The Chinese have been eating tofu since 200 B.C. Tofu, also known as bean curd, is cheese-like product made from curdling soy milk. It is a high-quality plant-based protein that takes on the flavor of the food it is mixed with. Plain tofu is low in calories and fat, but if you deep fry it you double both its calorie and fat content.
A 4-oz. portion of deep fried tofu contains 180 calories. By comparison, a 4-oz. serving of plain firm tofu contains 79 calories. Deep frying tofu adds an additional 100 calories to the same size portion. As a more calorie-dense food, the deep fried tofu may cause you to consume more calories than you intended to satisfy your appetite, which in turn makes it more difficult for you to maintain a healthy weight.
One of the benefits of tofu is its protein content. It is one of only a few plant foods that provide your body with all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein comparable to beef or chicken. A 4-oz. serving of the deep fried tofu contains 18 g of protein. Protein needs vary depending on age, gender and activity level, but most men need about 56 g of protein a day, and women 46 g a day. One serving of the deep fried tofu meets nearly half your daily needs.
Tofu is not a significant source of carbohydrates, but it does help you meet your daily fiber needs. A 4-oz. serving of the deep fried tofu contains 4.8 g of carbohydrates and 1.2 g of fiber. Carbohydrates provide your body with energy and should supply 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake. Fiber is a non-digestible form of carbohydrates that helps prevent constipation, improve hunger control and lower your risk of heart disease. Aim for 20 to 37 g of fiber a day.
Most of the additional calories in the deep fried tofu come from the fat from the frying process. A 4-oz. serving of deep fried tofu contains 10 g of total fat and 1.6 g of saturated fat. By comparison, the same size serving of plain firm tofu contains 4.7 g of total fat and 0.9 g of saturated fat. Consuming too many high fat foods increases your risk of obesity and heart disease, according to Penn Medicine. For health and weight control, limit your intake of fat to less than 30 percent of your daily calorie intake.
- LIVESTRONG.com MyPlate: Calories in Deep Fried Tofu
- MayoClinic.com; Energy Density and Weight Loss: Feel Full on Fewer Calories; January 2011
- Penn Medicine: Fat in Your Diet
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- McKinley Health Center; Macronutrients: the Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat; March 2008
- MayoClinic.com; Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet; November