Millennials eating Tofu—but not for nutrition?

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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  1. Katie Renz

    I definitely am one of these people. When I get home from work I’m usually really hungry and I don’t have the patience to wait for something to cook so meatless options like tofu and beans making eating healthy easier.

  2. Julie Nakis

    I will definitely be looking into tofu as a dinner option. I live by myself and tend not to buy too much chicken, because I’m very impatient when it comes to cooking and hate buying something that goes bad quickly.

  3. Lynn Hutley

    Maybe it’s worth trying again but I just wasn’t a fan when I tried it before. Any recipes suggestions from you tofu lovers?

  4. As a mom, I began serving tofu to my kids in their toddler years. When my daughter was in 2nd grade, her school cafeteria asked what foods weren’t on the menu but they’d like to see added as an option. My 2nd grader requested her favorite food, tofu, be added to the menu. However, she never did see it added to the menu, but now she’s in her teens and it is still her favorite protein — it’s what she normally orders in restaurants.
    Lynn H. — instead of chicken, add tofu to your stir fry, you can bake tofu and use in sandwiches — tofu instead of bacon in B-L-T, teriyaki tofu sandwichs, tofu can be replacement for cheese in lasagna, also great in salads, noodle dishes, etc. Look on-line — there are great recipies.

  5. Tofu may not be a health option for males or people suffering from thyroid problems. It contains natural estrogen from soy which can directly effect the thyroid and cause changes in the male hormone balance. Unlike tofu in Europe, the tofu produced in the USA is a byproduct of manufacturing soy. Small to moderate amounts of tofu may be fine but I personally would avoid a steady diet. Soy is in many foods as a cheap filler and it is difficult to determine how much people get; read your food labels!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.