Soup, Lose Weight
Raloof reports in the April 24, 1999, issue of Science
News on new research that supports the common sense belief
that filling up on healthy soup can decrease appetites
and increase weight loss.
A study by Barbara J. Rolls and Elizabeth A. Bell of Pennsylvania State University
is based on the fact that, for satiety purposes, the body's natural sensors
don't register how many calories a person has just eaten. Thus, an artful cook
can discourage overeating by making each calorie more filling. How? With water.
The study was conducted in 3 parts, feeding 24 young women a 270-calorie appetizer
of chicken-rice casserole--first, by itself; second, with a 10-ounce glass
of water; and last, by dumping the glass of water into the casserole (back
in the kitchen) and serving it up as chicken-rice soup. After each round, experimenters
measured how much lunch the women ate afterwards. Hands down victory for soup:
instead of following up with a 300-calorie lunch, as with the casserole or
casserole/glass of water, they daintily pushed their plates away after 200
calories. That's a one-third reduction! Nor did they get hungry earlier or
eat a bigger dinner later. It reinforces the idea that food and drink after
hunger and satiety through different mechanisms and only when the water is
processed as a "food" does it add measurably to satiety.
I would only add that while you should not expect dramatic weight loss if you
only eat cream soups larded with butter and eggs, you could argue that such
a soup might more effectively keep you from scarfing down the chocolate mousse
than if you'd started with an omelet.