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Tofu or Not Tofu, That Is the Question

If you replace lean meat with tofu in your diet, you may help cut your risk of heart disease, by reducing levels of cholesterol and other fatty substances in your blood called triglycerides (a negative compound formed from fatty acids),
and slowing the rate at which the body eliminates bad cholesterol.

Previous studies have shown that patients with heart disease have higher levels of oxidized cholesterol in their blood. The slowing rate at which cholesterol is oxidized can therefore be associated with a decrease in coronary heart risk, or more commonly known, heart attack. This theory is investigated in a recent issue of The Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

The study found that the replacement of lean meat with the same amount of protein as tofu beneficially changes a number of coronary heart disease risk factors. Also, estrogens found in soy products such as tofu, may lower a person’s susceptibility to cholesterol build-up, as they contain certain blocking agents.

According to Dr. Madeline Ball, the main researcher, “the overall diet to reduce heart disease should be one with appropriate calories to achieve or maintain ideal body weight, low in saturated fat and with good variety of foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. Using soy products like tofu may also help to reduce fat intake.”

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Ashton EL, Dalais FS, Ball MJ. Effect of meat replacement by tofu on CHD risk factors including copper induced LDL oxidation. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2000:19(6), pp. 761-767.