Written on August 28, 2023 by Sendra Yang, PharmD, MBA. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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It’s a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider if you are thinking about starting a new diet to lose weight. They can help make recommendations and help design a weight loss plan catered to your needs. There are lots and lots of diets out there. Not one diet or weight loss plan is made for everyone. In the past decade or so, the cabbage soup diet, or souping, was a trendy diet many people do to lose weight.[2,3] This article will dive into what souping is, some research on souping and weight loss, and some benefits and disadvantages of souping.
Souping is a diet composed of mainly soups to help with weight loss.[1,3,4] Souping diet plans are different and can vary in the length, types of foods made into the soups, and if the soups are eaten alone or as a side to other foods.[4,5-8] The cabbage soup diet is an example of souping, where cabbage is the main ingredient made into a soup and eaten for up to a week to aid in weight loss.[2,3] There are many soup diets out there, but are they all the same? Continue reading to find out if souping can help with weight loss.
So, does souping help with losing weight? Let’s look at the available data.[5-7] A study examining the effects of consuming different forms of soups before meals included soups made from broth with vegetables, chunky vegetable soup, chunky puree vegetable soup, and puree vegetable soups. When participants had a soup before their meal, they ate less than participants who did not have a soup before consuming their meal. Rates of hunger were lower in participants who ate soup before meals compared to no soup. Another study also supports that soups aid in satiety as well.
A study looking at a national survey from 2003 to 2008 identified 1291 participants who reported soup consumption and 9307 participants who did not report any soup. Soup consumers had a lower body weight and a lower waist circumference when compared to non-consumers of soup. The study also found that soup consumption was associated with a decreased intake of total fat and increased intake of protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and some vitamins and minerals. Soup intake was also associated with higher sodium intake.
Another study examining a national survey from 2003 to 2006 investigated soup consumption and obesity in the United States. The study found that soup consumption was associated with lower body mass index and waist circumference, as well as risk of obesity and overweight in adults. However, the study found no association with metabolic syndrome based on different laboratory tests. Metabolic syndrome, according to the American Heart Association and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, is meeting any three of the five criteria: elevated waist circumference, increased triglycerides, decreased HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and increased fasting glucose.
Additionally, after a thorough selection and review process, a systematic review that included seven articles examined the effects of soup consumption on obesity. The review included articles with French, Portuguese, Japanese, and American participants. The combined results of the review indicate that soup consumption is related to a lower risk for obesity or overweight. The study looked at BMI and different biomarkers or levels of various substances in the blood. The study’s results are limited because the review only included seven studies, there are differences in soup consumers and non-consumers, the number of Portuguese participants is higher than in other countries, and the BMI cut-off values differ among the studies included. Larger and more diverse sample sizes are needed.
Souping can help with weight loss because it can potentially decrease hunger rates. It can also make you eat less by aiding in satiety. Soups are also water-based and seem to help with being more satiating than a meal with a glass of water. Additionally, soups may have less total fat and more protein, dietary fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals, making it a good option for weight loss.[6,9] Soups containing reasonable amounts of vegetables are also healthier and may contribute to decreasing BMI.
Soups have been associated with higher amounts of salts (especially canned soups), which can be bad for your health and diet.[6,10] When souping, it’s essential to make sure that you get the nutrition, vitamins, and minerals you need. You may want to switch up your soup recipes to get a variety of nutrients in your diet. You may want to consider having soup with a meal to help you feel satisfied sooner without losing out on the vitamins and calories that you need for your body to function.[4,5]
Getting on a weight loss plan and sticking with it is not easy. But working with a healthcare provider, your trust can help you. Here at Everlywell, there is a telehealth option where you can schedule a virtual meeting with a healthcare provider to help you with your weight loss goal. Through the Weight Care+ program, you can get access to GLP-1 prescriptions online if you qualify, schedule regular one-on-one virtual visits with a healthcare provider, and provide lifestyle content and support for related health conditions.