From warming up in a chilled evening to getting relief from cold and cough, there are times when a bowl of hot soup turns into our savior. However, the hassles of making fresh soup at home often make us reluctant to give it a try, and we end up reaching out for pre-packaged soups. But do you know that packaged soups can risk your health to a great extent? No matter how fast and convenient they seem to be for snacks and meals, they are not nutritious. So, before you open a packet of readymade soup for your next quick dinner, let us figure out why they are not the healthiest choices.
The Reality Of Packaged Soups
You’ve been slurping on frothy vegetable soups for years now. Little did you know that your body has already accumulated many potentially hazardous chemicals from these, which could usher in a host of illnesses! But you’re not the only one. Fancy advertising and fluffy marketing gimmicks often get the better of many of us. We start believing the myths, thereby affecting our lifestyle in the long run. However, we will reveal the truth about packaged soups now so that you can make wise decisions about your health. (1) (2)
Forget what those glossy TV ads promise you time and again. In reality, the nutrition value of a packaged food item depends upon the ingredients used in it and its way of processing. Unfortunately, the vegetable content of packaged soups is almost negligible, and you can find plenty of starch, sugar, and sodium in them. While making digestion and absorption of the food easier for our system, processing often removes certain nutrients, such as dietary fibers, water-soluble vitamins, etc. The nutrition in frozen vegetables and fruits cannot be stored for long even after using the preservatives. Moreover, the use of preservatives for extending the product’s shelf life destroys the antioxidant properties of the ingredients.
Experts say that packaged foods (including packaged soups) are no match to the wholesome goodness of freshly cooked vegetables or raw fruits. The health benefits of a simple natural homemade soup with only a couple of vegetables are much higher than its packaged counterpart, which comes steeped in harmful preservatives and a minuscule quantity of vegetables.
Packaged Soups Have No Calories!
While we often look at reducing our calorie intake to lose weight, our body still needs some quantum of calories to derive energy for all our activities. And those calories come from what we eat and drink.
But if you are thinking that your delicious packaged soup is giving you vital calories, think again! Experts warn that you consume ‘no calories’ or ’empty calories’ by indulging in packaged soups. These empty calories stay in your body for long as they do not get absorbed immediately. As a result, you might end up experiencing problems like constipation, upset tummy, etc.
Again, packaged soups in the powdered form (dehydrated) lose their nutritional qualities once heated with water. This means that you are taking in no vitamin or nutrient at all. Instead, you are stuffing yourself with a food that not only lacks nutritional value but also makes you more prone to diseases.
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Harmful Components In Packaged Soups
Now, let us know about some common yet harmful components that we should watch out for in pre-packaged soups.
Packaged items contain significantly high doses of preservatives to keep the foods looking ‘fresh’ and extend their shelf-life. Unfortunately, this causes moderate to severe health damage. Sulfites or Coal Tar Azo Dyes are some forms of preservatives used widely in soups, which can cause cancer and other health problems.
Salt, an ingredient leniently used in packaged soups, is harmful to people with high blood pressure, osteoporosis, asthma, and kidney diseases. In addition, the consumption of excess salt increases water retention in the body, making you look bloated and causing edema.
Cornflour is a common ingredient in packaged soups, mostly added to confer that final thick consistency. But research has shown that cornflour, when used in sumptuous quantities, causes damage to our body. It forms greater fat deposits in the body, which increases hunger pangs and ultimately leads to overeating. It is also bad for our intestine and raises blood sugar levels.
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4. Saturated Fat
Packaged soups contain saturated fats, which have several adverse effects on our health. If you consume saturated fats frequently, you will end up raising your total blood cholesterol levels. They are also responsible for increasing the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in our body.
The Menace Of’ Packaging’ Itself
Processing at high temperatures and pressures makes packaged soups nutritionless. However, it is not only the lack of nutrition or harmful ingredients that make packaged soups a health hazard. The packaging itself causes toxic chemical exposure, thereby making the soup very much detrimental to your health.
Almost all packaging materials contain certain chemicals (bisphenol A or BPA, bisphenol S or BPS), infamous for their endocrine-disrupting nature. The body’s increased amount of BPA and BPS has been linked to early puberty, reproductive abnormalities, ADHD, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and several other serious health issues.
How To Consume Fresh Homemade Soup?
Do we need to mention why soups made at home with fresh ingredients and broth are good for you? If you take the larger picture of good health into account, nothing is better than the clear, homemade version of this comfort food. It may take time, but you can stay assured about the quality of the ingredients and the benefits of the food. Here are a few tips to maximize the goodness of your fresh homemade soups:
- Add lots of fresh and unprocessed vegetables, grains, and beans to your soups to make them nutritious as well as delicious.
- Include the skins of vegetables to increase their fiber content. It will slow down the absorption of sugar, boost your digestion and help you lose weight.
- Replace salt with vinegar, lemon juice, and herbs as they enhance the flavor of the food without making it unhealthy.
You can always make fresh soups in large batches and store them in the refrigerator by dividing them into small portions.