Start With Soup

Your Weight-Loss Food: Start With Soup


By James Beckerman, M.D.
Published March 01, 2014

Healthy Soup

Healthy Soup

Eating soup every day is associated with good health and weight loss. I’m not talking about cream of potato, cheesy broccoli or French onion soup with a gooey layer of melted Gruyère on top. Healthful soups are broth-based, low in salt and high in vegetables. Homemade soups are probably the best option – and you save a lot of money too by making a pot on Sunday and having servings available throughout the week.

So why soup? This gets into an interesting weight-loss concept – volumetrics. Whereas energy density refers to the number of calories per unit of food weight, volumetrics is the idea that foods larger in size take up more space in your stomach. They make you feel fuller and also satiate you psychologically. So if you combine energy density and volumetrics, soup is an obvious solution. The high-water content creates a large volume of food with relatively low-energy density, and it really does fill you up. This has ramifications for weight loss.

Research supports eating soup as part of a weight-loss plan and suggests that it may be even more effective than drinking extra water with your meal. Eating a bowl of soup before a meal has been shown to result in consuming 20% fewer calories overall. Look for soups low in calories, not high-fat and calorie cream-based or cheesy soup. Although they do fill you up, high-fat soups fill you up with calories too. That’s the wrong kind of volume.