Losing weight is within your control — you get to decide which tools you’ll use to reach your goals. Souping is the latest dietary resource regular people and celebrities alike are using to drop pounds without measuring food or counting calories. It’s time to say goodbye to yo-yo dieting and get your confidence back. Check out this guide to learn what souping is and how you can start a healthier lifestyle today.
What Is the Souping Diet?
Diets should make you feel empowered, not stressed. Souping is a great way to make progress toward your weight loss goes while feeling full, hydrated and confident. Some benefits of souping include:
- The high-fiber veggie ingredients benefit your digestion
- You’re getting nutrients to feel your best while detoxing
- Increases your water intake and promotes hydration
- Keeps you fuller for longer
Starting the souping diet is straightforward. Get excited by reading more about the weight-loss tool that works with any budget.
1. Fasting Mimicking Diet
The souping diet can be an integral part of the fasting-mimicking diet. These meal plans drastically reduce your food intake for a few days, typically to increase your insulin resistance.
These meal plans drastically reduce your food intake for a few days, typically to increase your insulin resistance.
As fasting continues, you enter ketosis, burning fat for energy without adhering to the ketogenic diet. The stress from doing so further increases your metabolism.
Adding soup allows you to follow a fasting-mimicking diet for several days, consuming only the minimum calories necessary to sustain life. Its filling warmth gives your stomach the illusion of a full meal without all the bulk.
2. Commercial Soup Diets
Some of the popular commercial soup diets for which you can buy books and find YouTube channels include:
- The Bean Soup Diet: Eat only bean soup and non-oily plant-based fruits, vegetables and grains for seven days.
- The Cabbage Soup Diet: Eat only cabbage soup with lean protein and one or two other low-calorie foods — like leafy salads — for seven days.
- The Chicken Soup Diet: Eat only chicken soup and small servings of nonfat milk, yogurt, whole-grain cereal, bread, and fresh fruit.
3. DIY Practices
You can also DIY a souping diet. Choose any soup you like — or a variety — making it the mainstay of your lunch and dinner. Add a sensible breakfast and one or two other healthy foods to complement your main dish — perhaps salad, eggs or parfait.
The Health Benefits of Souping
Many people first become acquainted with the souping diet when they get sick. Who hasn’t heard of the healing power of chicken soup? The thin liquid has a mild anti-inflammatory effect and the steam opens up nasal passages, letting you breathe more comfortably.
It didn’t take long for folks to notice a diet primarily based around soup led to other favorable health effects, like weight loss. Thus, the souping diet was born. Here are six benefits of this lifestyle to consider.
1. Increases Your Nutrient Intake
Think about the ingredients that go into a soup. You represent all the macronutrients with vegetables, meat and starch. Better yet, none of the nutrition gets lost — any vitamins and minerals that boil off the vegetables in the heat remain in the broth.
The customization of soup allows you to modify your recipes to rectify deficiencies and include micronutrients in your diet. For example, soups rich in deep, leafy greens benefit those struggling with magnesium shortage. Minerals like magnesium help keep you hydrated and boost your immune system. Souping delivers these nutrients fresh from food sources, which your body absorbs better than supplements.
2. Reduces Caloric Intake
You may have heard you should eat soup before a hearty meal to reduce your overall caloric intake. It’s true. A study out of Penn State University found those who began their meals with a clear-broth soup consumed 20% fewer calories overall.
To lose weight, you must create a deficit of 3,500 calories — much more than most people typically consume daily. Your minimum needs are 1,200 calories per day for women and 1,500 for men. Going lower than this can have severe adverse health effects. That’s why experts recommend a slow, steady weight loss of one to two pounds weekly.
Having a clear soup before your biggest meal could help you create this deficit without feeling hungry. You might find some recipes below so filling that they make a complete meal.
3. Improve Gastrointestinal Motility
Gastrointestinal motility is a fancy term for how food moves through your digestive system. If you have a disorder, you know many things can go wrong along the way. For example, here are some diseases associated with poor gastrointestinal motility:
- GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when acid from the stomach flows into the esophagus, causing painful heartburn and sometimes vomiting.
- Gastroparesis: Slow stomach emptying into the intestines that impedes digestion.
- IBS: Irritable bowel syndrome causes frequent abdominal pain with changes in bowel habits.
A stomachache can ruin your day no matter where trouble occurs along your digestive tract. Soup makes digestion easier by beginning the breakdown process before it enters your mouth. Therefore, your body can handle it better than raw food, easing discomfort.
4. Better Your Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women worldwide. Could the souping diet reduce those numbers? The causes of heart disease are many, including stress and environmental toxins. However, food also plays a significant role.
Foods high in saturated fats can lead to clogged arteries, but most soups are relatively low in fat content as the skimming process removes much of the excess. Furthermore, foods high in sugar and white flour can spike inflammation, but clear soups have a low impact.
Soups aren’t created equal — you can find some heavy, fat-laden creamy versions. However, most soups are low in the substances that harm your ticker and high in antioxidants to undo free-radical damage.
5. Enhanced Blood Sugar Control
Here, too, clear broth is best. All-purpose flour often undergoes bleaching and other processing that strips away the nutrient-rich bran and chaff. It leaves behind a substance that absorbs like sugar.
