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Souping Can Help You Lose Weight, But You Have To Be Careful and Committed

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Souping, similar to juicing, has been popular in recent years as way to detox the body and to lose weight, but eating only soup for days at a time can cause problems, if you’re not careful.

The diet calls for having soup three to five meals a day and adding vegetables to help cleanse and detox your system. The weight loss occurs by cutting calories from fat and likely from carbohydrates.

As part of a healthy meal plan, soup is fine, says Sharon Cox, a registered dietitian with Parkland Hospital System, but meeting your nutritional needs with soup for all of your meals would present a challenge.

“[Souping is] trying to help us eat more healthy foods in a way,” Cox says. “But you would still need to get in the right amount of protein. You would still needs carbs included and healthy fats.”

Interview Highlights

What to consider when souping: There are problems with pesticides in vegetables, so you'd need to buy some vegetables that would be organic. You would want to get chicken and meat from cows that grow and live in the pastures or on ground; not in the factories because you’d get a lot of antibiotics and other additives. You also have to consider your cooking utensils. You don’t want to cook all those soups in aluminum pans or some poor-quality pot because of chemicals being released into your food over time.

Consuming too much water: For those people that may have kidney problems, heart failure and other problems where fluid should be restricted, souping could be a problem. But the amount of fluid or water you’re taking with the soup should be about average. Maybe six-to-eight ounces per bowl of soup, you would be OK. If you’re not urinating most of what you’re taking in, you should cut back.

Behavioral changes needed to lose weight: If you could say 100 percent that you be able to sustain or continue to eat soup for the rest of your life to maintain a healthy weight loss, then you may be a person who could commit to souping. But it doesn’t really change our behavior because we still need to eat, we need the three meals, we need to know our serving sizes, how to prepare the food, and we need to enjoy and eat our food with the thought that it’s good nourishment for our body more than just to feel full.

Resources

Interview responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.