Bone broth also known as stock is made by simmering the bones and connective tissue of animals in water for a long period of time, even extending beyond 24 hours in some cases.
Advocates of bone broth have stated that the soup can heal and provide health benefits such as curing gut problems, giving skin a youthful glow, strengthening the bones, modulating the immune system, and more. We have a wide range of bone broth benefits at Bone Broth
But these claims have been stacked upon a shaky foundation of scientific evidence. Though bone broth is said to be a good source of collagen, gelatin, amino acids, and minerals, whether we effectively absorb them is another matter.
One study from 2018 found that bone broth was actually a much weaker source of amino acids compared to other dietary sources. Certain vitamins and enzymes might be destroyed due to the heat and long cooking period involved.
“Some bone broths highlight their calcium or magnesium content as a benefit, but in reality, their contribution may be very low,” Allison Webster, of the International Food Information Council Foundation, told Prevention.
The same applies to the protein content of the soup. Though it is present, the amount is not particularly significant. Moreover, it makes no difference for people who already get enough of the nutrient from eating meat.
Nutrition experts are sceptical about those benefits, as mentioned above, as there is not enough research on bone broth to prove them. Also, the bone broth alone is not filling enough to be used as a meal replacement. (This is why dietitians advise caution when it comes to associated weight-loss diets)
Now, all this is not to mean that there are zero positive effects to highlight. There are studies which have found that chicken soup may be helpful in easing symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection. So it is possible that a broth made from chicken bones could have a similar effect.
Bone broth can also help you stay hydrated by increasing your fluid intake and acting as a good alternative to processed, sugary drinks. Of course, including vegetables in the broth can definitely boost its nutritional profile.
But as of now, there is no evidence to indicate that broth has any particular standout benefit which you cannot find from a variety of other sources. So the ones who perceive it as a superfood with near-magical healing properties are piggybacking on nothing more than anecdotal evidence.
“Bone broth as part of a well-balanced and nutritionally sound diet is probably harmless, but it is not some type of ‘miracle food source’ with the ability to cure a multitude of aches, pains and diseases all by itself,” William Percy, an associate professor at the University of South Dakota, told NPR.
Bone broth certainly isn’t a new thing—cooks have been using bone-based stocks and broths for centuries. But, thanks to modern wellness culture, it’s trendier than ever. The hype around bone broth highlights its collagen content, plus all of the vitamins and minerals it might contain. But, how much of that hype is actually based in science? We asked a registered dietitian to lay out the facts.
Bone broth is pretty much the same as stock, although sometimes it’s a little bit thicker.
If you’ve ever made stock or broth from scratch, you might know that they’re fairly interchangeable. Both are made by simmering a mixture of animal bones, meat, and vegetables in water for several hours, resulting in a flavorful liquid that can be used as a base for soups, stews, braises and more. Traditionally, the stock is made with mostly bones, whereas broth is made with a mixture of bones and meat. You can also make vegetarian broth with just vegetables and no meat or bones.
Bone broth is essentially the same thing as stock, and different from the traditional broth. “Bone broth and stock are thicker than broth,” says Jerlyn Jones, MS, MPA, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Regular broth is consumed alone or as a base for soup and other dishes.” That thickness comes from the gelatin that gets released from the bones as they simmer—yep, the same stuff used to give texture to Jell-O and gummy candies—which is why bone broth and stock thicken and get jiggly when refrigerated. Unlike stock, bone broth is often made without any vegetables, and a few teaspoons of vinegar are added to bone broth as it simmers, which helps release even more gelatin and nutrients from the bones.
Bone broth is packed with tons of key nutrients
When it comes to nutrients, it’s tough to know exactly what you’re getting with bone broth. “The nutrient content varies based on the ingredients and amounts you use in the bone broth,” Jones says. “It largely depends on the type and quantity of the bones and tissues that went into it. A variety of different bones may yield a higher nutrient content.” So, for the most nutrient-rich bone broth, consider using bones from different animals.
“Animal bones are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and other trace minerals—the same minerals needed to build and strengthen your own bones,” Jones says. Again, it’s impossible to know how many of these minerals are in each batch of broth, but you’re likely getting at least trace amounts of each.
“Fishbones also contain iodine, which is essential for thyroid function and metabolism,” Jones says. Now, making a bone broth with fish bones will result in a bone broth that tastes, well, fishy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something to keep in mind before you start adding fish broth to recipes that shouldn’t taste like fish.
In addition to the nutrients from bones, you’ll also get nutrients from the connective tissues. “Connective tissue gives you glucosamine and chondroitin, natural compounds found in cartilage that are known to support joint health,” Jones says. To reap these benefits, use bones with some meat still attached.
Bone broth is also rich in Collagen, although there’s some debate over whether this really matters
“All of these animal parts also contain the protein collagen, which turns into gelatin when cooked and yields several essential amino acids,” Jones says. One thing to note: “The amino acids’ structure weakens from heat as the broth cooks, rendering them less useful to the body.”
Although Collagen is one of the most talked-about benefits to bone broth, it’s also the least evidence-based benefit. Jones points to this 2016 Time magazine article, in which William Percy, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine, calls it nonsense that eating collagen might lead to increased collagen production in our bodies. While it’s very unlikely that eating Collagen will cause harm—it’s a type of protein, and protein is an essential macronutrient—there’s also not sound science to prove that it has any real benefit.
If you’re looking to up your Collagen, make sure that you eat protein-rich foods to help build collagen and vitamin C-rich foods, since vitamin C is involved in collagen production.
