Difference Between Tofu and Paneer and their Health Benefit

Tofu and paneer

Difference Between Tofu and Paneer

No introduction needed for the food item paneer in India. Paneer and tofu are similar in appearance, but they are very different in taste, nutrition, fat content and ingredients.

What is Paneer?

Paneer is also known as ‘cottage cheese’ made from coagulated buffalo milk (paneer can be made from cow’s milk but commercial preparation often uses buffalo milk). Paneer is creamy white in color and it is widely available in Indian market.

What is Tofu?

Tofu is known as ‘soy paneer’ or ‘bean curd’ as it is prepared from coagulated soy milk. It is very similar to paneer in appearance.

Nutritional Content

Nutrients Paneer(100gms) Tofu(100gms)
Proteins (gms) 14 10
Fats (gms) 25 5
Carbohydrates (gms) 2 3
Cholesterol (mg) 66 0
Calcium (mg) 480 230
Energy (Kcal) 289 95

Healthy Battle Between Tofu and Paneer

Both tofu and paneer have their own nutritional benefits. It is for the individual to choose the right option depending on his/her health requirement.

From the nutritional constitution study of tofu and paneer, both are rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium which are essential minerals for bone growth and development and also suitable for a human body in different medical conditions.
  • For Weight Loss: Tofu is ideal for people who are on weight loss program because it has low-fat content and is also recommended for those suffering from heart disorders and diabetes.
  • For Lactose Intolerance: The people who suffer from lactose intolerance cannot eat paneer, but they certainly can have tofu in place of paneer.
  • High Protein and Calcium: It is not advisable to completely avoid paneer from the diet because of its high protein and calcium content. Consumption of paneer in moderate quantity is recommended over completely avoiding it.
  • During Pregnancy: Tofu can be beneficial for women suffering a loss of appetite during pregnancy due to morning sickness.
  • Menopause: Tofu is also beneficial in reducing menopausal symptoms and preventing liver damage caused by free radicals. To minimise risk for osteoporosis and other post-menopause-related health conditions often turn to tofu and other soy products.
  • Anti-Ageing Properties: Tofu prevents aging as it contains vegetable proteins which keep the constant complexion of the skin as compared to the animal proteins which opens the skin pore wide.
  • Heart Disease Relaxant: Tofu also provides selenium, a powerful antioxidant and heart healthy omega3 fatty acids. It also contains a good amount of magnesium important for muscle relaxation.

Side effects

Over-consumption is not good and can have following side-effects:


  • Thyroid problems: Soy contains phytoestrogens that are known to block absorption of synthetic thyroid hormone.
  • Cancer: Soy belongs to the category of Phyto-estrogenic plants for it contains compounds that mimic the function of the female hormone estrogen. The soy-derived hormones may potentially cause the malignant tumors to multiply in number.
  • Brain damage, loss of libido, hair loss, weight gain, malaise when consumed in excess.
  • Soy allergies: Soy is among the agricultural crops that have been genetically modified as well. These foods have been linked to the increased incidence of food allergies.


  • Kidney Problems: Paneer may be damaging to kidneys as eating a lot of protein can stress kidneys. While your body needs protein for energy, muscle building and immune function, eating paneer in addition to other foods rich in other proteins may provide too much. Eating a high-protein diet over a long period can put stress on your kidneys, which can decrease the efficiency of its waste removal function.
  • Hypersensitive reactions to dairy products: Side effects of consuming cottage cheese when you have an allergy include skin reactions like hives and itching, facial swelling, breathing trouble and anaphylaxis.
  • Consuming cottage cheese as part of a diet high in sodium can cause hypertension, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Interesting facts

  • Tofu is of Chinese origin, whereas Paneer is of Indian origin.
  • Paneer is always sold fresh, whereas tofu can also be sold processed.
  • Paneer is a type of cheese (milk product), whereas tofu is a soy product.
  • They do not taste same.
  • Paneer is animal protein, tofu is plant protein.
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