Tofu or paneer: What’s healthier?


Indians love paneer and it has enjoyed its share of popularity as a healthy food option for some time now. No doubt paneer is a rich source of protein and calcium and provides great nutrition, especially to vegetarians because they can’t have meat.

Suddenly, paneer has been finding itself at war with a new entrant called tofu, which is made from soybean milk and looks similar to paneer. While paneer can easily be made at home by curdling milk, tofu needs a scrupulous process. But, this painstaking method bestows abundance of nutrients and protein into tofu, even lending it cancer-fighting properties.

So, paneer or tofu, what should you have? Let’s find out which one is healthier.

Protein content

Known for its high protein content, 100 g of paneer contains about 18.3 g of protein, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians. People on a weight gain diet or weight training regime like to have enough paneer, which helps them build muscle and repair muscle wear and tear. Tofu, on the other hand, has only 6.9 g of protein.

Fat content

Paneer has been touted as a weight loss-friendly food too for it keeps you full for a long time. But, the fat content in 100 g of paneer is 20 g, which is way higher than it is in tofu, which contains 2.7 g of fat per 100 g. Tofu works as an excellent substitute for paneer for someone on a weight loss plan.

Calorie content

As compared with tofu, paneer is high in calories. A 100 g serving of paneer has 265 calories whereas tofu has only 62 calories for the same amount. This proves tofu’s potential to be a great weight loss food.

Carb content

Although made from milk, paneer still is lower in carb content as compared with tofu. With a carbohydrate content of 1.2 g, paneer is an excellent food for diabetics. Tofu has almost double the amount of carbohydrates.

Calcium content

Tofu fails to beat paneer at this too. A 100 g of paneer has 208 mg of calcium whereas 100 g of tofu contains only 130 mg of it. It means paneer is more useful for building strong bones and teeth.

Iron content

While tofu is rich in iron, paneer reduces its bioavailability. Essential for maintaining blood haemoglobin, iron is needed by anaemics. Tofu can help in getting sufficient amounts of it.

Tofu is healthier

So which is healthier, tofu or paneer?

According to the nutritional properties of both, we could say that tofu can replace paneer for people with weight loss goals. However, it won’t be wise to ditch paneer completely because it has its own benefits over tofu. Diabetics on the other hand should not replace paneer with tofu because the latter contains high amount of carbs.

The bottom line:  Tofu and paneer have different nutritional benefits and should be consumed according to your body’s needs. Consult your nutritionist before altering your diet.

Read more articles on Healthy Eating.

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