Soup used to just be something you just ate when you were sick in bed or chilled to the bone. But according to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, it’s also something you should eat when you want to lose weight.
For the study, researchers surveyed more than 20,000 adults and found that, on average, soup eaters weighed less and had smaller waists than those who didn’t get their slurp on.
Why? As it turns out, people who eat soup also tend to have better overall eating habits. Researchers found that soup-lovers consumed fewer calories and grams of fat per day. Previous studies suggest that soup is highly satiating and can reduce hunger throughout the day. For instance, in one 2007 study, people who ate chicken soup as an appetizer before an all-you-can-eat pizza meal consumed 20 percent fewer calories than those who dove straight into the buffet.
But soup is good for more than just cutting calories. In this new study, people who ate soup also consumed more protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals than those who didn’t get with soup.
Unsurprisingly, though, the soup eaters did have higher intakes of sodium. The easiest way to cut salt (and not flavor!) from your bowl? Make your own soup. To help you start a healthy soup habit, we’ve rounded up our favorite healthy and filling soup recipes. Check them out. And if you’re feeling super committed to soup, read about one staffer’s attempt at a soup cleanse.
*This story was originally published on WomensHealth.com.