How To Follow The Soup Diet for Weight Loss + Pros and Cons

Like many fad diets, soup diets usually purport rapid weight loss and are followed for a short period of time.

For example, the cabbage soup diet is one of the most popular and well-known souping diets for weight loss, and sometimes people attest that you can follow the cabbage soup weight loss diet meal plan and lose a significant amount of weight in just 5 to 10 days.

But is a soup diet healthy? Is eating soup good for weight loss?

In this weight loss guide, we will discuss what a soup diet plan involves, if eating soups for weight loss is helpful, what you can eat on a soup diet weight loss meal plan, and the pros and cons of following a soup-only diet for weight loss and health.

We will look at: 

  • What Is the Soup Diet Plan?
  • How Do You Follow the Soup Diet for Weight Loss?
  • Is Soup Good For Weight Loss?

Let’s get started!

A variety of colorful soups.

What Is the Soup Diet Plan?

The soup diet isn’t one specific diet but rather a general term that involves following either a meal plan that might be considered a “soup only diet“ or one where you are primarily eating soup for weight loss, potentially with some other foods.

Eating soups for weight loss or following a souping diet for weight loss is not a new concept, as various iterations of soup-only diet meal plans or emphasizing soups in a weight loss diet plan has been a trend in approaches to weight loss for decades.

However, various iterations of soup diet plans have come and gone and surged and receded in popularity over the years.

Offshoots like protein shake diets, juicing diets, smoothie diets, and juice “cleanses “ can all be considered relative to soup diet weight loss programs, as all of these approaches to losing weight focus on liquid-based nutrition and restricting calories.

Aside from following a soup diet for weight loss, some people take on a soup only diet or focus on soup with a liquid diet after dental procedures or illnesses where eating solid food is uncomfortable or contraindicated.

Even so, generally, the purpose of a soup diet meal plan is weight loss.

Chicken vegetable noodle soup.

How Do You Follow the Soup Diet for Weight Loss?

Under the general category of soup diet plans, there is quite a range in terms of the type of soups for weight loss that you may eat.

Some soup diets involve eating only one type of soup or focusing on one type of soup, such as the cabbage soup diet for weight loss or the beet soup diet for weight loss.

Other soup diet weight loss meal plans allow any type of soup, sometimes even with additional foods, though soup would remain the focus of the weight loss soup diet plan.

A common question is: “What can you eat on a soup diet for weight loss?”

If you are following a specific soup diet, there may be a regimented meal plan.

Otherwise, a soup diet weight loss plan includes soups that are made using a clear broth like chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, fish stock, or bone broth.

Chicken vegetable soup.

The soup diet should have vegetables in the soups that are low glycemic, non-starchy vegetables like kale, spinach, celery, collard greens, green beans, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini rather than carrots, corn, and potatoes.

If you are following a restrictive soup diet for weight loss, it is generally best to steer away from soups with noodles, rice, and other grains and dairy-based soups that have cream, milk, or cheese in them due to the high number of calories in these types of soups from the carbs and fat, respectively.

For example, a single cup (half a can) of Progresso Broccoli and Cheese With Bacon Soup has 170 calories, a whopping 12 grams of fat, and 4.5 grams of saturated fat.

Many people have the whole can since it’s only two “servings,” giving you 24 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat (44% of the DV), and over 70% of the DV of sodium.

Additionally, most soup diet weight loss plans do not allow crackers, bread, tortilla chips, or other carbohydrates to be dipped into the soup or added to the soup.

Fruits, other dairy products, and processed foods are also not allowed on a soup only diet meal plan.

Minestrone soup.

Is Soup Good For Weight Loss?

So, is a soup diet good for weight loss? What are the benefits of soup diet plans?

The concept of a soup diet weight loss plan can make sense in theory.

Studies suggest that people may consume fewer calories when they eat soup, particularly when soup precedes a meal because the liquid volume is heavy and sits in your stomach with some weight, making you feel full.

This can decrease the amount of food that you eat or help curb appetite.

However, there aren’t any long-term studies about the soup diet weight loss results or whether the soup diet for weight loss is better than any other approach to losing weight.

One older study from Japan found that the frequency of soup intake was inversely associated with body mass index, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio. 

However, these soup consumption findings are merely correlations rather than indicative of causation.

Tomato soup.

This means that there is an association between eating more soup and lower body weight and smaller waist circumference, but the studies were not conducted in a way to definitively determine whether eating more soup causes weight loss or a lower BMI.

There can be other confounding variables that contribute to the association between eating more soup and having a lower body weight or lower BMI. 

Perhaps the Japanese that eat more soup, which is typically seen as a healthy food in Japan (miso soup), make other healthy dietary choices alongside their soup consumption that also contribute to a healthy body weight.

There are some other pros and cons of soup weight loss diet meal plans.

Some of the soup diet benefits include the fact that research suggests that soup can be satiating, as just described, which means that it is possible to lose weight on a soup diet.

To that end, one way in which the soup diet weight loss may occur is simply due to restriction.

There are only so many options for soups, and it takes longer to eat than it does to scarf down a bunch of calories from candy, chips, soda, or other calorie-dense foods.

Pea soup.

By default, you may lose weight due to limited choices, the structure of a soup only diet, and the lower caloric density of most soups compared to many packaged and processed foods.

Some soups are also highly nutritious, particularly if they are packed with vegetables and beans, lentils, other legumes, or lean proteins like chicken breast or turkey.

Healthy soups that are filled with vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while bone broth provides important biological proteins like collagen.

Soups are also hydrating because they are liquid-based, which can help offset dehydration, which is a widespread problem, with many people experiencing chronic dehydration.

However, there are also some downsides to following a soup only diet plan or a soup weight loss diet that uses a lot of prepared or commercial soups, particularly canned soups or restaurant soups.

Most prepared soups are extremely high in sodium. 

Even “low-sodium soups“ and “reduced-sodium soups“ tend to be very high in sodium.

Vegetable soup.

Therefore, if you are eating only soup for weight loss and relying on canned soups and takeout soups from restaurants, you will likely be far exceeding the recommended daily limits of sodium.

For example, a bowl of French Onion Soup from Panera (1.5 cups) has a whopping 1680 mg of sodium (290 calories), and if you have it in the bread bowl, the sodium content jumps to 2290 mg and 850 calories.

The Panera Broccoli and Cheddar soup isn’t much better in terms of sodium and has more calories and fat.

There are 1470 mg of sodium and 370 calories in a single bowl (1.5 cups), and 900 calories (almost half a day’s worth of calories for most people) with 2090 mg of sodium in the broccoli and cheddar soup in the bread bowl.

Canned soups that are not organic also typically have fillers, BPA in the can, preservatives, and unhealthy ingredients like corn syrup solids, saturated fats or hydrogenated oils, added sugars and stabilizers, corn starch, etc. 

Chicken vegetable soup.

These ingredients will not promote health and should not be consumed, if at all possible, let alone be consumed in large amounts, which will likely occur on a soup diet meal plan unless you are making homemade soups.

Finally, most soup diet weight loss plans are not sustainable simply because they are too restrictive, and it can be cumbersome and time-consuming only to be able to eat soup.

Overall, adding soups to your diet can be an effective approach to weight loss, but a soup weight loss meal plan is not recommended as it is devoid of key food groups and not a sustainable, balanced approach to weight loss.

For expert tips on how to lose weight fast, click here.

Vegetable soup.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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