Is tofu low FODMAP? Yes, but only firm tofu is low FODMAP. But how is tofu low FODMAP when soy isn’t? The answer lies in how soy is processed to make tofu. All you need to know is:
- Firm tofu is low FODMAP at 170g (1 cup);
- Silken tofu is not low FODMAP;
- Some tofu is low FODMAP but not everyone can tolerate it;
- Tofu can be delicious if you cook it the right way and I have just the recipe for you.
Stick around if you want to know how to make delicious low FODMAP tofu in 5 minutes and learn all about tofu & FODMAPs:
- Is Tofu Low FODMAP?
- Why Is Tofu Low FODMAP If Soy Isn’t?
- Which Tofu Is Low FODMAP?
- 5 Minute Vegan Malaysian Low FODMAP Tofu Recipe
- Avoid These High FODMAP Tofus
- What Is Tofu?
- Types of Tofu
- FODMAPs & Tofu FAQ
Is Tofu Low FODMAP?
Yes, tofu can be low FODMAP but only certain types of tofu are low FODMAP. Firm tofu should be tolerated at 170 gram servings or 2/3 cup according to Monash University. Silken or soft tofu tested high in FODMAPs.
The way the soybeans are processed make some soy products like firm tofu a low FODMAP. Firm tofu may be low FODMAP but it’s important to know your tolerances. I am able to eat silken or firm tofu without any issues but I have plenty of friends with IBS that can’t have a tiny bit of tofu because it’ll trigger their IBS symptoms.
Knowing your triggers and portion control and serving size is important with any low FODMAP foods. Speaking of which, you’ll notice that soy is not on the low FODMAP food list and is actually a high FODMAP.
Why Is Tofu Low FODMAP If Soy Isn’t?
The FODMAP content of tofu changes when the soybeans are processed. Firm tofu is pressed and contains less GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides) -a type of FODMAP and water during the pressing process.
Silken tofu is high in FODMAPs because it doesn’t go through a long pressing process and contains more water and GOS. That’s why it’s important to choose firm or pressed tofu over silken tofu.
I can have the recommended amount of serving and more but I know other people with IBS that can’t have traces of tofu or soy in their food even if it’s within the low FODMAP serving size.
We know that the low FODMAP diet is different for everyone. So, tofu might be low FODMAP and okay for IBS but it may not be for you if you have soy intolerance.
Which Tofu Is Low FODMAP?
The less water-soluble GOS in the tofu, the better. Monash recommends 170-160 gram serving sizes for firm tofu. Luckily, tofu packets have labels that help identify the category of tofu. Look out for these low FODMAP tofu:
- Regular tofu
- Smoked tofu
- Fermented tofu
Smoked and fermented tofu have not been tested by Monash but smoked tofu should be low FODMAP because the smoking process dries out the tofu and makes it extra firm.
Fermented tofu should also be low FODMAP (depending on the sauce used) because fermentation reduces FODMAP contents of some foods like sourdough bread. In theory, smoked and fermented tofu should be low FODMAP but it hasn’t been tested yet.
This low FODMAP tofu dish is a classic Malaysian dish that takes minutes to whip up and tastes like a hug in a bowl. It’s a rich coconut milk broth flavored with turmeric and loaded with lots of delicious vegetables.
You can add any veggies you want and it’s the perfect meal to use up random vegetable scraps in the fridge.
Avoid These High FODMAP Tofus
Not all tofu makes it on the low FODMAP list. Monash tested silken tofu and found high FODMAPs.
- Silken tofu: This soft tofu has a higher water-soluble GOS content because it has less water pressed out and is high FODMAP.
- Seasoned tofu: Be wary of pre-seasoned tofu because the seasoning may have high FODMAP ingredients that could’ve changed the FODMAP content. For example, pre-seasoned teriyaki tofu may have garlic powder.
What Is Tofu?
Tofu is a product made from soybeans. It’s a huge part of Asian, vegetarian, and vegan diets. Soybeans are soaked, ground, and strained to produce soy milk. That soy milk is curdled with gypsum. This causes the soy milk to coagulate and form clumps.
These soy clumps are strained and pressed into blocks of tofu that we find all over supermarkets. The process is similar to making cheese. Tofu comes in many varieties and range from silky smooth to chewy and crumbly.
It has very little taste but it’s the best ingredient to soak up flavor in any dish. You can find tofu in desserts like tofu pudding, smoothies, donuts, or savory dishes like curries, stir fries and so much more.
Tofu has a reputation for being boring but it’s actually far from that. Tofu is a versatile ingredient and there are so many types of tofu! There’s more to tofu than silken or firm. In the next section, we’re going to have a look at the different types of tofu.
Types of Tofu
Anyone on a low FODMAP diet will have doubts about tofu being okay but not all tofu. Like cheese, there’s an assortment of tofu varieties.
