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Soup-Eating Habits Wrecking Your Weight Loss Efforts, Say Dietitians

Soup is may be a healthy option for weight loss—but only if you avoid these habits.

Cold weather is synonymous with hot soups, stews, and chili. These meals are easy to make in bulk, can be customized based on your preferred ingredients, and freeze well for an easy heat-and-eat meal on rushed nights.

While soups can be well-balanced and provide important nutrients, like fiber, protein, and antioxidants, there are soup-eating habits that may detract from these notable healthy characteristics. Here are the habits you should minimize so your soups can positively contribute to your weight loss goals. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss The #1 Best Soup for a Flat Belly, Says Dietitian.

You only eat cream-based soups

cream based soup

Bisques, chowders, and, of course, cream of (insert ingredient here) soups are commonly made with high-fat dairy, like whole milk and cream. While these soups may contain healthful ingredients, like vegetables and lean protein, the fat content of the milk and cream make the calories skyrocket. In fact, it is not uncommon to see a cream-based soup provide more than 300 calories per cup!

While fat is a satiating ingredient, helping you to feel full after meals, dairy fat is high in saturated fat which is thought to negatively impact heart health, cholesterol and promote inflammation in the body. If weight loss is a goal you are working toward, you are better off skipping the cream-based soups and opting instead for soups that are broth-based.

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You're only eating starch-based soups without any proteinn

potato bacon soup

Who doesn't love potato soup? While many find this soup comforting on a cold, rainy day, chances are enjoying it on a regular basis may be hindering your weight loss goals. Often made with whole milk, cream, butter, and bacon, this soup definitely packs the calories. One other disadvantage of this type of soup is that it is low in protein, keeping it from being as well balanced and satiating as other soups that contain plant or animal sources of protein. This is also true for soups that are mostly made up of noodles with little protein.

Meals that are low in protein are less likely to fill you up, and, in turn, you may be more likely to over serve at meals or grab extra snacks throughout the day. This is likely to work against a weight loss goal, so choose soups that provide protein, carb, fat, and fiber to maximize fullness.

RELATED:18 Best Broth-Based Soups for Weight Loss

You eat your soup out of a bread bowl

bread bowl soup

I mean, it does sound so delicious, and bread doesn't have to be out of the picture to achieve weight loss, but enjoying soup out of a bread bowl is going to add many calories to your meal and may slow down your weight loss. The hundreds of calories one may consume eating the bread bowl along with their soup are likely to spike blood sugar and will digest quicker than protein and fat, leaving you to feel hungry more quickly following the meal.

You are better off sticking with a broth-based soup that contains protein, fat, and veggie, and adding a small roll on the side for a more modest amount of carbohydrate.

You're not checking the sodium levels of your soup

high sodium soup

Most soups contain sodium, and many are considered to be quite high in salt content. While sodium likely won't impact your long-term weight loss goals, it will cause your weight to fluctuate more dramatically on an acute basis. Sodium aids in the storage of water in the body, so the more sodium you consume, the more water your body is going to store. This water weight fluctuation is often seen the day after eating high sodium foods and typically flushes out over the following day or two.

However, when frequently eating high sodium foods, it will likely translate to a consistently higher weight and may even contribute to serious health conditions, like high blood pressure. When choosing soups, look for options under 500 milligrams of sodium per serving to minimize the impact on water weight and health status.

READ MORE14 Best Low-Sodium Canned Soups for Heart Health, Approved by Dietitians

You're eating soups that feature fatty protein

protein beef soup

Sausage and fatty cuts of beef and pork are often found in soups, and while they provide great flavor and some protein, the fat content will drive up the total calories in your soup. Not only will these fat-dense meats provide concentrated calories, but they are also likely to provide high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat, two nutrients known to negatively impact heart health. When evaluating the protein sources in different soups, look for leaner options, like turkey, chicken, and seafood, or those that provide protein from plant sources, like beans and lentils.

Soups can be a wonderful meal option, and when made with the right ingredients, can be quite healthy and aid in weight loss goals. To ensure your soups aren't keeping you from meeting your health goals, choose broth-based soups that contain lean proteins, good quality carbs, and plenty of vegetables for their vitamin, mineral, and fiber content.

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Kelsey Hampton Abdullah, MS, RDN
Kelsey is a Texas-based dietitian and professor who specializes in sports nutrition. Read more about Kelsey
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