This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Choosing the right meals for your weight loss diet can be a challenge. What about soup, is it good for weight loss or not?
Soup is a primarily liquid food that’s basically a mix of water and other ingredients. The right kinds of soup in the right quantities can certainly help weight loss.
Discover the soup ingredients you want to avoid and whether or not something like a soup diet is a good idea or not.
What are the ingredients in soup?
Since soup is a mixture of a few different ingredients, it is helpful to take a look at how these individual ingredients impact weight loss.
The first and main ingredient in most soups is water.
This means that soup can benefit your weight loss by helping you burn more calories and feel fuller.
Secondly soup inevitably also contains vegetables. Vegetables are one of the greatest weight loss foods if you struggle with hunger and overconsuming calories.
This is because vegetables are relatively low in calories and contain fiber, a filling nutrient, in nice amounts. This allows vegetables to help you feel fuller without adding too many calories to your diet.
This in turn can help you consume less foods high in calories. For most people that is enough to help them lose weight.
Even soup recipes with foods like lentils, legumes which are slightly higher in calories, are still generally high in calories.
Other soup ingredients
Besides these main soup ingredients you have a wide variety of optional ingredients. Some of these are less weight loss friendly than others.
Weight loss friendly soup ingredients:
- Protein sources
- Bone broth
- Small amounts of butter and cream
You don’t have to avoid the less weight loss friendly soup ingredients at all costs. They just don’t fill you up that much while adding a decent amount of calories to your diet.
Less weight loss friendly soup ingredients:
- Bread bowls
- Ramen noodles and pasta
- High amounts of cheese
The soups that are good for losing weight mainly contain the weight loss friendly ingredients, and limited amounts or none of the less weight loss friendly ingredients.
Can you lose weight by eating soup?
Even when you use some suboptimal soup ingredients soup can help you feel fuller without adding too many calories to your diet. This makes soup great for weight loss.
One study found that participants consumed less calories from a meal when they had soup before the meal than when they did not have soup before a meal (4).
If you are gaining weight while eating soup, the first place to look at is the rest of your diet and other lifestyle habits. Soup is generally not fattening.
Should you lose weight by only eating soup?
While eating some soup each day can be beneficial, there are also diets called “soup diets”. These basically mean that you are mainly eating soup for an extended period of time.
There are a few problems with these soup diets. First of all, losing weight too fast can have negative side effects. By only eating soup you may not consume enough calories.
For most people, losing 1-2 pounds (0.45-0.8 kg) of fat per week is considered a healthy weight loss rate.
This means a calorie deficit of about 500-100 calories a day which results in 3500 – 7000 calories a week.
Secondly, these soup diets often lack nutrients. One example of a nutrient that is hard to consume enough of with soup is protein.
If you struggle a lot with overeating calories swapping one meal a day with soup may help you lose weight. On the other hand, you have soup diets that restrict nutrients and calories too much.
Eating soup in the right amount can be beneficial for weight loss. How much the right amount is depends on things like your daily calorie requirements, the other things you eat, and your other lifestyle habits.
Is soup or salad better for weight loss?
Another popular weight loss meal is a salad.
A good weight loss salad is basically a mix between vegetables, healthy protein sources, and other healthy calories sources.
A salad without calorie-heavy salad dressings is likely better for weight loss than soup because it is more filling, contains more valuable nutrients, and is still relatively low in calories.