What are tempeh benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are tempeh pros and cons and how buying it will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers.
Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on tempeh benefits and side effects.
You are going to learn all about tempeh benefits and side effects. This will include tempeh benefits for your health and potential risks, tempeh water footprint and tempeh carbon footprint, tempeh sustainability, if tempeh is vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more.
After learning if tempeh is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about tempeh benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Must-Know Tempeh Benefits And Side Effects
Tempeh health benefits include:
- boosted metabolism
- decreased hunger
- increased feelings of fullness
- better digestion and nutrient absorption
- combat free radicals
- bone strength, density and bone loss prevention
- lower cholesterol levels
- less inflammation
- reduced risk of diseases including diabetes, heart disease and cancer
- reduced eczema symptoms
- weight loss
Great news! There are no major or notable tempeh side effects. However, those with a soy allergy or impaired thyroid function should limit their consumption of tempeh.
Additionally, tempeh is…
- Alkaline pH level once digested
- Gluten Free
- Common Food Allergen: SOY
- A Fermented Food
- A Low-FODMAP Food
Water footprint: likely low, 2,145 liters of water used to produce 1 kilogram of soybeans / 257 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of soybeans
Carbon footprint: likely moderate, 2.0 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of soybeans, a car driving equivalent of 5 miles or 8 kilometers
Destruction: moderate, the two top producing soya producing countries are the US and Brazil, together they produce about 64% of the world’s supply, soya is Brazil’s biggest export by value, there are serious concerns about how much of it is behind deforestation in the Amazon and surrounding regions, however most of the world’s soya is fed to livestock, only 6% of it is eaten directly by humans, eating soy is much better for the environment than eating animal products, soya may also be planted on Amazon land previously deforested for cattle, be sure to buy organic, as pesticides contaminate soil, water, air, etc., for soy it is best to buy products sustainably grown and not products of Brazil
- Sustainable, unless soy is a product of Brazil (Amazon)
Kills: none, tempeh production does not require any animals to be killed
Harms: none, tempeh production does not require any animals to be used
Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from tempeh production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
- Harmful to wildlife and ecosystems unless organic
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May involve worker exploitation, laborer issues, human rights concerns
Worldwide, the United States produces the most soy followed by Brazil, Argentina, China, India, Paraguay, Canada and Ukraine.
In the United States, Iowa reported the largest number of acres planted to certified organic soybeans followed by Minnesota and Michigan.
98% percent of soybean meal is used for animal feed (poultry, hogs and cattle mostly) and only 1% is used to produce food for people. Around 70% of soybeans grown in the United States are used for animal feed, poultry being the number one livestock sector consuming soybeans, followed by hogs, dairy, beef and aquaculture.
Yes! Tempeh is a good source of protein, iron, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. It is also low in carbs and sodium.
tempeh is alkaline. tempeh benefits include fitting into an alkaline diet.
Is tempeh alkaline or acidic?
Tempeh is alkaline. Soy beans that are the entire bean and fermented (opposed to curdled) are alkaline foods.
When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.
Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List
tempeh is gluten free.
Is tempeh gluten free? Yes, tempeh is gluten free. Tempeh does not contain gluten. Tempeh is fermented soybeans, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:
- recurring abdominal pain
- chronic diarrhea
- numbness in hands and feet
- chronic fatigue
- joint pain
- unexplained infertility
- low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
tempeh is a common food allergen: soy.
Is tempeh a common food allergen? Yes, tempeh is a common food allergen: soy. Many people may experience allergic reactions to tempeh.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
- crustacean shellfish
- tree nuts
These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
tempeh is a fermented food. tempeh benefits include gut heath.
Is tempeh fermented? Yes, tempeh is a fermented food.
Foods that are fermented use an old process that can extend shelf life, provide healthy probiotics and add nutritional value. One notable nutrient that can be acquired is vitamin B12 -especially desirable for vegans and vegetarians, as it typically cannot be found in plant foods.
Fermented foods help the body digest food, fight off bad bacteria, make certain vitamins, maintain a healthy balance, and restore gut health after taking antibiotics.
When too many bad gut microbes exist it can create an imbalance between beneficial and harmful gut bacteria, which leads to health problems. In some cases intestinal walls can weaken and their contents may leak into the bloodstream, commonly referred to as leaky gut syndrome. Fermented foods are known to strengthen intestinal walls.
For optimal gut health and overall wellbeing fermented foods are a great daily addition to your diet. Common fermented foods include: kefir, tempeh, natto, kombucha, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt.
Check out this Fermented Foods List to see them all.
tempeh is a low-fodmap food.
Is tempeh FODMAP friendly?
Yes. Tempeh is a low-FODMAP food and fit into a low-FODMAP diet.
A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.
See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Food
tempeh likely has a low water footprint.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!
We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
tempeh likely has a moderate carbon footprint.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…
- farm equipment
- animal feed production
- hothouses (greenhouses)
- food processing
- package waste and more
But that’s not all!
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
tempeh is sustainable (unless soy is from Brazil).
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.
Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’
tempeh is vegan. tempeh benefits include not using animals for production.
Is tempeh vegan?
Yes, tempeh is vegan. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food.
Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.
Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.
Go vegan for animals!
It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List
tempeh is a product that may or may not have labor issues.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade‘
This post was all about tempeh benefits and side effects.
Crediting Tempeh in the Child Nutrition Programs | USDA-FNS
Tempeh – FoodData Central – USDA
Harvard Medical School: Fermented foods can add depth to your diet