FoodSize: Turkey vs. Tofurkey Protein and Carboyhdrate Comparisons

Turkey. Tofurkey. Why does Turkey have two more letters? It’s code for made from soy products. Tofurkey is sold and marketed just like the real turkey. Packaged in the same slices as lunch meats, displayed to look like deli meat sandwiches. The Tofurkey did it’s best to look like it was meat, but is has no meat, it’s a vegan mix of soy flavored to taste like meat.

I had my chicken breast sliced for me at a local deli. It was recently roasted and deli sliced, nothing but turkey. Fresh, juicy, thick cuts of chicken breast tender enough to slightly break apart… Then there came the Tofurkey. It took a knife to get it out of its space tight packaging. They are slimy slices stuck together with slime and they smell. They are nothing like meat, nothing like the box displays. Does the Tofurkey taste like the real turkey? I could not tell you, as I couldn’t stomach eating the Tofurkey and was not willing to taste it, based on sense of smell alone.

To take a closer look at things, I asked the help of my friend Karen Pendergrass over at to help me understand what exactly is going on with this fake meat, stuff?

Karen, from Paleo Approved writes:

Those who eschew animal products turn to other foods to meet dietary requirements for protein, but what are they actually bargaining for? Let’s take a closer look at faux-turkey for this lesson on lunch “meat”.

Faux-turkey is made from a variety of different ingredients, namely soy, “vital” wheat gluten, and canola oil. In terms of allergenicity and immunogenicity, faux-turkey is a Molotov Cocktail of a food. To clarify, that’s not a good thing.

Tofu is a curd made from mashed soybeans(1), and soy has 28 proteins that bind to IgE antibodies and is therefore highly allergenic(2). Soy is also immunogenic(3).The phytates in soy also block the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, and contain levels of phytoestrogens(2) that should make any endocrinologist shriek.

“Vital” Gluten. The word vital is extraneous, and ultimately erroneous. Gluten is neither vital nor inherently good. Gluten is immunogenic(4), and gliadin is an allergen that can cause a reaction anywhere from a rash to anaphylaxis (4). “Vital” is a catchy marketing buzzword. Oxygen is vital. Water is vital. Gluten, however, is not.

Next we have Canola Oil— what is a canola, anyway? Interestingly enough, Canola comes from the words “Canada” and “oil,” and is a genetically engineered rapeseed plant(5). Rapeseed oil is known to be “toxic to humans and other animals,” but Canada paid the FDA $50,000,000 to have rapeseed considered a “safe” plant (5). However, studies from the National Institute of Health (NIH) concluded that asthma was an occupational hazard of those exposed to rapeseed, and “serum specific IgE antibody to oilseed rape antigen was detected (6)” so not only is it allergenic, it has also been found to be immunogenic as well(7).

Now we know about faux-turkey. What about real turkey? Well, it’s a real food for starters. Provided that the turkey consumed a diet that was suited to its species and wasn’t fed corn, it is hypo-allergenic, and provides essential amino acids(2). To clarify, this is a good thing. Following a diet similar to that our Paleolithic ancestors, you can be assured of a hypo-allergenic and hypo-immunogenic diet that includes ample sources of bioavailable protein, and no faux-foods. ”

Editor’s note: For more great Food Size infographics, visit  Also, make sure to check out Paleo Approved for more paleo nutrition advice.


  1. What is Tofu?
  3. Immunogenicity of soy:
  4. Immunogenicity of wheat:
  5. Canola Oil and the Canadian Government:
  6. Allergenicity of rapeseed:
  7. Immunogenicity of rapeseed:



Jason Crouch is the owner of, an educational blog that aims to teach portion and serving sizes through the use of pictures. Jason is a graduate of the Dietetic Technology program at Gateway Community College in New Haven, CT, an ADA/CADE approved nutrition program. FoodSize can also be found on Facebook for daily updates and commentary.

9 thoughts on “FoodSize: Turkey vs. Tofurkey Protein and Carboyhdrate Comparisons

  • March 3, 2013 at 7:57 am

    I thing nothing can compare to real turkey meat .The soy products dont worth but this is only my opinion

  • October 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Interesting article!!!!!

    Recently, I learned about tofurkey on another blog post. Has anyone here tasted it? I would like to hear how it tastes.


  • Pingback: Turkey Vs. Tofurky: What’s Really Healthier? | Blisstree

  • June 30, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    The information published in this article is incomplete, biased, and inaccurate and it is suggested that anyone seriously interested in this subject do their own research to get to the truth.

    • May 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Jarret, I was unable to taste the Tofurkey. The smell and consistency turned me off and I quite frankly couldn’t imagine eating even a bite of it, especially knowing what it’s made out of.

  • May 1, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Both pictures look disgusting and both foods should be avoided. GROSS!

  • April 30, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Even looking at the pictures of the fake meat.. looks sick for some reason. I cant believe there is market demand for anything like that. Ok, I take that back, I cant believe FDA agrees with this kind of practices…

  • April 30, 2011 at 9:37 am

    “I had my chicken breast sliced for me at a local deli. It was recently roasted and deli sliced, nothing but turkey. Fresh, juicy, thick cuts of chicken breast tender enough to slightly break apart… ”

    First it’s turkey, then chicken, then turkey, then chicken. I think the article needs a bit of editing?

    I want to share it but it makes us look like we don’t know what we’re talking about when we can’t get the name of the animal right.


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