Is Your Soup Swimming With Junk Ingredients?

Posted in Healthy Soups

Finding a good-tasting soup is easy; stacks of cans run far and high at your local market. But what about finding a good-tasting brand of soup that won’t bowl you over with far too much sodium?

High taste, low sodium – it’s not the impossible dream!

Many food manufacturers have jumped on the low-sodium bandwagon and are now offering soups with about half the salt of their regular versions.

We think that’s great. Now what about finding a good-tasting brand of soup that’s lower in sodium and doesn’t have a bowl full of junk ingredients in it? Not so easy.

Case in Point: Campbell’s Select Healthy Request Savory Chicken and Long Grain Rice Soup

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1 cup serving 100 calories, 0.5g fat, 480mg sodium, 2g fiber, 7g of protein

INGREDIENTS: Chicken Stock, Water, Cooked White Chicken Meat, Carrots, Rice, Celery, Potatoes, Contains Less than 2% of the Following Ingredients: Modified Food Starch, Dehydrated Onions, Salt, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Onion Powder, Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten, Soy Protein Concentrate, Chicken Skins, Lower Sodium Natural Sea Salt, Dehydrated Garlic, Sodium Phosphates, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Dehydrated Parsley, Chicken Flavor (Contains Chicken Stock, Chicken Powder, Chicken Fat), Beta Carotene for Color, Ascorbic Acid (Added to Help Retain Color), Spice Extract, Natural Flavoring, L-Cysteine Monohydrochloride, Xanthan Gum.


Decoding the Fine Print

First, we need to give Campbell’s credit for cutting back on the fat (98% fat free) and the sodium (45% less than the regular version). Kudos – it’s a start! However, where we can’t give them credit is for all the hidden sources of MSG that are found on the ingredients label (bolded).

Hmm…why would they need to add seven (yes, seven!) sources of hidden MSG to this “Healthy Request” variety of soup?

We have a hunch. When they reduced the sodium and the fat, they also reduced the taste. So to add taste back into the soup they added a handful of factory made flavor-enhancing ingredients. Now that’s what we label M’m! M’m! NOT So Good!

Campbell’s was right about one thing: Soup is good food…if you can find a brand that isn’t swimming with harmful junk ingredients! But don’t despair, your favorite food sleuths have uncovered junk-free soups that are tasty too!


eBrandAid Soup Guidelines

  • Look for organic brands. They tend to use little to no junk ingredients; most will be found on the “healthy food” aisle in your local grocery store. Note: We especially like the brands that come packaged in resealable aseptic cartons that help lock in the flavor.
  • Look for soup varieties that offer lower sodium levels – between 300-550mg per cup. Anything above 550mg of sodium is okay, but is not considered a BestBrands pick.
  • Avoid MSG and other additives that contain MSG – like hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and yeast extract. (Check out our refresher course on MSG aliases).

BestBrands

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So slurp right up and let the eBrandAid food sleuths serve up our favorite brands of simply super soup.

Note: Not all grocery stores are going to carry every brand on our recommended BestBrands list. So, to be on the safe side, take our convenient Grocery Store BestBrands Request Form with you on your next shopping excursion – most store managers are happy to stock requested items!

Amy’s Kitchen:
Organic Butternut Squash – Light in Sodium (290mg sodium)
Organic Split Pea Soup – Light in Sodium (280mg sodium)
Organic Chunky Tomato Bisque – Light in Sodium (340mg sodium)
Organic Cream of Tomato – Light in Sodium (340mg sodium)
Organic Minestrone Soup – Light in Sodium (290mg sodium)
Organic Lentil Soup- Light in Sodium (290mg sodium)
Organic Lentil Vegetable – Light in Sodium (340mg sodium)
Organic Black Bean Vegetable Soup – Low Fat (430mg sodium)

Healthy Valley:
Fat Free Corn & Vegetable Organic Soup (390mg sodium)
Fat Free Italian Minestrone Organic Soup (390mg sodium)
Fat Free Tomato Vegetable Organic Soup (390 mg sodium)

Tabatchnick:
Chicken Dumpling (440mg sodium; this is not organic, but still a BestBrand)

Imagine Foods
Organic Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (460mg sodium)
Organic Creamy Acorn Squash & Mango Soup (430mg sodium)
Organic Creamy Broccoli Soup (470mg sodium)
Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup (390mg sodium)
Creamy Sweet Corn Soup (450mg sodium)
Organic Sweet Potato Soup (400mg sodium)
Organic Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (430mg sodium)

Pacific Natural Foods:
Organic Light Sodium Roasted Red Pepper and Tomatoes (360mg sodium)
Organic Light Sodium Creamy Butternut Squash (289mg sodium)
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato (360mg sodium)
Organic Light Sodium Creamy Butternut Squash (280mg sodium)
Organic Light Sodium Creamy Tomato (380mg sodium)

Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.

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In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.

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