To stay in ketosis you have to pay attention to the foods you eat. Find out whether tofu is keto-friendly and in what portion sizes.
Something you need to know first is that different types and recipes of tofu can vary in carb content and in turn, how keto-friendly they are.
That being said, one example of regular tofu contains around 1.6 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) per 100 grams.
Because this will almost never kick you out of ketosis, you can definitely say that tofu is keto-friendly.
In general softer types of tofu will be more keto-friendly but individual brands can vary a lot.
Even some of the tofus higher in carbs tend to be relatively low in carbs although you may have to keep an eye on your portions with these.
Additionally, the impact of tofu on health is entirely clear yet.
Carbs in tofu
To figure out whether tofu is keto-friendly in your situation and in what amounts, you need to know how many carbs it contains.
While individual brands can still vary, there are general tofu categories ranging from silken to extra firm. The number of carbs in these varies.
100 grams of the example regular tofu contain the following amounts of carbs (1):
- Total carbs: 1.9 grams
- Of which fiber: 0.3 grams
- Net carbs: 1.6 grams
In theory, even tiny amounts of carbohydrates are sometimes enough to kick you out of ketosis. In practice, the 1.6 grams of net carbs in tofu will almost never make this happen.
This means it is fair to say that tofu is generally keto-friendly.
100 grams of the example soft tofu contain the following amounts of carbs (2):
- Total carbs: 1.2 grams
- Of which fiber: 0.2 grams
- Net carbs: 1 gram
It is even less likely that soft tofu is the food that gets you out of ketosis. This type of tofu is relatively low in carbs.
100 grams of the example hard tofu contains the following amounts of carbs (3):
- Total carbs: 4.4 grams
- Of which fiber: 0.6 grams
- Net carbs: 3.8 grams
It is just a bit more challenging to fit hard tofu into a ketogenic diet. That being said, it should still be very doable.
I will focus on regular tofu in the rest of this article.
Other nutrition information tofu
How many carbs there are in tofu is important when following a ketogenic diet but other nutrients still matter too.
Fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals can still play a role in whether you stay in ketosis and how good tofu is for other health goals like losing weight.
100 grams of the example tofu contain the following nutrients (1):
- Calories: 76
- Protein: 8.1 grams
- Carbs: 1.9 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 0.3 grams
- Fat: 4.8 grams
- Calcium: 35% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Iron: 30% of the DV
- Manganese: 30% of the DV
- Selenium: 13% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 10% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.
Besides being low in net carbs, tofu also offers a variety of valuable nutrients in nice amounts. This can make it a good option for ketogenic diets.
Carbs in soybeans
While there are some preparation steps between the two, soybeans are the base ingredient of tofu. This could make you wonder how they compare in terms of carb content and keto-friendliness.
|Values Per 100g||Tofu||Boiled Soybeans|
|Total Carbohydrates||1.9 g||7.8 g|
|Of Which Fiber||0.3 g||5.6 g|
|Net Carbs||1.6 g||2.2 g|
As you can see, tofu is just a bit more keto-friendly than boiled soybeans. That being said, both are low enough in carbs for this type of diet.
Why tofu is not always keto-friendly
There are situations where keto-friendly foods like tofu can still kick you out of ketosis. To avoid this happening it can be smart to quickly go over the keto basics.
To get into this state you need to keep your carbohydrate intake below a certain level. Where this level is depends on details like your body weight, muscle mass, genes, and movement habits.
This fact of ketogenic diets makes reality more confusing. However, there are still general guidelines. These are not perfect but help you estimate how much tofu you can still eat on your keto diet.
A typical example of these general guidelines is eating 55%-60% of your calories in fat, 30%-35% in protein, and 5%-10% in carbohydrates.
If you apply these ratios, you will likely conclude that you can eat about 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day.
Keep in mind that you typically don’t include the fiber in tofu and other foods in these amounts. Fiber is a category of carbohydrates but your body deals with it in different ways.
How much tofu can you eat on keto?
With the keto basics above you can start to figure out how much tofu would still fit in your personal situation.
For example, let’s say you conclude that you can eat 27 grams of carbs on keto and that you already ate 25 grams of these in other foods.
In that situation, you can estimate that you can eat at least 100 grams of tofu while still being on a keto diet.
Again, keep in mind that the percentages above are not perfect for everyone. In reality, your body may be able to deal with more or fewer carbs.
Is fried tofu keto?
A way to prepare tofu is by putting some other ingredients on it and frying it. One example of fried tofu contains the following amounts of carbs per 100 grams (7):
- Total carbs: 8.9 grams
- Of which fiber: 3.9 grams
- Net carbs: 5 grams
This example of fried tofu is higher in carbs than the regular version but it is likely still keto-friendly in reasonable amounts.
That being said, something important to note is that some fried tofu recipes include a lot of bread crumbs and similar ingredients.
These recipes are generally not that keto-friendly.
In simpler words, you want to double-check the carbs in the fried tofu recipe you are considering to make sure it still fits into your ketogenic diet.
Why do you follow a ketogenic diet?
There are situations where even the small amounts of carbs in tofu are the thing that gets you out of ketosis. How much of an issue this is depends on why you follow a ketogenic diet.
For example, there are people who need/want to stay in ketosis 24/7. If you are in this category, you can likely still eat a nice amount of tofu but you want to be careful about the other things you eat.
On the other hand, if you are trying to lose weight, tofu can still be a helpful food option if it kicks you out of ketosis. Ketogenic diets are typically not the only way to achieve this goal.
In terms of health, the effects of tofu are not 100% clear yet. If you want to play it safe, you can consider other food options too.
Is tofu carb heavy?
100 grams of one example of regular tofu contain 1.9 grams of carbohydrates (including 0.3 grams of fiber). In turn, it is fair to say that tofu is not carb heavy. It is even low-carb.
Is tofu considered a carb or protein?
Since tofu is so low in carbs, it will generally be more of a protein source. That being said, there are many foods higher in protein too.