Tofu is naturally vegan gluten and cholesterol-free since it’s made from soybeans. So it’s a popular option for anyone following specific diets.
It’s pretty much tasteless and can absorb any flavor, which makes it pretty perfect for cooking.
It also is low in calories and net carbs and high in protein and is one of only a few plant-based complete proteins. It has a bunch of health benefits to it (along with some controversy too).
But today I’ll be solely focusing on answering “Is tofu keto?” question. Let’s dig in.
Are you interested in a particular questions about tofu being keto? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page.
Here's what we'll cover:
Is tofu keto-friendly?
In brief, yes, tofu can be considered keto-friendly.
Even though its the main ingredient is boiled soybeans. And those are not very keto-friendly as it is.
However, tofu turns more keto through processing. It also comes in different firmness levels. It can be extra firm or silken and very soft. And depending on the tofu’s firmness, the product has a different percentage of water content. So the less firm tofu is the fewer carbs it has.
So, in a nutshell, tofu can be good for keto. And you can definitely use this ingredient to add some variety to your keto ration. (Especially if you are just like me, also vegan).
How many carbohydrates in tofu exactly?
So, Is tofu low carb? According to the food database of the U.S. Department of agriculture, 100g of branded tofu has 82 calories, 10.59g of proteins, 2.35g of fats, and 3.53g of carbs, including 1.2g of fiber. Which all comes down to 2.33g of net carbs in tofu.
But those numbers, of course, will vary from brand to brand, depending on the manufacturing process and tofu coagulant used.
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For instance, this silken tofu by Mori-Nu has 45 calories, 2.5g of fat, 4g of protein, and 2g of carbs (no fiber) in 3oz serving (which comes down to 2.38 of net carbs per 100g.)
And this “high-protein, keto-friendly, vegan” Koya tofu by Bright Therapy has 100calories, 10g of protein, 7g of fat, and “<1g” of carbs per 20g (!).
Not sure what <1g means.
I was trying to calculate “<1g” using the total nutritional value based on the fact that 1g of fat has about 9 calories and 1g of protein or carbs only 4. So X (total calories from carb) = 100 – (10g of protein * 4 + 7g of fat * 9).
But this equation wasn’t working very well and left me with -3 (negative).
I guess my point is the following – tofu is low in carbs, but you have to check the data on the packaging of the brand you are about to purchase. (And I probably won’t be buying Brith Therapy tofu, since the information on their product seems a bit sketchy).
But depending on your personal daily net carb goal. Mine is around 40g because I do vegan keto in combination with OMAD or some days 20:4 intermittent fasting. And that gives me some leverage on the number of carbs I can eat.
Are tofu noodles keto-friendly?
While noodles, in general, don’t scream keto to me, there are still some options in recipes for those who are missing the noodle eating sensations.
And I am talking about shirataki noodles. Those are made for a plant called Konjac. It is widely recognized in Japan and China for its health benefits. And it’s used as the main ingredient for this weird and magical zero net carbs and close to zero calories.
E.g., this option by Well Lean has only 5 calories per 100g serving. Along with 2g of carbs and 2g of fibers, which brings us to 0g of net carbs in total.
The truth about shirataki is that you, whether love it or hate it. But I personally think that its advantage as it’s completely tasteless just like tofu.
So depending on which sauces you are using, you can end up with a very delicious meal that won’t kick you out of ketosis. And that’s the common theme for both tofu and Shirataki.
All in all, yes, you absolutely can have keto-friendly (and vegan-friendly) tofu noodles by using shirataki and a bunch of spices as the base for your recipe.
Is fried tofu keto?
Yes, it is! As we established, tofu is keto-friendly. So fried tofu can’t be any worse. While there are numerous recipes to try in this department, today I will share the one that I like the most.
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It’s a super crispy, vegan, and keto-friendly version of tofu made in the air fryer. So it has less bad fats, but it’s still fattier than the plain version of tofu, which is very fitting for keto.
And by the way, if you don’t use an air fryer yet, you should seriously consider buying it. For any future reference, this option by Ultrian is a fantastic value for money. It has so many presets, so you can customize the cooking settings to the point when you literally can prepare anything you want.
Keto-friendly air fried tofu
How to make tofu more keto?
Depending on the firmness of tofu, the water content in the product is different too. So if you’ve chosen to deal with silken soft tofu, it means that it has fewer carbs.
Imagine you are about to invent some sort of Keto snack recipe for your diet. Just by using the least carby version of tofu and sprinkling it up with some olive oil and spices, and by adding some avocado and nuts to it you will end up with a very keto-friendly tofu version. Low in carbs and high in fats.
Can you eat tofu on a keto diet? Conclusion
Plant-based people might consider tofu as a solid meat replacement because of high protein and low carbs content. But it’s not the ideal product for keto at first glance since it doesn’t have enough fats.
At the same time, the most essential thing for keto is the right ratio of all the nutrients. So it’s high fats, low carbs and a moderate amount of proteins, no matter where those are coming from (meat or plant).
However, while there might be not enough fat in tofu, you can always stick to the recipes where you can compensate that. And since the most critical factor that ensures that your body produces ketones is the carbs restriction, tofu seems to fit in into any ketogenic plan pretty well.
Just make sure that you go for organic versions of tofu (to know that it’s not derived from GMO-soy) and don’t turn it into your staple.
Thanks for the graphics: Canva.com
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