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To soup or not to soup?

Dubbed as the ‘new juice cleanse’, souping is the latest detox trend to take 2016 by storm. The term evolved when people started sipping on soups and broths as a way to rid the body of toxins and restart the digestive system. But is a diet of pulverised veggies and savoury-flavoured waters the best choice for weight-loss?

By Jana du Plessis

Juicing vs souping

The first argument in favour of souping? Its fibre content. Unlike juicing (where all the fibre and pulp is removed, leaving only the water and sugar behind), soups are packed with all the good veggie fibre. Plus you can load up on the grains and protein-rich pulses.

Another perk is that the effect of souping on your blood sugar levels is milder than that of juicing. Sugar is still sugar, even if the source is fruit. Because juices have such a high concentration of fruit sugar, it causes your blood sugar to spike, which can give you a rather short-lived energy boost. Soup, on the other hand, will result in a slower release of energy, because veggies contain much less sugar than fruit.

Overall, souping can be more satisfying than juicing. That’s because soups still require some degree of chewing – chugging down a juice won’t feel like much of a lunch or dinner. The act of souping can feel less of a detox punishment for those who find a complete elimination of solid foods a deal-breaker.

On the downside

Although souping seems to be a healthier alternative to juice detoxes, there are still some aspects to keep in mind before diving head (or should I say spoon?) first into a bowl of soup. Although most soup detox programs recommend following it for no longer than five days (there’s usually a 1-day and 3-day option too), the amount of kilojoules prescribed for each day tends to be lower than the average recommended amount.

There is also the question of whether or not these soups are balanced meals. Yes, some do contain starchy grains and protein-filled beans, but is it enough for an individual’s daily needs?

The verdict

When comparing juice fasts to its soup counterpart, souping might just come out on top as still being a nourishing programme that is easy on the digestive system and includes plenty of vegetables, nutrients and fibre.

Your best bet when taking on the soup challenge? Know that isn’t a quick fix weight-loss solution, but rather a restart button.  Adapt your exercise programme to low-intensity workouts like yoga or short walks, and be mindful of your body and the way it feels throughout the detox. That way, you can be more in tune to what nutrients your body requires when re-introducing protein, dairy and gluten to your diet.

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