With daylight savings upon us, now we all have to get used to earlier and earlier sunsets and more and more hours without natural light in the evenings. Longer days without sunlight can put a damper on our mood and may even result in more weight gain. On average, research shows that people gain one to two pounds over the winter months.
This can be for a variety of reasons: without as much mood-regulating vitamin D from sun or even bright light exposure, we may feel a bit more down in the dumps, leading to less energy we want to spend on sticking to a healthy diet. If you experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), studies show you may even be prone to eating more calorie-dense carbohydrates, particularly sweets and starch-rich foods, in winter.
But there is a silver lining to living through these chilly winter nights—cold weather calls for cozy, comforting soups.
Not only can soups warm you up and satisfy a hungry belly, but they may also help you counteract some weight gain associated with darker days. In fact, one 2020 meta-analysis published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that the body of existing evidence reveals that soup consumption is significantly related to a lower risk of obesity.
“Soup can be one of the best weight management-friendly foods out there, as long as the right ingredients are included. In fact, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, soup association is linked to an increased intake of protein and fiber—two nutrients that can support weight loss,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist on our Medical Expert Board.
According to Manaker, when eating soup for weight loss, you still need to be cautious of certain types of soup, namely those high in sodium and those with calorically-dense add-ins.
“There are some caveats when choosing the best soup for weight loss. First, soups can be high in sodium—an ingredient that can cause people to bloat. Second, some soups can include calorie-rich ingredients like heavy cream, butter, and sausage. And eating large amounts of these ingredients may not be the best choice when trying to manage your weight,” says Manaker.
RELATED: The 20 Worst Soup Ingredients for Weight Loss
To optimize your flat belly efforts with soup, you’re going to want to prioritize belly-flattening ingredients that support weight loss. Read on to find out the ingredients Manaker says are essential in the best soup for a flat belly.
The best soup for a flat belly
While most low-sodium soups will support weight loss, there is one soup that may be the best for a flat belly: “a basic vegetable soup with a low-sodium bone broth and some fresh ginger can be a food that may help people support their weight management goals in a cozy and sustainable way,” recommends Manaker.
Add loads of veggies and beans
“Plenty of data shows that eating more vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of weight gain. And adding vegetables to soup is a simple way to bump up the veggie intake,” says Manaker.
In addition to veggies, you might as well throw in a can of beans. Any kind of bean will work—white, black, kidney, or chickpeas. Like vegetables, fiber-rich beans have also been linked to better weight regulation.
Use a bone broth base for added protein
Creamy soups are just as comforting as broth-based soups, but they aren’t as flat-belly friendly. Cream and milk are both calorically dense and dairy may be inflammatory to some, which can cause bloating. Instead, adding protein-rich bone broth can support satiety.
“When considering the base of the soup, skip the creamy and heavy choices and lean on a homemade bone broth that doesn’t contain a large amount of sodium. While traditional low-sodium broth is fine, bone broth contains more protein—a nutrient that helps promote satiety. And while the data is limited when it comes to whether bone broth is the miracle liquid that many tout it as, there is no denying that this rich soup contains high-quality protein in a sippable form,” says Manaker.
Season with ginger
Don’t be so heavy-handed with the salt shaker when making flat belly soups. There are ways to season your soup with herbs and spices to make a flavorful soup as well as one that can support weight loss.
“Instead of adding a large amount of salt for flavor, including fresh ginger can add some zing without added sodium. Plus, eating ginger has been linked to weight loss as well, making it another ingredient that may help people maintain a healthy weight,” says Manaker.
Soup recipes for a flat belly
Based on these flat belly soup ingredient recommendations, there are countless soup recipes you can try. There’s Veggie-Packed Minestrone With Pesto Soup, curried lentil stew, Italian vegetable soup, three-bean chili, carrot ginger soup, and more—the possibilities are endless!
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The #1 Worst Supplement to Take for Colorectal Cancer, Says Study
If you’re not getting all of the necessary nutrients you need from your diet, it seems easy to turn to supplements. While this can be a solution for some people who have nutrient deficiencies, it isn’t always wise to just choose a supplement and take it because you heard it’s healthy for you. And in the case of some vitamins, it can even be dangerous. According to a study from Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements are actually linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
This study evaluated over 2,500 participants over a two to three-year period of daily supplementation. Some took a daily supplement of folic acid (400 micrograms) and vitamin B12 (500 micrograms), while others took a placebo. The Netherlands Cancer Registry evaluated the data using the International Statistical Classification of Disease to search for all kinds of cancers, including colorectal cancer (and excluding skin cancer).
