You may not necessarily view soup as a hearty meal but when it comes to keeping you feeling fuller for longer it wins hands down compared to a solid meal!
A recent study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigating the physiological mechanisms that cause soup to be more satiating, came up with some surprising results. Volunteers were given a solid meal, a chunky soup and a smooth soup and were tested for time taken for gastric emptying and glycaemic response. The smooth soup induced greater fullness compared to the solid meal or chunky soup, even though blood glucose levels were increased more quickly.
It is thought that the separation of solids and liquids within the stomach gives rise to the liquid part being emptied quicker than the solids, whereas the combining of the liquid and the solid food to a smooth consistency, as in soup, keeps all the contents in the stomach for longer. This increases gastric distension and makes the person feel fuller.
In general it is thought that slower gastric emptying means that glucose is released more slowly but this was where the results were surprising. It was hypothesized that the smooth soup increased the availability of the carbohydrate element of the soup. This meant it would be absorbed quickly and so increase blood glucose levels quickly. This in turn would stimulate the release of insulin and insulin increases feelings of fullness.
This makes interesting findings in regard to weight management. A hearty soup, particularly at lunch time, could get you through the afternoon and help to reduce the temptation to snack.
Here is a lovely cauliflower soup.
Cauliflower, Leek, Bean and Cheese Soup
The beans combined with the cheese make this soup lovely and filling. You can make it well in advance. Leftover soup can be frozen in “one portion size” containers to give you a handy ready-made meal.
400ml can cannellini beans
600ml vegetable stock or boiled water and stock cube
1 small leek
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
4 slices wholemeal bread
- Cut the cauliflower into small florets. In a large saucepan bring to the boil 300ml of milk with 600ml of stock, add the cauliflower florets and simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is simmering wash and finely slice the leek. Heat 1 tbsp of butter and saute the leek until soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste, set aside.
- When the cauliflower has been simmering for 10 minutes, add the cannellini beans, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, 100g of grated cheddar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes, then using a blender or hand blender roughly blend together (it should not be too smooth). Return to the pan and add half the leeks, simmer for 2 minutes.
- Slice two thick pieces of wholemeal bread and cut them into cubes. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the bread cubes and fry until crispy, this takes about 5 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt.
- Serve the soup with a spoonful of the remaining leeks and a handful of croutons along with some slices of wholemeal bread and butter.