The most common tofu categories are silken (soft tofu), regular, firm, extra-firm, super-firm, fermented, smoked, and seasoned tofu. There are also other products like tofu puffs, tofu skins, to name a few.
In order of most water content to least:
Silken tofu is the softest kind of tofu. It’s soft and jiggly like jello but melts in your mouth like cream. It has a soft texture because it has less water pressed out. Silken tofu is perfect for soups, and desserts like smoothies, puddings, and even donuts! One of my favorite silken tofu variations is egg tofu.
Regular is not as soft as silken tofu but is more compact and holds its shape. It’s typically used in noodle soups, stews, or broths.
Recently, it’s been used a lot in tofu scrambles. Don’t use regular tofu for stir fry dishes or try to pan fry it. It’ll crumble and turn into a mushy mess. If you want to pan or deep fry some tofu, then firm tofu is the tofu for you.
Out of all the tofu, firm tofu is the most widely available option in supermarkets. It’s pretty sturdy and comes packaged in some liquid. Firm tofu has the texture of feta, it’s not crumbly, not too dry either and easy to chop.
This tofu is perfect for stir frying or deep frying, stews, to be stuffed, used as filling or blended smooth into a spread. Before cooking, drain the liquid and fully dry the tofu on kitchen paper. Make sure it’s completely dry so it can absorb the marinade.
Firm tofu comes in a few varieties and can be smoked or fermented.
Smoked tofu is dry and compact. The tofu is tea leaf smoked and has a light shade of brown with a smokey flavor. The smoking process actually dries up the tofu and moves it to the extra-firm category.
Firm tofu is fermented with bacteria, preserved with a sauce for at least a month or longer.
Extra-firm tofu has a lot less water than firm tofu and that changes the texture. You can use extra-firm tofu the same way you’d use tofu firm tofu in cooking. This tofu is perfect for deep frying or stir fry dishes as it holds its shape. It has a rubbery feel on the outside.
Super-firm tofu has the least amount of water content and it shows in the texture. It’s extremely dense, rubbery, and not the most available tofu option. Super-firm tofu is a great protein rich meat substitute and is perfect for stir fry or deep fried dishes.
Who knew there were so many different kinds of tofu out there? These were only the most popular tofu products. Check out tofupedia for all the different kinds of tofu and tofu-like products.
We’ve answered the important questions like which tofu is high FODMAP and so much more but here are some of the web’s most asked questions when it comes to tofu FODMAPs.
FODMAPs & Tofu FAQ
Following the low FODMAP diet can be a challenge. Just because something is low FODMAP means that you can eat unlimited quantities of it. Serving size and tolerances are a big part of the IBS diet. Let’s have a look at some instances where these two things come into play.
Is Tofu OK For Low FODMAP?
Yes, it is OK for low FODMAP as long as you eat firm only firm or extra firm and know you can tolerate it.
Is Tofu OK For IBS?
Can tofu trigger IBS? Yes and no, tofu IBS isn’t straight forward. Only firm and extra-firm are low FODMAP at 170-160 grams serving sizes. But not everyone’s bowels are the same. Officially, it is low FODMAP but know your tolerances before eating it.
Is Marinated Tofu Low FODMAP?
Most pre-seasoned products contain high FODMAP ingredients. Pre- marinated tofu products should be avoided unless it is FODMAP friendly certified. Marinated tofu is low FODMAP if you marinate it yourself with ingredients that don’t trigger your IBS and use firm or extra-firm tofu.
Can You Have Soy On Low FODMAP?
A low FODMAP diet is not a soy-free diet. Firm and extra-firm tofu are okay, just like tempeh, soy sauce, miso, and edamame beans. There should not be a problem as long as you’re aware of your tolerances and keep within the serving sizes.
Like most legumes, soybeans and soybean products may trigger IBS symptoms. This is because they contain indigestible saccharides and have high amounts of them.
People with IBS should avoid these high FODMAP ingredients or eat small portions to avoid any flare ups.
FODMAP content can change based on how something is processed. For example, wheat is high FODMAP but the fermentation process wheat flour goes through makes sourdough bread low FODMAP.
Regular, firm and extra-firm varieties and some other soy products like tempeh, are low FODMAP because of the process they go through.
Can Tofu Trigger IBS?
Firm tofu is low FODMAP but keep in mind that soybeans are legumes and they can trigger IBS symptoms like bloating. You could eat the recommended serving size but still have symptoms if you are soy intolerant.
Other Vegan Low FODMAP Proteins
Tofu isn’t the only low FODMAP plant based protein, here are 5 other low FODMAP proteins you can try:
- Pea protein
- Soy protein
- Whey protein isolate
That’s the end of our tofu low FODMAP tour, folks. If you take anything away from this article, portion control is important, some tofu is low FODMAP, and don’t rule anything out until you’ve tried it yourself. Try making this low FODMAP tofu recipe for yourself and let us know what you think.
More about FODMAP foods here:
More About Soy & FODMAPs below: