Tofu Or Paneer: Know Which One Is Healthier And Why?

Paneer has been a favourite dairy product in Indian kitchens, but another ingredient is slowly making it's way in- tofu. Here are nutritional benefits

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaUpdated at: Sep 14, 2021 12:49 IST
Tofu Or Paneer: Know Which One Is Healthier And Why?

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People often asked if tofu can be replaced with paneer or if there’s any difference in the two. The answer is that the two are only visibly alike. While tofu also known as bean curd is a food prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into white concrete blocks of varying softness, paneer is made by curding whole or skimmed milk and pushing it into firm blocks. This results in both looking much alike. However, this is where the similarity ends. 

What is the first thing to remark? One must note that both are made of vastly varying ingredients- Soy and Milk. And while both are rich sources of protein, they have a vastly different flavour and aroma palette. Many can not stand the smell of tofu, especially since it is not a staple Indian food. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dietician Shikha Mahajan, founder of Diet Podium, about the difference between tofu and paneer, and which one is healthier. 

Tofu nutrition facts


Image source: Seriouseats

Tofu is pure protein and much lesser in calories. ofu is also richer in iron content, vitamin B1, and provides all essential amino acids which paneer does not. Tofu is the only vegetarian protein source that provides all essential amino acids. Tofu also has 0 cholesterol. Here are the nutritional facts of tofu:


Pneer nutritional facts

Paneer tends to have a higher content of fat and carbohydrates, making it higher in calories for the same quantity. Paneer being fat-rich is much higher in cholesterol levels. Here are the nutritional facts of paneer:


Image source: Olivemagazine

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Tofu health benefits

According to Dt. Shikha, here are the health benefits of tofu:

  • Good source of protein
  • Prevents cardiovascular disease
  • Improves bone health
  • Prevents prostate cancer

Paneer health benefits

As per Dt. Shikha, here are the health benefits of paneer: 

  • Builds better teeth and bones
  • Aids digestion
  • Rich in protein
  • Maintains blood sugar levels

How to pick between paneer and tofu? Explains Dt. Shikha Mahajan, founder of Diet Podium

  • Many can be lactose intolerant and unable to digest paneer. Tofu is a godsend for those who missed out on the easy paneer protein and the delicious Indian meals of paneer palak and matar paneer. There are, on the other hand, those who can tend to be allergic or intolerant to soy products, including tofu. This is one of the most critical factors in picking between paneer and tofu.
  • It should be noted that those with hypothyroidism, endometriosis, breast cancer, gynecomastia, kidney stones etc. are advised to avoid soy as the effects of soy are shown to be negative on these people. Moreover, those who are asthmatic, have hay fever, are diabetic or have cystic fibrosis are more prone to reactions with soy and need to avoid it.
  • Unfortunately, soy and tofu have shown to interact negatively with various medications, including birth control, estrogen, blood thinners, antibiotics and many more. This generally means that soy can not be considered a good protein source for the sick who need it to recover.

So which one is healthier, Tofu or Paneer?

All these make tofu a right choice for those who may not be allergic but need a lean source of balanced protein. One must remember that choosing between tofu and paneer is a tough one because both are highly nutritive and not junk foods. The right option depends from person to person. If one is allergic to either or has some medical reasons for not being able to consume one of these, they can easily swap it with the other. The only thing to note is that while you exchange your paneer and tofu with each other, do remember to recalculate your protein or caloric intake.

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