Tofu is pretty popular in most countries around the world, and especially so in Asia. It is produced by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is a component in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines, and is often used as a substitute for meat products in vegetarian and vegan meals.
One thing’s for sure – its not to everyone’s taste. There are some people who outright hate it, and it’s often used as a punchline in vegan-bashing jokes. However, even if you love tofu, and use it in your meals on a regular basis, this story coming out of China might make you re-think how much of it you eat.
A Chinese man went to his local emergency room recently, complaining that he was unable to pass water. After being examined, it transpired that Mr He was suffering from a severe case of kidney stones. It was so bad that doctors rushed him into surgery immediately – they informed their patient that any delay would have meant the kidney would have needed to be removed.
Fortunately, the surgery was a success, and the offending stones were removed. However, Mr He’s case was so extreme that it shocked the experienced surgeon who operated on him.
Dr Wei, the surgeon who treated Mr He, said that he was shocked by the number of kidney stones he found. ‘I have never seen so many stones before. The operation took less than two hours of which 45 minutes was used to remove the stones.’ Doctor said.
‘At the end of the operation I realized my arms and legs were numb. The plate used to collect the stones had at least 420 of them of varying sizes and colored green and yellow.
There’s a picture of the stones below – heads up, it’s pretty gross. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Yikes, no wonder Mr He was in severe discomfort. And that wasn’t all of them, either.
‘These didn’t include the tiny rice sized stones that were taken out using specialist suction equipment and these numbered over 100.’
So what’s this story got to do with tofu? Well, despite its reputation as being a healthy food, it turns out that excessive tofu consumption was almost definitely to blame for this patient’s horrible kidney stones.
Dr Wei explained that bean-based products like tofu, and particularly the variety of tofu sold locally in Dongyang, eastern China, often have a high level of calcium, and this can easily lead to kidney stones through excessive consumption.
Mr He revealed that he had indeed eaten a lot of tofu recently, and was surprised to learn that the stones could be attributed to that. What’s more, lack of water intake will cause the calcium to quickly build up inside the body.
And if you thought having 420 kidney stones removed sounds uncomfortable, Mr He’s ordeal is a long way off the current world record. According to the Guinness World Records, in 2009, a doctor in India removed 172,155 stones from a patient’s left kidney during a three-hour surgery.
That’s pretty amazing. What’s even more astounding is that someone will have had to count those, all the way up to 172,155. I don’t know about you, but there isn’t enough money in the world to make me do that.
Sorry if this story put you off your meal, folks. Pretty interesting though! Have you ever had to have such an operation? Will you be avoiding tofu from now on? Let us know in the comments!
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