The Appeal of Bone Broth
The resulting broth does tend to be more concentrated in protein than your standard kitchen stock, averaging between six and eight grams per cup serving, says Kristen F. Gradney, R.D., operations director at Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group in Baton Rouge, LA, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It’s in line with that whole low-carb, back-to-basics Paleo mindset. A lot of athletes use it instead of a juice-based sports drink to replace electrolytes after a workout and because of the Collagen,” she says. But while Collagen, a protein, has some proven benefits for joints and skin, it’s not enough to repair and regenerate cells and muscles, Gradney says, and certainly not in the small amounts found in bone broth.
Proponents of the stuff point out that it’s far more palatable than other options. “You can’t just bite into a bone,” says Meredith Cochran, co-founder and chief executive officer of The Osso Good Company, which makes the bone broth. Cochran, who has a degree in cellular, molecular biology and has studied traditional Chinese medicine, where bone broth has been used as a health regimen for thousands of years, admits that few western studies have been done on broth. But she has found research to show that the gelatin in it is one of the easiest substances to digest. In Chinese medicine, the main three amino acids found in broth — glycine, glutamine, and proline — have various benefits, from keeping your blood healthy to aiding fat digestion. Looking for bone broth benefits ? Look no further! Bone Broth has you covered.
Enjoying Soups, Stocks and Broths
While bone broth may not be the superfood, it’s believed to be, eating soup, broth or stock still provides some health benefits:
Soup is an excellent source of vegetables
Turns out, the old adage of chicken soup being a terrific cold remedy has some truth to it. Researchers from the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha found that chicken soup, when prepared traditionally with chicken and vegetables, decreased the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.
Soup can also boost the nutritional value of some vegetables. Some nutrients, such as the beta carotene or Vitamin A in orange vegetables, or the red pigment, lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, are better absorbed when cooked. Other nutrients, like the water-soluble B vitamin folate that’s found in spinach and other greens, can be lost in the water when vegetables are cooked. But with soup, you get the benefits of both the cooking water and the veggies.
Speaking of soup prep, you might be wondering about the differences between using chicken broth versus chicken stock or beef broth versus beef stock. The broth is made by cooking meat or poultry and vegetables with water, while stock is made using mainly bones and yields a more gelatinous result. Whichever your choice, add some vegetables to the pot for more flavour, which lessens the need for added salt.
Soup helps with weight loss
A hot bowl of soup also helps tame the appetite, as numerous studies have shown. In one investigation, Pennsylvania State University researchers found that subjects who ate a pre-lunch snack of soup consumed about one-third fewer calories than subjects who ate a solid snack with a glass of water.
In other research, overweight subjects on a controlled calorie weight-loss regime who had two daily servings of a low-calorie soup experienced 50% greater weight loss than those who consumed the same amount of energy with high-calorie snack food.
If that’s not enough to get you stirring the stockpot, consider having soup as a complete meal in a bowl — which is perfect for when you’re cooking for one or two. To boost a soup’s nutritional value, try adding protein-rich items like meat, poultry, fish, pulses, or tofu along with veggies and whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa or barley, to your recipe.
And be sure to prepare a little extra to store in the freezer for later. Bone Broth has a wide range of best bone broth benefits in Melbourne
While we’re discussing bone broth claims, a somewhat proven (if not old) claim about bone broth is that it might make you feel a little better if you’ve got a cold. One study from back in 2000 found that chicken soup had a mild anti-inflammatory effect that could help mitigate upper respiratory tract infections; another study from 20 years earlier showed chicken soup helped clear out nasal fluids more effectively than hot or cold water. Of course, chicken soup isn’t exactly the same as bone broth, so take those results with a grain of salt.
The comforts of a toasty cup of soup or broth might also be an effective placebo, Zoumas says: Drinking something warm and yummy often makes you feel better, even if it’s mostly a psychological effect. So go ahead and experiment, but only if you’re of age. Bones can sequester heavy metals like lead, Amidor says, so it might be smart to limit how much broth young kids sip.
One way to see how the bone-broth claims pan out is by trying it. If you’re craving something hot and savoury or looking for a way to use leftover bones after cooking, the dressed-up stock isn’t a bad idea. Just be conscious that no one food is powerful enough to fix all your health problems overnight.
“People need to put these things in perspective,” Amidor says. “If they enjoy the food and they can make it part of their healthy lifestyle, that’s fine. But they don’t have to spend tons of money on it. It’s not the end-all answer to living healthy.”
But proven benefits remain scant. Boiling down bones will net you only trace amounts of what’s inside them — mostly protein, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron (from the red blood cells in marrow). “There just isn’t enough of those trace nutrients to have any real impact on your health,” says Roger Clemens, a doctor of public health, past president of the Institute of Food Technologists, and current professor at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, International Center for Regulatory Science. Plus, he adds, the protein you do get isn’t high-quality, like you’d get from a steak. It lacks an amino acid profile consistent with what we need as humans, and, he adds: “Collagen has low digestibility. And if your body can’t break it down, it can’t use those nutrients.”
Still, while experts agree bone broth isn’t a cure-all, neither is it a very risky supplement to your diet. “It’s not harmful in any way,” says Gradney. “At the very least, you’re getting some extra protein and hydrating yourself.” She does urge caution with sodium contents, however, which can range up to 800 milligrams per half-cup depending on how it’s prepared. “You really want to keep it to less than 700 milligrams per serving,” she says. Otherwise, it’s an excellent way to fortify soup, gravies, sauces. Check out our Melbourne best bone broth benefits here.