Vegetarians often need to get creative when it comes to meeting their protein needs. Texturized vegetable protein, or TVP, serves as an excellent meat replacement. Primarily made of soybeans, TVP is often sold as a dehydrated mix, although it is possible to purchase it in ready-to-eat blocks. This meat alternative makes a healthy choice not just for protein, but for boosting your intake of several vitamins and minerals as well. It is worth noting that it does pose potential health risks, however.
Calories and Fat
A 1-cup serving of prepared TVP contains 224 calories. If you adhere to a 2,000-calorie diet, the calories in a serving of TVP make up 11.2 percent of the amount you may consume daily. One serving of TVP adds 1 gram of fat to your diet, although this does not significantly contribute toward the recommended limit of 44 to 78 grams of fat per day, or 20 to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake.
Carbohydrates and Fiber
TVP serves as a rich source of carbohydrates: 1 serving contains 26 grams. The carbs in a serving of TVP break down to provide energy to keep your body functioning as it should, and the nutrient plays a role in the health of your brain, muscles and kidneys. You require 130 grams of carbs per day for best health. Not all carbohydrates get processed into energy, however; fiber is a carb that stays solid to influence bowel and digestive processes. A serving of TVP contains 12 grams of fiber, a significant portion of the recommended 25 to 38 grams per day.
One serving of TVP provides you with 32 grams of protein, making it an excellent source of this macronutrient and a good choice for vegetarians. Your diet needs 46 to 56 grams of protein daily. The protein in TVP is important for your immune system, as well as building muscles, repairing cells and tissues and producing enzymes.
Vitamins and Minerals
Including TVP in your diet gives you access to a rich source of potassium. One serving contains 81 percent of the daily recommended intake. This essential electrolyte is vital to the function of your heart and muscles. You will also get 35 percent of the iron you need each day in a serving of TVP. Additionally, a serving of TVP provides 16 percent of the calcium and 1 percent of the vitamin A you require daily.
Possible Anti-Cancer Benefits
TVP, primarily made of soy, may help prevent breast cancer, although soy's cancer protective benefits are inconclusive. Research published in the June 2009 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” notes that women with higher intake of soy protein throughout their lifetime had a decreased incidence of breast cancer prior to menopause. At the same time, some studies point to soy as the blame for breast cancer because of its phytoestrogen content. Research also points to the fact that consuming soy may reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men, according to a study in the April 2009 edition of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” However, evidence published in the July 2008 issue of the journal “Human Reproduction” correlates high soy consumption with decreased sperm quality. More research is needed to confirm findings in terms of breast and prostate cancer prevention.