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What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Tofu

There are many health benefits associated with eating this soy-based protein.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

Tofu can taste quite bland if you don't know how to season it correctly. Perhaps that's why this soy-based product isn't everyone's favorite plant-based protein.

But if you regularly eat tofu, there are many health benefits—especially if you substitute it for meat a few times a week. Not to mention, tofu is highly versatile and makes a great addition to breakfast dishes like omelets or midday snacks such as smoothies.

Below, we outline four potential things that could happen to your body when you eat tofu. Be sure to check out 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work for more helpful ways to begin leading an even healthier lifestyle.

Reduce your risk of heart disease.

Tofu scramble

If your morning breakfast normally consists of bacon, sausage, and eggs, switching to a seasoned tofu scramble could really do wonders for your cholesterol levels. Why? Unlike animal-based protein, tofu doesn't contain any cholesterol. Processed red meat is often loaded with saturated fat, which can elevate your LDL (harmful) cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease if left unaddressed over time. Tofu, on the other hand, may do the opposite.

One 2020 study published in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Circulation examined data from 200,000 people and discovered that consuming just one serving of tofu a week was associated with an 18% reduced risk of heart disease compared to those who didn't eat tofu at all.

Lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Kale edamame tofu rice

Test-tube and animal studies have both shown that soy isoflavones, or compounds found in soybeans and soybean-based foods such as tofu, may improve blood sugar regulation in the body. Remember, when someone has type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, their body struggles to keep blood sugar (glucose) levels down. In addition, a 2020 study found that dietary intake of tofu, soy protein, and soy isoflavones was inversely associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes among more than 560,000 people.

Protect yourself from certain cancers.

mapo tofu bowl

There's plenty of research that suggests regularly consuming tofu may help reduce the risk of several cancers. For example, two review studies found that men who consumed tofu experienced between a 32-51% lower risk of prostate cancer. Another study revealed that high soybean and tofu intake was associated with a 59% reduction of stomach cancer in women.

If you need inspiration for how to include tofu in your diet, check out this Healthy Instant Pot Tofu Tikka Masala Recipe.

Help prevent bone loss.

soda noodles

Did you know that tofu is considered a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids? Just one 3-ounce serving of tofu packs 8 grams of protein and satisfies 15% of your daily calcium value. One scientific review contained data suggesting that consuming approximately 80 milligrams of soy isoflavones each day may help prevent bone loss. For context, one 3-ounce serving of tofu contains 20 milligrams of soy isoflavones!

For more, be sure to check out these 20 Best Plant-Based Protein Bars for Total Health.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne