By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
April 2, 2018
- A diet by any other name…
- Is this popular diet trend right for you?
- 4 eating styles for permanent weight loss
I can’t count the number of times patients have asked me about some fad diet or another. Over the years there has been the cabbage soup diet, the grapefruit diet, the apple cider vinegar diet, the juicing diet, and countless others that I can’t even remember.
These days something called “souping” – or the “souping diet” – tops the list.
Now, this trend has become big business. Companies are bottling up thick soups in a grab-and-go form with claims that the soups will help you lose weight, purify your body, rebuild your immune system and rejuvenate your life.
Is it true? Can you really get all of these wonderful benefits by eating soup for 24 hours, two days, or five days a week?
Here’s what I tell my patients…
Is this Popular Diet Trend Right for You?
Just like most other weird and trendy diets, souping is really nothing more than a get-skinny-and-healthy-fast scam for you; and a get-rich-fast scheme for the soup makers. It’s not something I recommend. Not for you or my patients.
For the most part, these soup “cleanses” are very low in calories, about 1,200 per day. So it makes sense that weight would come off relatively quickly. But that doesn’t mean the weight won’t pop right back on the minute you stop souping and start eating regular food again. Believe me. It will.
Plus, a great majority of these soups don’t contain all of the healthy fats, lean protein and other nutrients your body needs to function at full capacity. So depending on how long you decide to replace all of your meals with soup, this means you’ll likely suffer one or more days of sluggish brain function and low energy.
It’s also important to keep in mind that low-protein diets can lead to muscle breakdown. So instead of losing a few pounds of fat, you could end up losing several pounds of muscle instead. And that’s not going to do you any good.
In other words, if it’s a low-calorie eating plan that you want, you can just easily do that by eating healthy meals that contain a good balance of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein.
My advice: Stay away from souping. It’s just not a healthy or sustainable way of eating. There are much healthier weight-loss options right at your fingertips.
4 Eating Styles for Permanent Weight Loss
Weight loss, glowing health and youthful energy don’t happen overnight… or even in a week. You can’t race your way to a “new you”. It takes time, effort and commitment. And as I constantly remind my patients, there are many proven ways of eating that can take you exactly where you want to go.
Now, I’m all for soup. I typically eat it a few times a week, sometimes more often – along with wholesome, nourishing and well-balanced meals.
And that’s the key. Wholesome, nourishing and well-balanced meals.
There are specific ways of eating that have been proven over and over again to support your health and weight loss goals. They aren’t fads. They’ve been around for centuries.
My personal favorite, and the one I recommend for everyone, is a modified Mediterranean diet. (However, I wouldn’t personally call it a diet. Rather, I think of it as a lifestyle choice.)
It includes an extremely wide variety of plant-based foods. A lot of fish and plenty of olive oil. Very little red meat and virtually no packaged, processed, sugary and refined foods. And while I urge you to choose a Mediterranean style diet, any diet abundant in fresh produce, beneficial fats and healthy proteins can work for you.
For example, a pescatarian diet is similar to the Mediterranean way of eating. It’s plant-based, however it doesn’t include eating red meat or poultry. Instead, the primary source of animal protein comes from seafood such as fish, shrimp, clams, lobster and – in some cases – eggs.
There is also the MIND diet, which is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diet. This is another plant-focused way of eating. One bit of difference is that places a great deal of emphasis on foods that support brain health, such as berries and green leafy vegetables.
I’m also not opposed to a flexitarian diet, as long as you make sure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need on a daily basis. It’s sort of a “semi-vegetarian” diet – meaning that while it is definitely plant-based, foods like fish, meats, eggs and other animal products aren’t entirely off limits. Eating in this way can support your protein needs while filling you up with nutritious, low-calorie and antioxidant-rich veggies.
So go ahead and enjoy soup whenever you want it. Some folks like to have a cup or bowl of it prior to meals as a way to “pre-load” and prevent overeating. You can even use soup as a replacement meal once a day. But don’t try to live on it.
And by the way. Don’t forget to buy organic produce, wild-caught fish and clean-sourced meats whenever possible.
Estruch R, et al. Effect of a high-fat Mediterranean diet on bodyweight and waist circumference: a prespecified secondary outcomes analysis of the PREDIMED randomised controlled trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2016 Aug;4(8):666-76.
Derbyshire EJ. Flexitarian Diets and Health: A Review of the Evidence-Based Literature. Front Nutr. 2016; 3: 55.
Rosell M, et al. Weight gain over 5 years in 21,966 meat-eating, fish-eating, vegetarian, and vegan men and women in EPIC-Oxford. Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Sep;30(9):1389-96.