The results concluded that B vitamins (like B12 and folic acid, which is vitamin B9) were associated not only with a higher risk of overall cancer, but also “significantly associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer.” While researchers point out that further research would need to be done in order to confirm their findings, they conclude by stating that supplementation of folic acid and vitamin B12 should be limited to patients who have a known deficiency—and likely prescribed by a doctor.
Nevertheless, this study does contradict previous research that has been done—especially on folic acid. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for folic acid is at 400 micrograms a day and rises to 600 micrograms during pregnancy. One previous study from Cancer Epidemiology actually concluded that folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy did not have an effect on maternal cancer risk.
Secondly, this study had participants taking 500 micrograms of vitamin B12, which is incredibly high compared to the DRI that is recommended from B12 intake, which is just at 2.4 micrograms a day. While the toxicity of the vitamin has not been documented, deficiencies of this vitamin are uncommon. Unless a supplement is recommended by a doctor, one can easily get a sufficient amount of vitamin B12 in a day through consuming animal products (eggs, milk, cheese) and fortified foods (cereals, juices, tofu, milk alternatives, and more).
Folic acid can also be consumed through a variety of foods including dark leafy green vegetables, beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, fresh fruits and juices, whole grains, liver, seafood, eggs, and other fortified items.
So what does this mean for supplementation—should you take a vitamin B12 or folic acid supplement at all? Researchers concluded that if there is a known deficiency and a doctor recommends supplementation, that would be the appropriate time to implement a supplement into your diet. But if this is not something the doctor is recommending to you, you can easily attain enough of these vitamins through dietary sources.
For more supplement tips, these are the Supplements You Should Give Up in 2022, Say Dietitians.
Read the original article on Eat This, Not That!
COVID's Impact on Your Sense of Taste May Be Worse Than Thought, New Study Says
Those who have had COVID-19 have reported a range of symptoms, including a number of people who discovered that they’d lost their sense of taste for a time after becoming ill. This temporary inconvenience and annoyance was something experts believed had more to do with how the virus was affecting the sense of smell, due to the fact that smell impacts taste. However, a new study that was published by JAMA Otolaryngology has now found that COVID may, indeed, do direct harm to taste buds.
Researchers led by Italy’s University of Trieste worked with 105 people who had reported “a disruption of their ability to taste sweet, sour, salty, or bitter more than 3 months after a SARS-CoV-2 infection” to look for signs of “possible damage to their taste buds,” according to Medical News Today. After conducting tests that focused on both smell and taste, 42% of participants were found to have “hypogeusia—a loss of basic tastes.”
While there may have been other reasons for the damage to tastebuds, Claire Hopkins, professor of rhinology at Guy’s Hospital, London, in the United Kingdom, and one of the authors of the study, told Medical News Today, “There is some difficulty in self-rating true taste loss versus reduced flavor perception, which is a consequence of smell loss. … This leads to over-reporting of taste loss, and it has been largely assumed that this accounts for most reported alterations in taste disturbance after COVID.”
As for how COVID is potentially causing taste-related damage, Thomas Gut, D.O., the associate chair of medicine at Staten Island University Hospital, tells Eat This, Not That! that although the issue was initially linked to smell, “recent theories suggest that COVID may directly affect our taste buds using a mechanism that was previously understood to be the pathway to lung damage in COVID.”
“Both proposed mechanisms can cause changes in taste that range from complete lack of ability to discern between flavors to a miss-sense of taste that can result in the perception of bad or incorrect flavors,” says Gut.
“So far, it’s generally considered to be a symptom that will resolve on its own within a few months of infection,” Dr. Gut adds. “However, there’s a growing number of patients that now suffer from abnormal taste sensation for several months since their infection.”
Beyond that, Dr. Gut notes, “Unfortunately, few options exist for treatment currently, but more options may come to light as we learn more about how this virus attacks us.”
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