Battle Of The Vegans: Tofu Vs Paneer

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Published on: 23-Nov-2022

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Anjali Dwivedi

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Battle Of The Vegans: Tofu Vs Paneer

Battle Of The Vegans: Tofu Vs Paneer

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Cottage cheese (also known as paneer) has been a favourite among vegetarians for a long time. Tofu and soy paneer, however, have recently come into the limelight due to their increased prevalence on restaurant menus.
Paneer is a fresh cheese traditionally used in Indian cooking. It can be prepared from either cow's or goat's milk. Instead, soybean milk is used to create tofu. Both provide essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, and iron, that help muscle gain.

Since it is not made with animal byproducts, vegans may safely consume tofu. But, even if they are interchangeable in the kitchen, does one offer more health benefits than the other?

Table Of Contents

1. What Is Tofu?

2. What Is Paneer?

3. The Nutritional Content Of Tofu And Paneer

4. Health Benefits Of Tofu

5. Health Benefits Of Paneer

6. Difference Between Tofu And Paneer

7. Dietitian’s Recommendations

8. The Final Say

9. FAQs

What Is Tofu?

Tofu is a vegan food made from soybean milk and hence, is also called bean curd. Soft tofu, silken tofu, firm tofu (made using a tofu press), and fermented tofu are some of the varieties available, each with its distinct texture and application.

It originated in China and quickly became a staple food in various Southeast Asian cuisines. It is a common sight in Western supermarkets and restaurant menus.

What Is Paneer?

Paneer is a type of cheese known as Indian cheese due to its origin. It is made from cow, goat, or buffalo milk. It begins the curdling process with lemon juice. Unlike many traditional Western kinds of cheese that use animal rennet for this purpose, it is vegetarian-friendly.

Freshly sold in market stalls across India for generations, it has recently become more widely available, particularly in specialist Indian food shops.

The Nutritional Content Of Tofu And Paneer

What we mean by better determines whether paneer or tofu is superior. This is because the two foods have several nutritional differences. So, depending on your dietary needs, training regimen, fitness goals, and weight loss goals, you may be better off using one.

Tofu and paneer are both high in protein and are frequently used in vegetarian dishes. However, they also have varying amounts of the same micronutrients. 

The Nutritional Values Of Tofu

Tofu is high in protein and contains all the amino acids the body requires. It also has fats, carbohydrates, and several vitamins and minerals.

100 g of tofu contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories- 76 kcal
  • Protein - 17g
  • Carbohydrates - 3g
  • Fibre - 2g
  • Fat - 9g  
  • It also includes 53% of the daily value of calcium, 51% of manganese, 42% of copper, 18% of vitamin A, and 14% of magnesium.

Tofu is high in nutrients because it contains a lot of them in a small number of calories. However, its nutrient content varies depending on the coagulant used. Nigari-set tofu, for example, has slightly more fat and potassium than calcium-set tofu but less protein, fibre, and calcium.

The Nutritional Value Of Paneer

100 g of paneer contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories - 270kcal
  • Fat - 20.8g  
  • Carbohydrates - 1.2g 
  • Protein - 21g
  • Calcium - 208mg

Because of its high calcium and protein content, paneer has a high nutritional value. It provides instant energy to the body and aids in various bodily functions. In addition, 

Paneer contains a lot of selenium and potassium, which are suitable for your mental and physical health. Potassium, for example, helps to prevent memory loss, whereas selenium helps to treat infertility.

Health Benefits Of Tofu

Tofu provides several health advantages, such as:

1. Beneficial For Cardiovascular Diseases 

Soy isoflavones have been found to help reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels but not to increase HDL (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels). 

LDL is known to be bad, whereas HDL is known to be good. Tofu, as an alternative to animal protein, can aid in the reduction of LDL cholesterol levels. As a result, the risk of atherosclerosis and hypertension can be reduced.

2. Helps Lose Or Manage Weight 

As it has fewer calories and is very low in cholesterol and fat. It helps to prevent obesity and lose weight.

3. Keeps Bones Stronger 

Recent research suggests that soy isoflavones found in tofu may help reduce bone loss and increase bone mineral density.

4. Aids In The Management Of Type 2 Diabetes 

 People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop kidney disease, which causes the body to excrete an excess of protein in the urine.

According to research conducted by NIN (National Institute Of Nutrition), people who only consumed soy protein in their diet excreted less protein than those who only consumed animal protein. As a result, the researchers believe this could benefit type 2, diabetes patients. 

Health Benefits Of Paneer

Paneer also has many health advantages and is commonly used in Indian households. Some of its benefits are as follows:

1. Strong Immunity

Paneer promotes the development of a strong immune system, especially in children. Most respiratory ailments, such as asthma and bronchitis, can be controlled by regularly consuming paneer. 

It boosts haemoglobin production and aids in the development of a strong immune system. In addition, paneer's vitamin B complex is essential for growing children because it improves concentration and memory.

2. Aids Smooth Functioning Of The Digestive System

Paneer is high in minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium, which are required for the digestive system to function correctly. Phosphorus aids digestion and excretion, whereas magnesium acts as a laxative.

3. Helps In Weight Loss

A strict weight loss plan includes extensive exercise and a low-calorie, high-protein diet.  Meals high in protein and low in calories can work wonders for weight loss. It also boosts metabolism due to its high dietary fibre content. 

