Tofu/soy products

A place to get your questions answered from McDougall staff dietitian, Jeff Novick, MS, RDN.

Moderators: JeffN, Heather McDougall, carolve

Tofu/soy products

Postby LJ » Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:40 pm

Nice forum. Thank you so much!!

What is your take on tofu? I have always read that tofu was a healthy food to eat and lately I'm reading articles saying that you shouldn't eat it. I've been reading where you should eat fermented soy only versus unfermented. I don't eat tofu all the time, but about once/week I'll make a dish with tofu...something like lasagna or a chocolate pudding. Just curious on your thoughts. Thanks!
________________________________________

"The food you put into your body is the single most powerful factor that determines your health and well being." Dr. John A. McDougall, MD
User avatar
LJ
 
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:51 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Tofu/soy products

Postby JeffN » Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:15 pm

LJ wrote:Nice forum. Thank you so much!!


Thank You and Dr Mcdougall for creating the forum. We noticed there were some requests for this forum and we were more than happy to oblige.

LJ wrote:What is your take on tofu? I have always read that tofu was a healthy food to eat!


Somewhere, someone is saying almost any food is a health food. Even dairy, cheese, beef and oil has been marketed and written about as being health foods.

LJ wrote:lately I'm reading articles saying that you shouldn't eat it. I've been reading where you should eat fermented soy only versus unfermented. I don't eat tofu all the time, but about once/week I'll make a dish with tofu...something like lasagna or a chocolate pudding. Just curious on your thoughts. Thanks!


Here are my thoughts, which have been consistent over time. Going back over 30 years, I have never been a fan of tofu, soy or the products made from them. Tofu/Soy first became popular based on the myth that vegetarians had to be careful about protein. Now, soy is popular because it is promoted as a rich source of phytochemicals and other nutrients. This may be true, but so are most other beans and other plant foods, so we have to look at the total package.

Soy if high in fat and higher in calorie density than any other bean other than the peanut (which is also technically a bean). So, while not as high in fat or calorie density as peanuts, I would still consider soy a rich food, which should be limited and thought of more as a condiment.

And, by the way, that is actually how it is used in China and Japan. One study that looked at the differences between low and high soy consumption in Japan found that in the high soy consumption group, they were consuming around 58 grams a day of soy, equating to about 7-9 grams of soy protein per day. 58 grams iis around 2 oz. The amounts in China are not much different.

The Nutrient Label Claim that soy is allowed in the USA is that 25 grams of soy protein may help lower cholesterol.That is over 3x what the high soy group took in a day in Japan. Here in America, we now have people waking up to fake soy meats for breakfast along with soy milk and soy shakes made with soy protein, then they eat soy burgers on bread made with soy flour, and take soy pills and on and on. Soy protein has been shown to raise IGF-1, which can increase the growth rate of cancer. In one study, adding 40 grams of soy protein in a day doubled IGF-1 levels.

So, in summary...

1) I am concerned about any one food, such as soy, that has achieved such a exalted status in the food supply. Regardless of whether it is Milk, Salmon, Eggs or Soy, it is a concern when any one food received so much attention. A healthy diet is based on consuming a variety of the plant food groups and a variety of foods within the plant food groups. Focusing your intake on any one food and/or any one variety of food and allowing it to take a prominent role is, IMHO, not a good thing.

2) if someone was to consume soy, I would recommend they avoid the highly processed form of soy and soy products including soy pills, powders, chips, cookies bars, meat substitutes, burgers, supplements etc etc etc etc, and instead focus on the least processed forms including edamame, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, etc

3) I would also recommend that they think of these products as condiments and limit their intake to no more than a serving or two of these foods at most per day. Even better would be no more than the equivalent of 3-4x times per week.

4) For many of the benefits without the controversies, I would recommend the inclusion of a variety of other beans every day, including kidney, lima, black, garbanzo, pinto, etc.

I hope this helps

In health
Jeff Novick
User avatar
JeffN
 
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Postby JeffN » Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:48 pm

To add some "meat" to what I was saying about soy.. :)

In American, if we here a little "may" be good, then we figure more has got to be better and a lot more has got to be the best. This is not always true. We need a little bit of iron yet too much is toxic and can be fatal in children.

These numbers are from a study that considered the soy intake "high" and the totals for the day were

Decreased Serum Total Cholesterol Concentration Is Associated with High Intake of Soy Products in Japanese Men and Women. The Journal of Nutrition Vol. 128 No. 2 February 1998, pp. 209-213

While this study is reporting a better outcome with a "high" intake of soy, lets see what that really means.

Total soy products g/d Men 63.6 ± 52.3 Women 54.4 ± 40.0
Total soy protein g/d Men 8.00 ± 4.95 Women 6.88 ± 4.06

Thats only around 2 ounces of soy products a day with about .25 ounce of soy protein a day.

And, this recent study shows it is not much different in China..

Greater habitual soyfood consumption is associated with
decreased carotid intima-media thickness and better plasma lipids in
Chinese middle-aged adults," Zhang B, Su YX, et al, Atherosclerosis,
2007 Nov 16;

While this study is also reporting a better outcome with a higher intake of soy, lets again see what that really means.

Among men, after adjusting for potential confounder's, the group with the highest intake of soy foods averaged 7.48 g/d soy protein while the group with the lowest intake averaged 0.64 g/d soy protein.

