The popularity of soup can be seen from the expansion and opening of several soup stores opening at the Central Business District and City Hall area. A bowl of soup plus bread and butter seems like a much healthier alternative than a meal at the food court. And of course at a steeper price.

What we may not know is that soup you crave can have as many calories as a Big Mac. Gasp. And on top of the surprising amount of fat and calories in some brands, there is more than half a day’s recommended amount of sodium in some types of soup.

Canned Soups
Grocery store soups are quick and easy, but many of them are high in trans fats and sodium, and a surprising number contain MSG. The dietary guideline for a full day’s intake of sodium is 2,400mg, but some flavors have more than half that amount in a single serving.

Generic condensed tomato soup contains 151 calories and 1,383mg of sodium per cup. Read the fine print on those labels.

Powdered Soups
Because of the artificial additives present in powdered soup mix, these packets can be worse than canned soup.

One serving of powdered cream of vegetable soup (prepared with water and not even full cream milk) contains 107 calories and 1,170mg of sodium.

Creamy Soups
These soups are rich tasting, but they won’t be too kind to your waistline. Their texture comes from whole milk, cream or cheese added to vegetable and meat ingredients, which can add more than 14 grams of saturated fat per serving, or three quarters of the recommended daily limit.

A New England clam chowder can contain 624 calories and 42 grams of fat.

Add-Ons
Resist the temptation to grab that fistful of croutons, crackers or add a dash of salt. A bowl of French onion soup, served with cheese on top and bread on the side, can top 700 calories.

To stay healthy, avoid fatty soups, look for clear soups with lots of vegetables, or make your own and go easy on the salt.

(Adapted from Newsweek article.)

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