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Is Soup Good for Weight Loss?

by
author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Is Soup Good for Weight Loss?
A bowl of Italian minestrone soup. Photo Credit olgna/iStock/Getty Images

Losing weight can be a challenge because you may feel hungry or deprived when you need to reduce your food intake. Soup can help by filling you up without too many calories, and by offering you an option to order at restaurants when you go out to eat with friends. Canned soups are good for home-cooked diet meals. A study in the June 2005 issue of "Obesity Research" reports that participants who ate two servings of low-energy-dense soups per day experienced 50 percent more weight loss than those who took in the same amount of calories in a high-energy-dense snack. Eating the right types of soup can be beneficial to weight loss.

How Soup Can Help

Watery foods, such as soups, can help you lose weight because of their low calorie density, or relatively low number of calories compared to their serving size. Individuals who eat clear or broth-based soups may have a better chance at controlling their weight, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Fiber and protein are filling nutrients, so choose a soup with ingredients such as vegetables, beans and lean protein.

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Soups to Avoid

Soup will not help you lose weight if it is high in calories and not very filling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that you avoid soups with cheese, such as cheddar cheese or broccoli and cheese soup, as well as cream-based soups, such as cream of mushroom, cream of tomato or clam chowder. If you order soup in a restaurant and it comes in a bread bowl, save yourself hundreds of calories by refraining from eating the bread bowl. Also skip croutons, noodles, cheese or other high-calorie toppings.

Nutritional Benefits

Add nutrient-dense, low-calorie ingredients to get some of your essential vitamins and minerals from soup. When you are reducing your food intake as you try to lose weight, it can be difficult to get all of the nutrients you need if you do not emphasize healthy food choices. Your soup can include foods such as carrots, for potassium and vitamin A, barley, a whole grain with niacin, lentils, which have iron, or chicken breast, which provides vitamin B-12.

Low-Calorie Substitute

To lose weight, eat soup instead of higher-calorie foods or meals. Broth-based bean soup with vegetables can be lower in calories than beef chili, which may also be high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Save hundreds of calories by having tomato or minestrone soup instead of a large plate of pasta and tomato sauce. Soup can also be a low-calorie warm snack, and a bowl of soup can be more filling and lower in calories than a large serving of hot chocolate or a coffee drink with sugar and milk.

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