In addition, because it is high in protein, it takes longer to digest, creating a feeling of fullness. It also increases levels of appetite-reducing hormones, which leads to fewer cravings and thus aids weight loss.

4. Better Bones And Teeth

It is an excellent source of bone-strengthening due to its high calcium and vitamin D content. Paneer can benefit anyone, regardless of age or gender, for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is also essential for the proper functioning of the nervous and muscular systems.

5. Gains And Building Muscles

Leucine, an essential amino acid for muscle growth, is abundant in paneer. According to studies conducted by NIN, leucine can aid muscle growth and even prevent natural muscle deterioration, a normal part of the ageing process. 

The protein in cottage cheese is slowly digested, and it aids in muscle maintenance. Many nutritionists include high amounts of paneer in the diets of individuals working towards muscle gain since it is easily accessible for all.  

6. Might Help Fight Cancer

According to recent research, paneer can potentially reduce cancer's causes or risk factors. In addition, it is expected to be highly effective in treating stomach, colon, and even breast cancer.

Difference Between Tofu And Paneer

When it comes to tofu vs paneer, the word healthier does not mean that one is better than the other. It is simply a matter of making a more informed decision between tofu and paneer while keeping caloric values, nutritional factors, and fitness goals in mind. If you are looking for healthier options, let us quickly see what tofu and paneer have to say.

1. More Protein- Tofu has more protein than paneer because of the complex process of its making. It keeps more protein than paneer, which has a moderate protein content. So, in the tofu vs paneer protein comparison, tofu comes out on top.

2. Milk and Soy-  If you are allergic to soybeans, you should avoid tofu and instead opt for paneer. Soy Milk is used to make tofu, and whole-fat milk or cow milk is used to make paneer. However, if you are a vegan, choose tofu because it is one of the best vegan protein sources.

3. Calorie Values-  Paneer has over 300 calories per 100g and an additional 200 calories from fat. Tofu has fewer than 100 calories and no added fatty calories.

4. Zero Cholesterol-  Tofu proudly stays at 0 cholesterol levels, whereas paneer can go up to 90 mg in 100 g.

5. Nutritional Values-  Let us also compare tofu vs paneer nutrition. Besides calcium, tofu contains essential amino acids and vitamin B1. Paneer contains magnesium and potassium as well.

How To Add Tofu Or Paneer To Diet?

Tofu and paneer can be stir-fried and used in salads, sauces, and desserts. Paneer bhurji or tofu bhurji can also be made and served in a roti roll. Dieters should incorporate more tofu into their diet. 

While tofu is said to be a healthier option, that does not mean you have to give up paneer. Instead, eat smaller portions so neither of them negatively impacts your health. Add a little bit of both, and you will be fine.

Dietitian’s Recommendations

Tofu is a much healthier alternative to paneer. 100g of tofu contains approximately 60-65 calories, whereas 100g of paneer may contain approximately 260 calories. Tofu has a higher iron content than paneer.

Both contain an adequate amount of protein. I recommend paneer if you want to build muscles because it has a high calcium and protein content, and tofu for people who want to lose weight and eat light. Tofu is also recommended by many health experts for diabetics and heart patients.

                                     -Dietitian Lavina Chauhan

The Final Say

A healthy choice between Tofu, and Paneer means making an informed fitness decision, not that one is healthier. You can compare the differences between tofu and paneer and find out that tofu is the clear winner if you look for overall benefits. . Still, if you are looking for only high protein content, then paneer will be the winner. 

Our end goal should be looking for ways to improve the nutritional value of the food we consume. For an even more vital decision and better results, consult a dietitian for a personalised diet plan that contains either tofu or paneer that suits your body and lifestyle.

FAQs

1. Can tofu be used as paneer?

Both have a relatively neutral taste but are good at absorbing the flavours of whatever sauce or spices they are cooked in. In addition, both have a similar texture, and both can be stored in the same way. 

So, in general, it is fine to substitute one for the other in most recipes. However, there are some crucial differences between tofu and paneer nutrition which we have already discussed above.

2.  Does tofu have more protein than paneer?

No, it does not. It is unsurprising that paneer is in the lead regarding protein content as a dairy product.

The protein in paneer outweighs the protein in tofu by a factor of around 3 (18.3g per 100g versus 6.9g per 100g). As it is plant-based, tofu protein is suitable for consumption by those following a vegan diet.

3. Does tofu taste like paneer?

Tofu does not taste like paneer. It is a relatively flavourless food. The beauty of tofu is that it absorbs the flavours of all food, sauces, and seasonings. While paneer does the same thing, tofu does better.

Paneer has a sour taste, which is also milky, whereas tofu has more of a bean taste.

4. Can tofu be cooked like paneer?

Extra firm tofu is a perfect substitution for paneer, with its mild flavour and soft and slightly crumbly texture (probably why tofu is so good in Indian curries).

Here it is lightly pan-fried with salt and garam masala until the edges take on a light golden hue while the insides remain delectably tender.

5.  Who should not eat tofu?

Avoid tofu if you take medicines called MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) for mood disorders or Parkinson's disease. 

Tofu contains tyramine, an amino acid that helps balance your blood pressure. MAOIs block the enzyme that breaks tyramine down. Combine the two, and your blood pressure could get dangerously high.

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