to make it on your own, you also have that option too. It's pretty easy to make, and all you really need is soybean, lemon and water.

How Soy Affects Blood Sugar Levels

The body of research on the effects of soy on blood sugar, and most importantly, diabetics, suggests that eating soy foods like tofu can be a great thing for your blood sugar levels.

Since soy, which is the primary ingredient of tofu, contains a lot of isoflavones, it's very helpful in combating high blood sugar levels.

It also helps to decrease blood glucose levels and assist in improving glucose tolerance in people with diabetes.

Studies have also shown that isoflavones are associated with lower diabetes risk, improved insulin sensitivity, and lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Health Benefits Of Tofu

Since tofu is basically condensed soy milk, we'll be looking explicitly at the health benefits of soy foods. We'll also be looking at how they fit into the diets of diabetics.

It's Nutritious

Tofu is probably one of the most nutritious soy products on the market. It is loaded with lots of essential vitamins and nutrients that are very beneficial to your health.

Some of these nutrients include calories, protein, fat, fibre, carbs, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and folate.

Supports Your Immune System

Since Tofu has a lot of important minerals, it can be the difference between a strong immune system and a weak one.

For example, one-quarter of a block of tofu comes with about 2 mg of zinc. This is around 18% of the recommended daily intake of zinc for adult males, and around 22% of the recommended intake for adult females.

Since research has long proven that zinc contributes to a strong immune system, tofu can be a great way to strengthen that system.

Reduction Of Heart Disease Risk

One of the biggest problems for people with diabetes is the complications the illness brings.

For example, if you have diabetes, you're twice as likely to have heart disease, a stroke, or develop high blood pressure. And you have this risk at a younger age.

In fact, the longer you struggle with diabetes, the likelier you are to have heart disease.

Thankfully, that risk can be reduced by adding certain things to your diabetes diet. And one of those things is whole soy foods.

In fact, it seems like tofu is the perfect protein for people who suffer from diabetes because of all the heart health benefits it has.

Soy foods are known for reducing cholesterol levels. And this isn't just a vague claim that whole soy foods makers use to sell their products.

The scientific literature that supports the fact that diabetes reduces the risk of heart disease is now so vast that Canada and the US have now have approved the use of health claims linking soy protein to a lower risk of heart disease.

But now does tofu reduce the risk of heart disease?

Well, for one, people who regularly eat soy, or have soy in their diet usually have lower LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) than those who eat no soy foods. They also usually have higher HDL cholesterol levels (good cholesterol).

According to experts, this is probably due to soy's combination of plant proteins, fibre, and isoflavones.

This combination, experts also argue, may explain why soy foods, like tofu, for example, appear to be even more effective at lowering bad cholesterol levels than soy supplements.

Another interesting thing that studies suggest is that eating tofu is more beneficial to your health than other animal foods like meat, dairy and eggs. This is because it can help reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet.

Reduction Of Risk Of Certain Cancers

Broad Range Of Cancers

Studies have also proven that eating tofu may help reduce your risks of developing endometrial, colon, prostate and stomach cancers.

These studies also argue that men who eat have a diet filled with soy protein may have a 51% lower chance of developing prostate cancer.

So if you've got an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, you'd do well to add a lot of soy protein to your diet.

Breast Cancer

According to medically reviewed research, eating tofu might lead to a reduced risk of developing breast cancer. This research argues that people who eat tofu maybe 16% less likely to die after a diagnosis than people who do eat tofu.

The research also argues that postmenopausal women who consume a lot of soy products (including tofu) are less likely to experience cancer recurrence after getting treated.

Another study argues that postmenopausal women who have dietary soy are even less likely to have any kind of cancer.

Tofu itself is associated with even less risk of cancer. One study argues that eating tofu regularly makes it up to 32% less likely for breast cancer to develop.

Reduces Your Risk Of Diabetes

In one study, women with gestational diabetes who had a diet of soy protein were found to have lower blood glucose levels than their counterparts who didn't have a diet rich in soy protein.

Another study even went as far as arguing that people who ate a lot of tofu were less likely to develop diabetes.

The scientific references available argue that this may be a result of the soy isoflavones in tofu itself.

However, this research isn't yet conclusive.

Improved Brain Function

A few studies have concluded that a diet of tofu can contribute to better memory, faster processing power, and better mental functions in some adults.

Again, this study isn't conclusive. However, the correlation is found between higher soy intake and better brain function is too strong to ignore.

Fewer menopause symptoms

A diet rich in whole soybeans may also lead to even fewer symptoms of menopause. It may reduce symptoms like fatigue, hot flashes, and mood swings. Hot flashes, in this case, are feelings of warmth that usually affect the neck, chest, and face severely.

This diet may also have antidepressant effects. A study has suggested that eating about 49 grams of tofu per day may be instrumental in reducing the risk of having depression during pregnancy.

Stronger bones

Recent studies have shown that soy isoflavones may have a remarkable effect on bone health. For one, they may help to reduce bone loss and could be important in increasing the mineral density in your bones.

Health Risks Of Tofu

The medically reviewed resources that we have point to tofu as being a highly beneficial source of plant proteins.

It's important to know the health benefits of tofu, but it's also important to understand the health risks of eating it as well.

Eating tofu and all kinds of soy foods is generally considered safe. However, if you suffer from the following conditions, you might have to slow your tofu intake down somewhat.

Thyroid Issues

If you have poor thyroid function, you might need to slow down your intake. This is because of the goitrogen content of tofu and the different ways that can manifest in your health.

Breast Tumors

Tofu has pretty weak hormonal effects. While that isn't terrible for most people, it can be bad for people who suffer from estrogen-sensitive breast tumours.

Because of these health risks of tofu, it may be advisable to speak to a healthcare professional to get further clarity on whether tofu is good for you or not.

Bottom line

Tofu is a great source of protein for people with diabetes, people likely to suffer from certain cancers, and people suffering from menopausal symptoms.

Navigating the world of diabetic diets can be confusing for people who live with the illness. That's why it's important to have professional help when planning a diet that's both nutritious, and safe for you as a diabetic.

One place where you can get that help is at Klinio. The company has ages of experience with planning safe and healthy diets for diabetics, and will defined be of great help to you.


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