Souping is the new juicing. And, at first glance, this trend sounds less extreme—and tastier—than its liquid predecessor. C’mon, who doesn’t love a good bowl of soup?
While there’s no one way to get your slurp on, souping (a.k.a. soup cleanses) can range from simply incorporating a bowl of soup into your daily diet to eating, er, drinking, all of your meals in soup-form for days on end.
But will it help you lose weight? And is it even healthy? We turned to Dr Tori Holthaus to find out.
Filling up on soup has consistently been linked to weight loss. A recent British Journal of Nutrition study surveyed more than 20,000 adults and found that, on average, soup eaters weighed less and had smaller waists than those who didn’t regularly eat soup. They also found that soup eaters consistently followed healthier eating habits and consumed fewer kilojoules than those who preferred solids.
That’s likely because many soups are packed with veggies and lean protein, and tend to be low-kJ, fibre-rich, hydrating, and super-filling, says Holthaus. Case in point: One Appetite study found that people who had chicken soup as an starter to all-you-can-eat pizza ate 20 per cent fewer kJs overall.
How Does It Work?
To soup, you can whip up batches upon batches of homemade veggie-packed soup (fire up the slow cooker!) or turn to soup cleanse companies. They’ll deliver pre-made bottles of soup, and then you can sip them straight or heat them up. Most varieties are vegan, rich in vegetables, low-calorie, and unlike a lot of juices, they aren’t packed with sugar.
It’s important to note that most pre-made soups contain no meat or dairy. Though some incorporate beans, lentils, and other legumes, they often run low in terms of protein, which is necessary for maintaining muscle during weight loss.
Slurp the Right Way
Technically, you should always read your food’s nutrition labels, but when it comes to commercial souping bottles, it’s non-negotiable, says Holthaus.
Otherwise, you can’t be sure that you're not following a harmful fad diet. If a brand doesn’t let you read its products’ nutrition facts before you buy—many don’t—that’s a serious red flag.
Whether you buy bottles or make your soup from scratch, we still don’t recommend eating soup for every meal. “Liquid nutrition can be helpful when it comes to supplementing your diet or squeezing in extra vegetables, but going on an all-liquid diet is unsustainable at best and detrimental at worst,” she says.
After all, for any diet to really be healthy, it has to be doable and promote a healthy relationship with food. Drinking all of your meals probably doesn’t qualify as either, she says.
So, yeah, if you want, go ahead and eat more soup. But remember that you have teeth for a reason.