Top 11 Tofu Health Risks
Tofu, also called as bean curd is quite popular all over the world, thanks to the health benefits it provides. But, not everyone is aware of the fact that tofu is not for everyone and it also comes with some health risks. Knowing the tofu health risks will help you decide if you really need to use tofu as a part of your everyday diet or not.
What Exactly is Tofu?
Tofu is always considered as one healthy source of protein. This is made from soy and many times soy tends to show some side effects. Soy is considered bad as it is a modified food and tofu being made from soybeans, a curdling agent and water, is not considered a healthy food by doctors. A number of studies have shown that intake of soy can also lead to digestion troubles, reproductive disorders or even a thyroid dysfunction.
Health Risks Associated with Tofu
1. Genetic Modifications
It was way back in 1994 that the very first soy bean that was genetically modified was released. The availability of non-GMO soybeans is hard and this paved way to the use of modified soybeans to make tofu. In many cases, genetically modified foods do a lot of harm and can also kill the good bacteria in the gut and can also cause damage to our digestive systems.
2. Breast Cancer
No one would ever imagine that fact that tofu can be linked to breast cancer. Tofu has high amounts of phytoestrogens, which show an estrogen-like side effect on the body and this leads to the blocking of the regular estrogen production. Thus this can be linked to breast cancer. Some scientific studies have shown that soy can also act as a feed to the cancer causing cells. So, the overall health of a woman can depend on how much soy they are consuming and if you are a survivor of breast cancer or have a family history of the same, it is best you avoid eating tofu.
3. Disruption of Thyroid
As we learnt before, tofu is made from soy and soy has good amounts of goitrogenic compounds like “soy isoflavone genistein” that block thyroid hormones. These compounds can also interfere with the production of thyroid hormones and this can lead to hypothyroidism.
A number of parents often chose soy milk over the others thinking that they are making a wise choice choosing soy milk. But, the studies suggest otherwise and state that intake of soy from an early age can show a negative effect on health, especially in those who have congenital hypothyroidism.
4. Anti Nutrients
Tofu is known to have phytate which is a compound that contributes to the hard texture of it. Phytate is nothing but phytic acid combined with mineral and both these are known for their anti-nutrient properties. Tofu is known to have high levels of anti-nutrients like lectins, oxalates, phytates, oligosaccharides and protease inhibitors. These not only cause gastric troubles but are also harmful to our kidneys.
Also, cooking tofu does not reduce the levels of the anti-nutrients present in it and the only way to get rid of those anti-nutrients is via fermentation.
5. Alzheimer’s Disease
You will be surprised to know that tofu made from soy has also been linked to a number of cognitive problems. Many studies have shown that tofu can also cause or increase cognitive problems like Alzheimer’s disease. These are the conditions that show an impact on the brain and its daily functioning. Studies have also shown that taking more than two servings of tofu can also lead to ageing of the brain.
People who eat very high amounts of soy tofu are also at a risk of dementia. It is said that eating high amounts of soy tofu can lead to a bad memory. So, it is always good to restrict of the intake of tofu from your everyday diet.
7. Deficiency of Vitamin B12
Soybeans are known to have good contents of B12 analogs and thus tofu too contains compounds that do resemble Vitamin B12. But, these analogs of B12 cannot be used by the human body the way the vitamin B12 is used. So, tofu or other soy foods often lead to Vitamin B12 deficiency and this is true for people who prefer to avoid animal protein.
8. Vitamin D Deficiency
Deficiency of Vitamin D is widespread across countries and it is said that the soy foods that are unfermented play a major role in this. Tofu, which is made of soy, also increases the need of vitamin D and this certainly makes the deficiency worse.
9. Difficulty in Digestion
Tofu is an unfermented soy product and thus can contain very strong enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors block the process of digestive enzymes, thus causing trouble with digestion. Regular intake of tofu not only creates digestive problems, but can also cause problems with the pancreas.
Also, people who are allergic to soy also need to avoid the intake of tofu as they might even experience a full-blown reaction.
10. Can Cause Heart Issues
Though we see during marketing that tofu is often suggested as the best alternative to animal meats, there are certain studies that speak otherwise. It is said that a study conducted showed that taking tofu or soy rich diet can cause the thickness of the heart muscles to increase, which makes it hard for the heart to pump the blood. Such researches were done on mice and it did show that soy diet can be very harmful to one’s heart. People who already have heart issues need to avoid it for sure.
11. Gastric Troubles
Tofu also causes gastric trouble, and this happens due to the presence of Oligosaccharides in it. This is a compound that promotes the formation of gas and this is one of the main reasons why soy is often called as the “King of the Musical Fruits.”
The above mentioned are some of the tofu health risks. You can as well have a word with your dietician to know if tofu is good for you or not.