However, clear soups are free of the troublesome ingredient. They generally contain only lean meat and veggies with perhaps a healthy starch, like potato. They won’t spike your glucose because they’re low in carbohydrates and sugar. Steady blood sugar reduces your diabetes risk.
6. Stronger Immune Function
Soups generally contain few allergens, although you should read ingredient labels. The souping diet could help you identify specific sensitivities.
Food sensitivities aren’t as severe as allergies. You can usually tolerate a small amount of the troublesome substance, unlike someone going into anaphylaxis from a single bite of a peanut-containing brownie. However, continued exposure lowers your immune function because your body perceives a constant stressor, keeping it running on high and depleting your reserves. Therefore, it’s best to avoid these triggers.
For example, soy is a frequent cause of allergies and sensitivities. If you notice your symptoms only appear after a bowl of miso, that should clue you into potential trouble with this ingredient.
Potential Pitfalls of the Souping Diet
Your timing is the first potential pitfall to watch out for on the souping diet. You should generally stick to souping for at most seven consecutive days. Although you don’t necessarily count calories, you will follow a very low-calorie diet. Adhering to such a plan for the long term can result in metabolic changes that make it harder to drop unwanted pounds in the future.
Warning About Sodium in Commercially-Prepared Soups
Another caveat of the souping diet is to avoid relying on commercially prepared soups. Many contain your full day’s sodium in a single can and too much salt isn’t good for your blood pressure. Either select lower sodium versions or stick to homemade soups.
Making the Souping Diet Easier — the Goods
It helps to have the right tools to make the souping diet easier. Your first investment should be a good slow cooker or crockpot. Although many of the recipes above call for a pot, you can substitute a slow cooker, following the same instructions but reducing the total mess. A large version like this 7-quart version makes it a snap to feed the whole family.
You can also expand your Souping repertoire with the right cookbook. Consider picking up a copy of “Souping: Lose Weight — Cleanse — Detoxify — Re-Energize,” which features over 80 fabulous recipes you can use to jumpstart your program.
You might also consider the following:
- An immersion hand blender: To get your soup to the perfect consistency
- A professional-grade veggie spiralizer/slicer: To make it much easier to prepare your soup ingredients without cutting your fingers
- A set of reusable freezer bags: To store your new selection of soups from the crockpot
- An eco-friendly bowl set: Made from coconut, with bamboo straws if you don’t want to slurp
- A bedside serving tray: For those sick days when you use the soup diet to recover from illness
5 Days of Souping Recipes to Get You Started
Are you ready to get started? Here are five fabulous souping recipes to warm your soul and kickstart your fitness journey.
1. Cabbage Soup
- 2 chopped carrots
- 1 medium diced onion
- 1 diced celery rib
- 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 can cooked and drained white beans
- 2 cubed Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 head green cabbage
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Freshly ground black pepper and parsley for garnish
Heat the oil in a large pot. Add carrots, onion, celery, salt and pepper, and stir occasionally for eight minutes. Add the vinegar and stir. Add remaining ingredients, simmering for 20 to 30 minutes and garnishing before serving.
2. Miso Soup
- 1 large chopped leek
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- 2 to 3 cups chard, bok choy or baby spinach
- 1 package extra-firm tofu
- ½ cup chopped seaweed
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 3 tablespoons miso paste
- Sesame seeds or scallions (or both) for garnish
Sauté leeks and shiitake mushrooms in oil in a large pot. Add the broth, seaweed, soy sauce and mirin, and simmer for seven to 10 minutes while cubing the tofu. Add the greens, cooking only until wilted. Turn off the heat and let it reduce from boiling before adding the miso paste — heat will kill the beneficial bacteria. Add the tofu, spoon into bowls, and top with toasted sesame seeds and scallions.
3. Lemon Coriander Soup
- ¼ cup coriander leaves
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 2 chopped cloves garlic
- 2 chopped green chilis
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup chopped cabbage
- ¼ cup chopped carrot
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon cornflour
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water and set aside. Heat the oil, adding garlic, then chilis, then onions, sauteing for one to two minutes. Add carrot and cabbage, and saute for an additional one to two minutes. Add the remaining ingredients — including the cornflour mixture — and simmer for seven to 10 minutes before serving.
4. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- 3 ½ pounds butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 small halved yellow onion
- 1 peeled garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the butternut squash, empty the seeds, and coat with oil, salt and pepper. Roast it for 30 minutes. Add the onion and roast for another 30 minutes. Let them cool until you can handle them, then add all ingredients to a blender, starting with three cups of vegetable broth and adding more until you reach the desired consistency. Pour into bowls, garnishing with pepitas and black pepper.
5. Alton’s Favorite Lentil Soup
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 chopped carrot
- 1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 pound lentils
- 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground grains of paradise
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onion, carrot, celery and salt. Cook until translucent. Add the remaining ingredients, boil and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes. Use an immersion blender to make the desired consistency and serve.
Getting Started With the Souping Diet
If you want to feel better and lose weight, try the souping diet. This lifestyle can help you shed unwanted pounds and improve your overall health without feeling deprived.
Rich, filling soup is a perennial low-calorie favorite for many health reasons. Try these souping recipes above and start on your path to improved well-being.
About the author:
Mia Barnes is a health and wellness writer with a passion for nutrition and mindful eating. Mia is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Body + Mind Magazine, an online healthy living publication. When not writing, you can find Mia reading mystery novels or practicing yoga.