When it comes to weight loss, some calories count more than others. In a yearlong study of overweight people on a reduced-calorie diet, those enjoying soup each day lost more weight than people who got the same number of calories from other foods eaten for lunch or snacks.
The reason the soup-eaters lost more is likely because a bowl of it has a low ratio of calories to ounces. In other words, the soup takes up more space in people’s bellies, and those who ate it felt less hungry later and ate less of other foods over the course of the day.
What won’t work: Cream-based soups (after all, heavy cream packs 400 calories per half cup!). To keep you satisfied and help you trim down, choose soups with a base of low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth and varieties loaded with vegetables, kidney beans, lentils, or brown rice. Those who ate two servings of low energy-dense soup per day (as part of a reduced-calorie diet) lost an average of almost 16 pounds in a year. People who got their calories from high energy-dense snack foods lost much less — an average of only 10.5 pounds.
Don’t love soup? Other foods with a low calories-to-ounces ratio include air-popped popcorn and fresh produce.