The Soup Diet: Why Is It Not a Good Option for Weight Loss?

A diet to lose several kilos in a week? What could be better? Is the soup diet the answer?
The Soup Diet: Why Is It Not a Good Option for Weight Loss?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 17 January, 2023

The soup diet is not a good option for weight loss, despite many gurus claiming its efficiency. It’s a very restrictive diet, which increases the risk of developing deficits and can even compromise your overall health.

To lose weight you shouldn’t starve yourself or eliminate entire food groups, but, rather, promote good habits and adjust your intake to your needs. And although these diet plans work in the short term, their counterproductive effects are reason enough to avoid them. We’ll tell you more below.

What is the soup diet?

The soup diet is a dietary method in which only the consumption of soup is allowed. Often, they’re made from plant-based foods; however, they can include pieces of lean meats and oil.

Its main objective is rapid weight loss. Proponents claim that it’s possible to lose between 3 and 8 kilograms of body weight in a matter of a week. Of course, this is the first warning sign of its dangers.

As it’s an aggressive and restrictive diet, those who follow it are exposed to side effects ranging from mild to severe. It isn’t sustainable in the medium term, as a state of anxiety will soon appear that will impair adherence.

There’s a high risk of suffering a rebound effect and developing chronic pathologies when following these types of diets.

The soup diet.
Basing the diet on soups alone is dangerous because it leads to nutritional deficits.

Main disadvantages

Since soups are usually prepared only from vegetables, this diet is lacking in protein. In the absence of this important macronutrient, the body begins to progressively lose lean mass due to catabolism.

To maintain muscle mass, it’s necessary to consolidate an intake of at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight in sedentary people, as stated in a study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism .

On the other hand, fat requirements won’t be met either. This is also a problem because it tends to increase internal inflammation. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders, digestive diseases, and hormonal disturbances.

In men, for example, evidence suggests that consuming few saturated lipids depresses testosterone production.

However, it shouldn’t be ignored that the deposits of micronutrients are diminishing because of the limited nature of this diet. By reducing vitamins A, E, C and D, the immune system is affected and the risk of infections and diseases increases.

Side effects of the soup diet

When a diet as restrictive as the soup diet is proposed, it’s common to experience a rebound effect. It can’t be followed for more than one or two weeks, as the caloric and nutritional restriction begins to manifest itself with health problems.

In fact, just using the diet for a few days will affect the metabolism. For this reason, once people have finished their stint on this diet, it’s common for them to opt for a diet that’s even worse than the original one. Because of this, the fatty weight is regained in a short time, and even in greater amounts.

In addition to this, serious complications can occur if it is extended over time. One of the most frequent is anemia due to iron or vitamin B12 deficiency. The latter is only present in foods of animal origin, so it’s necessary to ensure a diet that meets a person’s needs in this sense.

Ultimately, liquid diets like these tend to cause an electrolyte imbalance. Situations of sodium or potassium deficiency can occur. In the case of sodium, an insufficient amount can cause hyponatremia.

Other side effects are as follows:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fainting
Effects of the soup diet.
The soup diet is very restrictive in nutrients and calories, and can cause a state of fatigue and weakness.

The soup diet is really dangerous

In short, the soup diet is certainly not a good option. When aiming to lose weight, it’s better to opt for other variants that combine optimal nutrient intake with exercise routines.

It’s clear that a calorie deficit must be achieved in order to fulfill the objectives, but this mustn’t be excessive. Otherwise, it won’t be sustainable in the medium and long term. Not to mention the fact that abrupt changes in body composition will alter metabolic function and increase the risk of disease.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Whittaker J, Wu K. Low-fat diets and testosterone in men: Systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2021;210:105878. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2021.105878
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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.