Among women, the group with the highest intake of soy foods averaged 8.35 g/d soy protein while the group with the lowest intake averaged 0.64 g/d soy protein.

Not much different than the average numbers from Japan.

China -Total soy protein g/d Men 7.48 Women 8.35
Japan- Total soy protein g/d Men 8.00 Women 6.88

Keep that in mind when you realize the 2 allowed health claims on the US Food Label by the FDA is for 25 grams of soy PROTEIN a day

From the FDA site...

(1) 25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of [name of food] supplies ____ grams of soy protein.

(2) Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of [name of food] provides ____ grams of soy protein.

As you can see, American are overdoing it. Soy is a condiment, even in those considered taking in a higher intake in Japan and China.

In Health
Jeff Novick, MS, RD
User avatar
JeffN
 
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Postby susie » Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:48 pm

I allow myself 1 cup of low fat soymilk a day for beverages and smoothies. I think thisin in the allowable range.

I gotta go and check the label.
User avatar
susie
 
Posts: 719
Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 7:52 pm
Location: Tasmania, Australia

Postby JeffN » Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:39 am

susie wrote:I allow myself 1 cup of low fat soymilk a day for beverages and smoothies. I think thisin in the allowable range.


Susie,

I would agree.

Enjoy!

In Health
Jeff Novick, MS, RD
User avatar
JeffN
 
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Postby LJ » Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:13 pm

Thanks much Jeff! Makes perfect sense. I think I'm doing ok then....I don't drink soy milk and eat tofu just a few times/week.
________________________________________

"The food you put into your body is the single most powerful factor that determines your health and well being." Dr. John A. McDougall, MD
User avatar
LJ
 
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:51 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Postby Catladyintown » Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:01 pm

Hi Jeff so glad you started this forum. :-D What do you think about homemade Tofu? Do you think homemade tofu is better than store bought? Thanks Catladyintown
Catladyintown
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:12 am
Location: USA

Postby JeffN » Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:25 pm

Catladyintown wrote:Hi Jeff so glad you started this forum. :-D What do you think about homemade Tofu? Do you think homemade tofu is better than store bought? Thanks Catladyintown


Hi,

There are so many different kinds of store bough tofu's and many different ways to make it at home, so it would be difficult for me to make a generic comparison. Different coagulating agents and differing methods can be used which would effect the final product and its nutrient composition differently.

However, in general, I tend to favor home made products more as you have more control of the process that goes into making the final product.

As a condiment, I would have no problem with either one. However, they are now adding isolated soy protein to tofu and that we don’t recommend using.

In Health
Jeff Novick, MS, RD
User avatar
JeffN
 
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Postby Catladyintown » Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:30 pm

Thank you JeffN for your help.
Catladyintown
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:12 am
Location: USA

About soy and protein

Postby Maira Funez » Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:15 pm

Hi,

The information you posted on soy and high protein consumption really caught my attention. I am in college and one of my assignments is doing a health talk for my health research class. I want to do it on protein and the best sources of it (grains, nuts, seeds, legumes) as opposed to meat and dairy and then as opposed to the high protein vege products. Could you tell me of some good research sites that could give me this info? I can find the ones talking about the dangers of high protein meat consumption but I need something that will tell me more about the high protein soy consumptions and it effects. Is there something out there that talks about isolated soy protein and all the fake meat products? And then something that will tell me about the composition of protein in legumes and grains and why this is better.

I know this is a lot but I would very much appreciate your help in this. We will be sharing these health talks with the community and I really want to do something that will help people because there is so much confusion in regards to this.

Much thanks,

Maira
Maira Funez
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:01 pm

Postby JeffN » Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:50 am

Dr Mcdougall has an excellent presentation on Soy, where he walks you through the problems associated with it, and the arguments on both sides, with all the references. The presentation addresses the protein issue.

Also, the best site to begin you search is www.pubmed.com which is public access to the national library of medicine.

Here is a few review studies, that if you can get a hold of them, will list lots of references, that you can then also use.

I would also recommend looking into research that has been done on methionine and its possible health consequences. It is an amino acid that is higher in animal protein sources

Bratisl Lek Listy. 2005;106(6-7):231-4. Health benefits and risks of plant proteins. PMID: 16201743

Proc Nutr Soc. 2006 Feb;65(1):35-41. Health effects of vegetarian and vegan diets. Key TJ, Appleby PN, Rosell MS.

McCarty MF. Vegan proteins may reduce risk of cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease by promoting increased glucagon activity. Med Hypotheses. 1999 Dec;53(6):459-85. Review. PMID: 10687887

In Health
Jeff Novick, MS, RD
User avatar
JeffN
 
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Thank you!

Postby Maira Funez » Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:40 pm

Thank you so much for your help! I look forward to looking these up!
Maira Funez
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:01 pm

Re: Tofu/soy products

Postby rickfm » Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:20 am

Wow, thank you, Jeff!

I've been under the impression that tofu in Japanese cooking was a regular thing, then I see the warnings about using too much of it. It's so nice to have that cleared up.
~Rick

Mmmm.... cabbage!
Keeping it Simple
User avatar
rickfm
 
Posts: 1509
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:13 pm
Location: Spokane, WA


Return to Jeff Novick, RD

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests



Welcome!

Sign up to receive our regular articles, recipes, and news about upcoming events.