Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Wausau, WI
As a long-term diet, it stinks (quite literally, and it'll give you horrendously smelly gas.... of the silent, but deadly, and also the deadly and not-so silent type).
You might as well call it, "the fart diet."
That being said, low-calorie, mostly veggie soups are a great way to save calories, eat something tasty that doesn't have to taste like diet food, fill your tummy, and get in your veggies.
I make low-calorie veggie soups a lot. My usual "recipe" starts with broth (any kind, canned or water and bouillon cubes or bouillon powder) and vegetable juice (tomato, clamato, V-8......my favorite is spicy V-8). You can use all broth or all veggie juice or any mixture of the two. Then I add loads of veggies, fresh, raw, leftover, canned, frozen.... and if I'm going to want to eat it as a meal, not just a sidedish, I'll add some protein... chicken, beef, shrimp, tvp (soy protein) and small amounts of starch (whole grains like barley, brown rice, wheat berries, potato, peas, corn, wild rice, quinoa) beans do double duty because they're half protein and half starch.
I don't eat wheat (long stort) but if you're not sensitive to it, wheat berries are wonderful in soup. I keep the starches to a minimum because I'm trying to eat lowish carb, semi-paleo ( even longer story).
The great thing about soups, stews and other one-pot meals, is that they're convenient (cook once, eat all week), economical, and adaptable to any diet or way of eating. The downside is that it gets boring if you make your batch too big or don't use many different recipes.
I could eat soup every day (and my husband does - he makes a big bowl of asian-style broth-based soup as his main meal).
Soup is awesome and you can live and diet well using soup as your main source of calories and nutrients, but if you're going to do that, you need to make sure your soups are nutritious. Without protein, fat and carbohydrate, the malnutrition will catch up with you.
For paleo-friendly soup the protein and fat can be a little higher, but cut out or back on the grains.
For Atkins induction, count your veggies, use your proteins and fats and leave out the non-induction ingredients.
For exchange plans, calorie counting, point systems... calculate whatever it is you're counting....
Soup is great, as long as the soups you select are great. The "cabbage soup" style diets though usually have you eating a soup that's missing nutrients especially fat and protein (and starch if you're not low-carbing or eating paleo). If you ARE eating low-carb or paleo then you have to replace the starch calories with protein and fat).
Diets that are low in fat, protein, AND non-fiber carbs (and cabbage soup diets usually are) tend to have some rather gruesome side effects in the long term (much nastier than the gaseousness) like hair loss, brittle and peeling nails, muscle weakness, fatigue, headaches (headaches like you wouldn't believe), light-headedness even fainting, and even stuff like permanent organ damage to gallbladder, heart and blood vessels and even sudden death.
So if you're going to base your diet on soup, make sure it's soup that is nutritionally complete and high enough in calorie over the course of the day to allow you to be active and comfortable. If you're too weak to exercise, or if you're getting dizzy, light-headed, or experiencing headaches or any other uncomfortable side-effects, you're doing something wrong.
Last edited by kaplods; 05-28-2013 at 10:16 PM.