Amongst soy-based foods, tempeh has the highest content of the toxic metal cadmium

In January 2020 researchers from the Czech Republic published the results of their study to assess the weekly dietary intake of cadmium from soybeans (or soya beans). A total of 119 individuals, including vegetarians, vegans and non-vegetarians, were involved in the study. Dietary information was collected via a food frequency questionnaire, and the body weight was assessed. The cadmium content in soy-based foods available on the market was also assessed. Results showed that tofu, as the most frequently consumed food item in the vegetarian/vegan group, contributed most to the total dietary cadmium intake and contained 7.6 μg cadmium/kg. However, the food item with the highest cadmium content was tempeh at 18.1 μg/kg. A further analysis revealed that vegans had the highest average dietary cadmium intake per week from soy-based foods and was 0.4 μg/kg bodyweight. The consumption of soy-based foods was the lowest in the non-vegetarian group as was the dietary intake of cadmium, which was at 0.04 μg/kg bodyweight per week.

(According to the European Food Safety Authority’s Panel on contaminants in the food chain the tolerable weekly intake for cadmium is 2.5 µg/kg bodyweight, which is the level at which adverse effects are not expected.)

Kosečková P et al. Estimation of cadmium load from soybeans and soy-based foods for vegetarians. Environ Monit Assess. 2020 Jan 4;192(2):89.

Leave a Reply