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 try it, and we reach 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 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
For years, you’ve been enjoying creamy vegetable soups, blissfully unaware that these comforting bowls might introduce harmful chemicals into your system, paving the way for various health issues. But don’t worry; you’re not alone in this. The allure of fancy advertising and clever marketing tactics often leads many of us down a path of misconceptions, influencing our lifestyle choices. It’s time to uncover the reality behind packaged soups, empowering you to make informed decisions about your health. (1) (2)
Forget what those glossy TV ads promise you time and again. In reality, the nutritional 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 food more accessible 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, using preservatives to extend the product’s shelf life destroys the antioxidant properties of the ingredients.
According to experts, the nutritional value of freshly cooked vegetables or raw fruits far surpasses that of packaged foods, including packaged soups. The health advantages of a straightforward homemade soup with just a few vegetables outweigh those of its packaged equivalent, laden with harmful preservatives and a minimal amount of actual vegetables.
Packaged Soups Have No Calories!
While we often consider 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 think again if you believe your delicious packaged soup gives you vital calories! Experts warn that you consume ‘no calories’ or ’empty calories’ by indulging in packaged soups. These empty calories stay in your body for as 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 food that lacks nutritional value and 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 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 preservatives used widely in soups, which can cause cancer and other health problems.
Salt, an ingredient frequently used in packaged soups, is harmful to people with high blood pressure, osteoporosis, asthma, and kidney diseases. In addition, 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. However, research has shown that cornflour, when used in sumptuous quantities, causes damage to our bodies. It forms more outstanding fat deposits in the body, which increases hunger pangs and ultimately leads to overeating. It is also bad for our intestines 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 raise your total blood cholesterol levels. They also increase our body’s low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels.
The Menace Of’ Packaging’ Itself
Processing at high temperatures and pressures makes packaged soups nutritionless. However, not only the lack of nutrition or harmful ingredients make packaged soups a health hazard. The packaging causes toxic chemical exposure, making the soup 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? Considering the larger picture of good health, nothing is better than this comfort food’s clear, homemade version. It may take time, but you can stay assured about the ingredients’ quality and the food’s benefits. 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 and 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.
Despite their convenience, pre-packaged soups pose health risks. Advertised as quick snacks or meals, they lack nutritional value. Creamy vegetable soups may introduce harmful chemicals, compromising health. Packaged soups often contain minimal vegetables high starch, sugar, and sodium. Harmful components like preservatives, salt, saturated fat, and packaging chemicals make them an unhealthy choice.