Soups made from pulses and beans, whether home-made or not, contain on average 10g protein per serving. This may be an unpopular opinion, but 10g protein is way too low, and therefore plant-based soup, is not a balanced meal. Yes, we could add a couple of small slices of wholemeal bread, and that would bring the figure to 28g, and yes, wholemeal bread contains fibre that doesn’t spike blood sugar (3.6g), but if you have insulin resistance / type 2 diabetes, you are also adding the equivalent of over 5 tsp of sugar to the meal, and that WILL raise insulin levels and blood sugar, and damage blood vessels. Not advisable! Damaged blood vessels lead to cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
10g protein is also not enough to satiate. In other words, it won’t keep us full until dinner, especially if hormones are out of whack: Ghrelin says, “I’m hungry”, dopamine cries “I want”, whilst insulin resistance screams at you “I don’t know, but I just crave”. Cue the biscuits, crisps and chocolate. These are undeniably very real, physiological reactions, and NOT your fault. You are NOT greedy. Hormones are extremely persuasive. However, when the body gets enough amino acids from protein, this screaming quietens down, allowing us to identify real hunger and listen to what our body is really telling us. Protein also takes longer to digest, which keeps us fuller for longer.
As we age, we absorb less protein. To slow or prevent muscle loss and maintain bone density as we age, we need to aim for at least 30g per meal. Prior to being an nutritional therapist, I was a registered care manager, and have seen many people with sarcopenia and osteoporosis. It may be unsexy, but aiming to be a strong old lady is one of the main reasons I lift weights and eat enough protein. Aim being the operative word, I most certainly haven’t got all my ducks in a row.
So, if you are having soup this lunchtime, add some extra’s to bump up the protein, such as chopped chicken, ham, fish, beef, egg or tofu.
Have a great day x