Getting into vegetarian and vegan alternatives gets confusing sometimes. There’s so much more beyond fruits and veggies, and information on these options isn’t always readily available.
One source of confusion can be tofu and soy. In this guide, we’ll tell you whether or not there’s a difference between tofu and soy, and if so, what it is. Read on to learn more about these popular vegan mainstays.
What’s the Difference Between Tofu and Soy?
Tofu and soy are related to each other, but there is a slight difference between them. Soy as we know it comes from soy beans, which are part of the soy plant.
Tofu is made from soy beans…or, more accurately, it comes from the soy milk made from the beans. It’s coagulated and then pressed to form the blocks we all know and love.
In a nutshell, the difference is that soy is just the base product that can eventually be made into tofu.
Read Also: Tofu vs Bean Curd
Are Soy and Tofu Bad for You?
Soy and tofu can be surprisingly controversial foods. While there are many who believe in their health benefits, there are some who are concerned about either one being GMOs.
The bottom line is, both have their health benefits. Soy by itself can help lower your cholesterol, and is full of vital nutrients. There are studies that show it can have a negative impact on digestive health, though.
Tofu, on the other hand, has even more health benefits. It can possibly lower your risk of heart disease and of developing some types of cancer, such as breast cancer. However, some doctors suggest avoiding tofu if you have problems with your thyroid because of its goitrogen, a compound which affects thyroid function.
At the end of the day, neither soy nor tofu are bad for you. If there’s any reason you shouldn’t eat them because of existing health conditions, your doctor should inform you.
Is There a Soy-Free Tofu?
Yes! Although not as common in the United States, there are actually many different kinds of tofu.
The stuff most commonly on shelves in the US is made from soy beans. You could follow a similar process with virtually any time of bean, making tofu from a variety of beans at your leisure.
It will work best if you choose beans that are similar to soy beans. Chickpeas, for instance, are common soy alternative when it comes to tofu. If you can find chickpea flour, you can make the below chickpea tofu recipe.
Tofu as we know it and soy are deeply linked to one another. Because most tofu is made from soy beans, you might assume that it’s impossible to make tofu without soy.
You might be surprised, then, to learn that that’s not true. You can actually make tofu from a range of beans, but one of the most popular alternatives is chickpea tofu. If you’re allergic to soy or you’re trying to cut down on your soy intake, we recommend giving it a try.