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Andrea Glenn,Susan Campisi
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Roxanne Bennett
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Evaluation of Calcium Content in Tofu Products and Comparison with Canadian Nutrient File
Names, Organizational Affiliations, and Locations of all Authors
R Bennett¹
R Sekhon²
M Kalergis¹
¹Dairy Farmers of Canada, Montreal, QC; ²School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Montreal, QC
In May 2022, Health Canada released “Applying Canada's Dietary Guidelines”, additional information to help health professionals/policymakers apply the 2019 dietary guidelines. Among suggested foods to support specific nutrient needs, tofu is listed as a food with a high calcium content to help achieve increased requirements in several age groups.
Objective(s)/Process or Summary of Content
To evaluate and compare calcium contents of in-store tofu products with Canadian Nutrient File (CNF) reference values. To validate whether various tofu in the current marketplace can be considered to have a high calcium content.
Method(s)/Systemic Approach Used
In May 2022, data on tofu were collected using front-and-back label photographs in local and Asian grocery stores/supermarkets in: Quebec, Alberta, the Maritimes, Manitoba. Products were categorized according to firmness/coagulant and compared to corresponding CNF products. Information on nutritional labels determined if the item qualified for a “high in” calcium claim (≥15% Daily Value/≥195 mg per 85g reference amount [RA]) per Health Canada regulations. Products indicating calcium ≥300mg per RA underwent nutritional analysis by a certified laboratory.
Out of 92 tofu products, 65% had no CNF equivalent. Of those with a CNF equivalent, 80% (n=24) contained less calcium than the corresponding CNF product. Almost all products used a calcium coagulant yet 80% didn’t reach the conditions for a ‘high in’ calcium claim. Nine products underwent nutrient analysis: 33% displayed accurate (±20%) calcium values on their label and only 66% actually qualified for the ‘high in’ calcium claim.
Most tofu products found in-store use calcium coagulants yet are ineligible for a ‘high in’ calcium claim. Calcium content of tofu may be below label value.
Significance to Dietetics
Although Canada’s dietary guidelines recommend tofu (prepared with calcium) as a food high in calcium, caution is advised as the calcium content of in-store products varies substantially and most do not qualify as being “high in” calcium.
Funded by
Dairy Farmers of Canada
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