Soup diets are becoming an increasingly popular way to lose weight.
The premise of these diets is straightforward: eat large amounts of soup, plus a limited amount of fruits, vegetables, and other foods, for one week—sometimes longer.
But starting a diet like this raises plenty of questions too. Are soup diets safe? Is there research to back up their effectiveness? And are they a healthy way to lose weight? Let’s find out.
Do Soup Diets Work?
Most soups are low in calories and fat and hearty enough to fill you up. The question is, what type of empirical evidence is there to back up their efficacy? Several studies have shown that eating soup before a big meal can decrease hunger, increase fullness, and reduce the amount of food you eat during your next meal as well.
The science behind this is quite simple: when your body is hungry, it releases a hormone called ghrelin. Consuming liquids like soup makes your stomach empty more slowly, which shuts down your body’s ghrelin-releasing signals for significantly longer then solid food.
So technically speaking, eating soup on a regular basis as part of a healthy diet is an effective way to lose weight. However, let’s dig a bit deeper and look into some potential issues.
Potential Problems With Soup Diets
There are some soup diets that promise 10-15 pounds of weight loss in a week. Here are potential problems with those types of soup diets:
- While you very well may lose weight on a soup diet, there is always a risk of weight rebound after you return to your normal diet… usually within a few weeks.
- A diet consisting solely of soup, depending on the content of the soup, may not be a healthy way to eat … and some soup diet plans can be downright dangerous for your health because of the lack of balanced, nutritious meals, according to health experts.
- Soup is generally high in sodium, and eating a diet that’s extremely low in calories but high in salt is definitely not healthy.
What to Eat Instead
Soup can be an effective ally to help you lose or maintain weight if you make it a part of a balanced, whole food diet plan … especially when you make them yourself.
Most store-bought, canned soups are highly processed and filled with excess sodium and artificial ingredients.
So why not whip up a bowl of soup yourself instead every night? It’s easier than you think. Grab a container of chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium preferably), add some fresh, chopped veggies, and toss everything in a pot until the veggies are cooked.
Experiment by blending veggies, adding fresh herbs and spices for flavor and balance, and using different broths.