Millennials eating Tofu—but not for nutrition?
A new study from Cornell University finds that tofu is becoming popular among Millennials. Although tofu is loaded with protein, Millennials are choosing this healthy food mostly because it’s quick and easy to cook, and can help keep bodies trim, according to the research.
Cornell study leader, Brian Wansink, suggests that 20-something-year-old women aren’t as focused on the health benefits of tofu but are eating more of it. “They eat it to look good and because it’s quick to cook and it’s filling,” said Wansink in a news release.
Tofu traditionally has been labeled nutritious and does not spoil as quickly as other protein sources. However, the study showed that more Millennials chose tofu when it was presented as a high-quality, low-cost, and sustainable protein, according to researchers.
“Millennials are much more likely to eat tofu if you simply tell them ‘It cooks like chicken, but doesn’t spoil,’ than if you lecture them about its nutritional value,” Wansink said. The findings were presented at the Tops Club Inc.’s annual International Recognition Days convention in Milwaukee, this month.
The study concluded that there are more benefits to certain healthy foods than just its nutritional value. It can be more convincing to encourage eating healthy foods if they are sustainable or convenient.
“This study suggests that nutritionists and health practitioners may be more successful in encouraging the adoption of healthy new foods by dispelling their misconceptions rather than focusing on their nutritional benefits,” according to the study.
Jamie Portnoy, registered dietitian at Advocate Medical Group in Libertyville, Ill., says that tofu is low-calorie and naturally gluten-free, contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of protein, iron and calcium.
Traditionally, tofu is a popular source of protein. “The only different between tofu and animal protein is that they do not equal the same in weight. You have to eat more tofu to equal the recommended dietary protein levels,” Portnoy says.
Portnoy also says that tofu has other health benefits such as decreasing one’s risk of osteoporosis, regulating blood sugar and preventing migraine headaches.
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