We all want to live healthier lives, but sometimes, figuring out our best options can be tricky. So when Dr. Kellyann Petrucci appeared on Good Morning America to boast the health benefits of her Bone Broth Diet — a plan that promises weight loss in just 10 days — we indulged ourselves in a little healthy skepticism.
Without question, bone broth brings to the table the building blocks of the ultimate immunity-boosting soup. Your grandma wasn’t feeding you B.S. when she made you force down chicken broth on your sickbed. A hot cup of steaming stock flushes out congestion by making your nose run, and consuming broth-based soups keep you hydrated, too.
And there’s more. Breaking down bones to make broth releases collagen into the soup. A powerhouse protein found in skin and other connective tissue, collagen is also considered an anti-aging agent and can be added to food and drinks to ward off wrinkles.
In fact, precious few scientific studies exist about the specific health benefits of bone broth, despite its current flavor-of-the-month status. And yet, claims that bone broth does everything from curing leaky gut syndrome to healing arthritic joints abound. So what gives? We asked New York-based nutrition expert Maiken Wiese to serve up the skinny on broth-based diets, incluing Dr. Petrucci’s.
First thing’s first: Bone broth is no more “healthy” than any other food.
Some go as far as to call it a “superfood,” but according to our expert, bone broth is pretty average. “If you like bone broth, have it,” Wiese, a registered dietitian, told HelloGiggles via email. “But bone broth is just food. And it goes well with other foods.”
Contrary to what Petrucci’s Bone Broth Diet suggests, bone broth alone does not a complete meal make. According to Wiese, bone broth counts as a complete meal only when it is paired with other foods. “It should not be used as its own meal replacer,” said Wiese. So if you want to up the nutritional value of your bone broth, be sure to load it up with fresh veggies and add ancient grains, like quinoa and farro.
Mmm, makes sense. And sounds delicious!
Wiese has another bone to pick: the Bone Broth Diet as a weight loss solution. “Any nutritional recommendations that make claims for ‘healthy’ weight loss are, at their core, diets,” said Wiese. “[And] I don’t recommend dieting at all.”
“Diets have been shown repeatedly to be ineffective towards reaching a goal of health,” said Wiese. “Evidence has shown that diets often have only short-term results with subsequent rebound weight gain, and repeated dieting can lead to long-term weight gain or disordered eating.”
But according to Wiese, if there’s one ingredient that’s absolutely essential to a healthier life, it’s self-love.
“Learn to love the body you have,” said Wiese. “Treat it kindly and with respect by listening to its cues.” Nurturing a healthy relationship to your body — flaws and all — may not be as trendy as bone broth, but it’s definitely tried and true.
And to keep your body feeling great, don’t skip the regular doctor visits. Moving in a way that feels authentic to you and eating in a balanced, non-depriving way helps, too. No diet necessary.
Now that’s some delicious food for thought.