Does Leek Soup Help You Lose Weight? (From a Dietician)

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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If you liked the Netflix show ‘Emily in Paris’ like some of my clients, and you watched the scene when they make ‘magical leek soup’.

Apparently, the soup can help you lose weight, and it’s the secret to French women’s slim figures.

As a certified personal trainer, I decided to review available literature and speak with a registered dietitian, as well as my family physician who specialized in nutrition, to research the leek soup diet and its weight loss potential.

Here’s what I found out.

Quick Summary

  • Consuming leek soup can aid in short-term weight loss, primarily through its low-calorie content and diuretic properties.
  • Leeks, the main ingredient in the soup, are packed with antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds, offering significant health benefits.
  • Following a leek soup diet, where one consumes only leek soup for a set period, can result in a very low daily caloric intake, around 240 calories for 48 hours, according to one of the articles from the Nutritionix website.
  • As a fitness enthusiast, I believe the leek soup diet can be a useful short-term strategy for weight loss, but it should be balanced with a long-term, sustainable diet plan.

Does Leek Soup Aid in Weight Loss?

Close up shot of cooked leek soup

Leek soup aids in weight loss, but only as a short-term solution since it provokes water weight loss that’s not sustainable.

In my experience with clients following a fasting diet, leek soup can be a helpful tool for short-term weight loss. I've guided clients who consumed a cup of leek soup every 2-3 hours over a weekend, and many reported a noticeable difference in how they felt and looked.

Since each cup of leek soup contains about 15 calories, if you follow the instructions and drink 16 cups, you’ll ingest only 240 calories during those 48 hours (if you use six leeks, as one contains around 38 calories), according to one of the articles from the Nutritionix website [1].

It will put your body into fasting mode, provoking glycogen and water loss rather than fat loss.

“Fasting diets are very appealing right now. They’re just fancy ways of cutting calories from your diet and a weight loss point of view, they’re not the answer.”

- Dr. Nick Fuller, Obesity Expert

From my observations as a personal trainer, while leek soup's diuretic effect can offer quick results, it's often temporary. Several of my clients found that the weight lost was quickly regained, highlighting the importance of a balanced approach to dieting.

However, this doesn’t mean that leeks should be avoided since they contain some beneficial nutrients.

What Nutritional Benefits Do Leeks Provide?

Close up shot of Leek Soup in a bowl

Drawing from my nutrition training, I often recommend leeks to my clients for their rich nutritional profile. As part of the onion family, they're loaded with antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds, which I've found beneficial in various diet plans.

Like other allium vegetables (onions and garlic), leeks are rich in antioxidants like allicin, kaempferol, and organosulfur compounds. According to an article found on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, they all have strong anti-inflammatory properties and other health benefits [2].

It’s why a diet rich in allium veggies has been linked with a lower risk of certain cancers and may be protective against diabetes and heart disease [3].

Besides antioxidants, leeks are rich in dietary fiber, especially fructans, which act as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in our digestive system [4].

They also contain many vitamins and minerals [5]. One cup of leeks (100 g) contains :

  • Vitamin C - 12 mg
  • Vitamin K - 47 µg
  • Vitamin A - 83 µg
  • Calcium - 59 mg
  • Magnesium - 28 mg
  • Potassium - 180 mg

Keep in mind that boiled leeks will lose some of the thermosensitive nutrients like vitamin C or antioxidants, so the better option would be to steam them [6].

But if you enjoy leeks in a soup, it will still provide a good amount of minerals, fibers, and other nutrients.

If you want to maximize your weight loss, you can check out our article about the best fat-burning foods.

How to Prepare Leeks

Leek soup chopped up on a wooden board

To prepare leeks, raw or cooked, you first need to cut them properly.

You should follow these steps:

  • Cut off the dark green leaves and stringy roots
  • Slice the leeks lengthwise in half
  • Cut the light green and white parts into half circles
  • Rinse under water and dry them (if they go in the pan with oil)

Next, to cook homemade stock of ‘magical leek soup’ (leek broth), you should do the following:

  • Put two pounds of leeks in a large pot and cover it with water
  • Heat it to a boil and simmer for approximately 30 minutes
  • Strain the liquid into a container
  • Add a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice
  • Season sparingly with salt and pepper
  • Add chopped parsley

While there won’t be any magic, it may be a good food option for dieters, as eating a soup course before your evening meal may satiate you just enough to eat less for dinner.

You can also use fresh or roasted leeks, mash them or add them to salads, eggs, and many other dishes.

FAQs

Are Leeks a Good Diet Food?

Leeks are a good diet food because they are low in calories but filled with fiber and water. Therefore, leeks may lead to a feeling of fullness, prevent cravings, and boost your healthy meals, adding a lot of delicious flavor to them.

Are Leeks Keto?

Leeks aren’t keto since they contain moderate amounts of net carbs (14.5g per 100g serving). Used as a meal, you should limit the consumption, so you don’t exceed the 20g-30g daily carb limit. However, used as a garnish, the amount of carbs is low enough to fit into a keto diet easily.

How Has Leek Soup Been Used Historically in European Diets for Health and Weight Management?

In European countries, particularly in France, leek soup has been a staple for health and weight management for centuries, often used as a detoxifying agent and for its mild diuretic properties. It's been a part of traditional diets, valued for its simplicity and nutritional benefits.

How Does Leek Soup Compare to Other Vegetable Soups Like Broccoli, Spinach, or Carrot Soup in Terms of Nutrient Content?

Leek soup is lower in calories and high in vitamins A and K compared to other vegetable soups, making it an excellent choice for weight loss. While broccoli and spinach soups are richer in protein and iron, leek soup stands out for its unique combination of essential vitamins and minerals beneficial for overall health.

How Can Leek Soup Be Adapted for Different Diet Plans Like Low-Carb, Paleo, or Low-Fat?

For a low-carb or paleo diet, leek soup can be prepared without starchy additives, focusing on the natural flavors of leeks. For a low-fat version, reduce or eliminate the use of oils and creams, making it a versatile dish that can be easily adapted to various dietary needs while aiding in weight loss.

What Is the Comprehensive Nutritional Profile of Leek Soup and How Does It Contribute to Weight Loss and Overall Health?

Leek soup is low in calories, high in dietary fiber, and rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron and magnesium. This nutritional profile aids in weight loss by promoting satiety and providing essential nutrients, making it a healthy and beneficial addition to any diet.


References:

  1. https://www.nutritionix.com/food/leek/1-leek
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7280442/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20940019/
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128146491000077
  5. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24105673/
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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