The Soup Cleanse Diet for weight loss
Soup is the ultimate comfort food on a cold winter day. But here we are into spring and I am being asked if consuming soup all day long will help you lose weight. Having been brought up in the Jewish culture I have always accepted the fact that chicken soup is the cure for all ailments, from healing the gut to treating the common cold. However, I had never heard of using soup as a dietary cleanse.
“Souping” is a recent fad that involves eating blended soups, usually plant based, for a certain number of days to increase energy, boost mood, improve complexion and banish body fat, among many other things that cleanses claim to do.
Soup cleanses vary. Some programs advise replacing all daily meals and snacks with soup while other plans recommend pairing soup with small meals throughout the day. Other regimens rotate days of souping with days of eating healthy non-soup meals.
There is no shortage of diet books offering soup-based cleansing plans and recipes. And if you’re too busy to make soup from scratch you can go to the supermarket and choose from hundreds of kinds. (Personally I like Healthy Planet found in the refrigerated section because they are all natural ingredients with no preservatives). For the younger tech-savvy generation, you can order soup cleanses on line.
An all-soup cleanse is promoted as a healthier alternative to juicing. Unlike juice, ingredients in soup such as vegetables, beans and lentils, supply filling protein and fibre, which keep you feeling satisfied longer. They also supply a wider range of nutrients. Depending on your usual diet and how much you weigh, you may lose a few pounds by souping.
Vegetable and bean soups typically deliver 150 to 200 calories for a one-cup serving. So, a day’s worth of soup can provide anywhere from 900 to 1200 calories, fewer calories than most people would eat in a day.
It’s also fewer calories than I would recommend for healthy weight loss: typically 1400 to 1600 daily for women and 1900 to 2200 for men. Consuming too few calories can cause muscle loss, an effect that slows the body’s resting metabolism, making it harder to lose weight and easier to gain it back.
(Resting metabolism is the number of calories the body burns at rest to perform its normal functions, such as breathing and keeping your heart and brain working.)
For this reason, I don’t recommend following a low- caloric soup cleanse for more than a few days. As well, any short-term diet isn’t a long-lasting solution to weight control.
The best way to stick to this diet is to make a batch of soup on Sunday for weekday lunches. This helps you with your intake of plant-based protein (e.g. beans, lentils), vegetables, anti-oxidant-rich herbs and spices and water too. Soup will keep you feeling full longer than a salad with chicken, and, in most cases, it does so with fewer calories.
Research suggests that you don’t need to swap soup for a day’s worth of calories to lose weight.
Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that among 200 over-weight men and women, those who included two servings of soup in a calorie-reduced diet lost 50 per cent more weight over one year than did study participants who ate two calorie-equivalent servings of a dry snack (e.g. crackers, pretzels) instead of the soup.
Soup’s volume of liquid helps you feel satiated for fewer calories. To be effective, though, you need to choose a broth-based soup that’s fairly low in calories.
WHAT ABOUT BONE BROTH?
Bone broth, sometimes called stock, has long been a staple of diets around the world. Only recently, however, has consuming the broth gained popularity for its cure-all properties.
It’s claimed that bone broth—made by simmering animal bones (beef, poultry or fish) for up to 24 hours ( sometimes longer)—can, among many other things, improve gut health, ease joint pain, build stronger bones and strengthen immunity.
Proponents contend that it’s the collagen in bone broth that promotes bone joint and gut health. (Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body; it’s found in bones, connective tissue, muscles and skin.)
Once consumed, the body breaks down collagen into amino acids, which are sent to wherever in the body they are needed to synthesize proteins (e.g. muscle tissue, hormones, enzymes). In other words, consuming collagen in bone broth doesn’t mean its amino acids will end up as collagen in your bones, joints, intestinal tract or skin, for that matter.
What’s more, there’s scant, if any evidence that sipping bone broth delivers any of its proposed health benefits. Without science, the claims are only anecdotal theories.
That’s not to say that bone broth isn’t nutritious. It’s a source of protein and minerals including calcium, iron and potassium.
But it’s not a “superfood” (no food is). So don’t expect miracles. However, having said that and having been brought up with chicken soup in the house for all ailments, researchers may have to look a little harder and longer to find the magical ingredients that inhabit this broth to find what mix of ingredients it has that makes it a household cure-all. [print-link]