Soup diets are a popular way to drop weight fast, but they are not always popular with doctors and nutritionists. These diets are very restrictive and definitely not for the faint-hearted, but some people swear by them. Could they help you lose weight? And even if a soup diet can help you drop some pounds, is it worth the risk?
How Soup Diets Work
Some soup diets claim to work because of some magical combination of foods that rev up your metabolism, but the real reason they work is because of the extreme calorie restriction involved. Although there are many variations on the soup recipes, most soup diets involve consuming a vegetable-based soup and little to nothing else. Even though you can usually eat as much of the soup as you want, you're unlikely to be able to eat enough of the soup to consume more than a few hundred calories.
The extreme calorie restriction should lead to weight loss in and of itself, but sticking to a liquid-based diet can increase fast weight loss by flushing fluids from your body.
Some soup diets allow you to eat additional foods, such as fruit or vegetables, but usually in extremely restricted amounts. One well-known soup diet, the Sacred Heart Memorial soup diet (which is not affiliated with the hospital), allows for unlimited amounts of a tomato-based soup for seven days coupled with unlimited fruit one day, unlimited veggies another day, unlimited bananas and milk another day and unlimited beef and tomatoes on yet another day. The combination of foods does not increase weight loss, but sticking to a prescribed regime keeps your calorie count low enough for rapid weight loss.
Balancing Soup Diets and Nutrition
If you want to drop a few pounds quickly, a soup diet will almost certainly do the trick. In the long run, these diets deprive you of important nutrients and are not sustainable. The weight you lose is water weight, and it is likely to come back when you start eating normally again.
Most people can follow a soup diet for a few days with no real health problems, but they are not designed to be long-term diet solutions. Never stay on a soup diet longer than seven days, and pay attention to your body's signals while on the diet. If you are lightheaded or having headaches, you may not be getting enough calories. If you have an existing medical condition, consult your doctor to find out a safe number of calories for you.
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