Is Tofu Good for You?

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Q: I’ve heard conflicting stories about tofu. It’s either a great source of protein or loaded with estrogen and therefore unhealthy. Which is true?

If tofu and other soy foods were interviewing for a spot in your weekly meal rotation, they would offer an impressive résumé of nutrition credentials.

A three-ounce serving of tofu, for instance, can provide between four and 14 grams of protein (depending on the style), including all nine of the essential amino acids.

It also supplies B vitamins, healthy unsaturated fatty acids, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron, said Amy Bragagnini, a dietitian and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Yet soy foods are also burdened by an unsavory reputation. Ms. Bragagnini’s clients, for instance, routinely ask if soy foods are linked with cancer, a concern stemming from their relatively high levels of isoflavones, plant-based compounds that are structurally similar to the hormone estrogen.

The presence of isoflavones has also led to the worry that soy might negatively affect fertility or give men more feminine characteristics.


https://static01.nyt.com/images/2023/04/11/multimedia/04ASKWELL-TOFU1-hzgq/04ASKWELL-TOFU1-hzgq-superJumbo.jpg?quality=75&auto=webpCredit…Joyce Lee for The New York Times



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