Soup vs. Juice: why soup wins when it comes to health
Juicing is the latest trendy way to shift the pounds: from juice bars offering potions at £5+, to juice-only cleanses, and high-tech machines that can grind anything (but cannot go in the dishwasher).
Me? I’ve stayed loyal to my first love: soup. For me, juice is over-rated, over-priced and over-sweet. Whereas soup is that rarest of foods: a true comfort food that fills you up, and helps you stay a healthy weight.
Read my top 5 reasons – or watch my video – and I think you’ll agree – soup is the winner in the battle of the liquid lunch. Then try out my delicious home-made recipes for soups like Mustard and Cauli Shop with crispy crumbs and Indian Spiced Tomato and Red Lentil Soup.
- Soup fills you up and warms you up.
Hot soup is amazingly filling – and don’t just take my word for it. Researchers took the same foods, served one portion on a plate, and blended the other with hot liquid to produce soup. People given the soup stayed full for longer, because their stomachs emptied more slowly, so they didn’t get hungry. That’s especially important on a Fast Day – with only 500-600 calories to play with, you need to get best ‘value’ for your calories.
And on cold winter days, soup is a hug in a bowl. The warmth adds to the filling effect I mentioned before, and you can increase the warming effect by adding chillis and spices to home-made soups, or buying spiced-up soups like the Skinnylicious Singapore Crushed Tomato or Fragrant Thai Carrot from my favourite soup brand, Glorious!***
- Soup is lower in sugar than juice.
Juice might seem a great way to get some of the recommended five portions of fruit or veg per day, but soups are a much better bet for your body. The trouble with fruit-based juice is that fruits are naturally higher in natural sugars than most veggies. When you eat whole fruit, it takes you a long time and your body has to work to digest the fibre. But the juice of 8 oranges could be downed in less than a minute. Your body has to work very hard to balance out the sugar, and you’ll often feel very hungry soon afterwards, and sluggish too. Even the ‘green juices’ which include vegetables still contain an element of sweeter fruit to match what we expect from a juice.
In contrast, veggies are much lower in sugars, and your blood sugar stays more balanced after eating, especially if it contains protein from pulses or chicken.
- Soup is cheaper.
Juices are expensive because they’re concentrated, their ingredients often have to be transported long distances, and don’t keep for long. But soup is kind to your bank balance: you can make it very easily, even with veggies that are past their best, and bases like tinned tomatoes or beans/lentils are super-cheap. Chiller soups can also be great value, with two meals in a pot, and you can freeze both home-made and chiller soups so there’s always a warming meal on hand with the minimum of fuss.
- Soup is more exciting!
One of my big reasons for loving soup is the variety: every food culture around the world has exciting soup recipes, and once you know the basics of soup-making, you can easily invent your own, adding flavours, spices, textures. Shop-bought soups are easy to pep up with your own touches: a swirl of pesto or crème fraiche, some fresh herbs, sriracha chilli sauce. Juice just isn’t as varied…
- Soup is the easiest meal option.
It makes me feel like a domestic goddess to have a bowl of soup bubbling away. See the food section of the site for low-calorie recipes, which take the minimum of equipment: a stick blender costs from £5 and is so easy to wash up (unlike most juicers).
Of course, the easiest option of all is to buy soup – if you’re not a fan of counting calories it’s all done for you! I discovered the Skinnylicious range when I’d just started fasting in 2012 and it’s saved me on a Fast Day countless times. When you’re buying soup, look out for:
- The same ingredients you’d use at home on the labels
- A balance of veggies with protein (the new Vietnamese Supergreen soup is ideal for me as a veggie, with petit pois, lentils and quinoa to keep me full at 144 calories for half a pot.
- The taste – OK, you can’t tell by looking, but in clear containers, you get a sense of the texture and ingredients. Some brands are very salty, but I much prefer the ones that take their flavour from spicing and produce.
- Glorious! soups is they don’t overload the salt, and the flavour comes from spices.
Juice might be flavour of the month, but soup stands the test of time…
*** Please note: I worked with Glorious! who covered the cost of making the video: but I only talk about products I love, and will not promote anything I don’t believe in!