Bone broth is a nutrient-dense, flavorful liquid made by simmering bones and connective tissue in water for an extended period. It’s a staple in many traditional cuisines and has gained popularity in recent years as a health food. Bone broth is rich in minerals that support bone health, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and silicon (5). It also contains amino acids, such as glycine and proline, that may be beneficial for gut health. Collagen, a major component of bone broth, is believed to support skin health and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. While there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that bone broth aids weight loss, it can be a nutritious addition to any diet. It’s used by Intermittent Fasters as a way to break their fasts and by people following the Paleo Diet as a source of nutrients. Here’s what you need to know about bone broth for weight loss, including how it works, recipes, and more.
Is Bone Broth Good For Weight Loss?
Bone broth is a low-calorie way to add extra nutrition to your diet. While it’s not going to help you lose weight on its own, it can be a helpful addition to a weight loss plan.
Bone Broth Alongside Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a popular weight loss strategy that involves alternating periods of fasting and eating (4). During the fasting periods, you’re allowed to consume very few or sometimes no calories, depending on the type of fasting schedule you’re following. This can be difficult to stick to, especially if you get hungry.
Bone broth can help by providing a source of nutrition and keeping you feeling full. If you’re doing alternate day fasting, you can have it on your fasting days (when you’re allowed around 500 calories or 25% of your usual needs) to help you stay in a calorie deficit without starving and feeling deprived. If you’re doing time-restricted feeding, you can use it to gently break your fast.
Bone Broth Alongside Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet is another popular weight loss plan that focuses on eating whole, unprocessed foods (7). Bone broth is a great source of nutrients for people following this diet. You’ll have to make your own bone broth or purchase it from a Paleo-friendly source, as many store-bought brands contain additives that are not allowed on the diet.
Bone Broth Alongside Resistance Training
It also supports the growth of lean muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat tissue. Drinking bone broth alongside a resistance training program can help you build muscle and lose weight if that is your goal.
Bone Broth For Weight Loss Recipe
Making bone broth is a simple process that requires only a few ingredients.
- Bones from chicken, beef, fish, etc.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Vegetables (optional)
The type of bones you use will determine the flavor of your broth. Chicken bones will make a light broth, while beef bones will make a more robust broth. You can also add vegetables to your broth for extra flavor and nutrition.
To make bone broth:
- Place the bones in a pot or slow cooker.
- Cover with water and add the apple cider vinegar. The vinegar helps break down the bones and release their nutrients.
- Let the broth simmer for 24 to 48 hours.
- Once it’s finished cooking, strain the broth and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to a week.
Bone Broth Recipes
Here are some delicious bone broth recipes to help you lose weight:
1. Chicken Bone Broth (3)
- 2 ½ lbs of chicken bones (from 2 chickens)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 medium onion, peeled and halved
- 2 ribs/sticks of celery (cut into thirds, with leaves attached)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and halved
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- Filtered water (stockpot: 16 cups, 6 qt slow cooker: 12 cups, instant pot: 10 to 11 cups)
- If using a whole raw chicken, begin by roasting the bones. Place the bones on a roasting pan and roast in a 425-degree F oven for 30 minutes. Roasting enhances the flavor of the broth.
- After roasting, remove the chicken bones and place them in a stockpot or slow cooker. Add all of the other ingredients and cover with filtered water. If using a stockpot, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce it to simmer for 15 hours.
If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 15 hours. If using an instant pot, add all of the ingredients and set it to cook on high pressure for 2 hours. Allow the pressure to release naturally before opening the lid.
- Once the broth is finished cooking, strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl or pot. Let it cool slightly and then transfer to mason jars or another storage container. Broth can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or frozen for later use.
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2. Beef Bone Broth (6)
- 1.5 kg/3 to 4 lb of mixed beef bones (oxtail, knuckles, neck bones, and/or short ribs)
- 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
- 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- A few peppercorns
- A few cloves of garlic (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C.
- In a roasting pan, place bones in a single layer and drizzle with oil. Roast the bones for 30 minutes, until they are browned.
- Add roasted bones, vegetables, vinegar, and enough water to cover the bones in a large soup pot or slow cooker. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic, and any other desired herbs or spices.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 24 hours. The longer you simmer the broth, the more nutrient-dense it will become.
- When finished cooking, remove larger bones with a slotted spoon or tongs and strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.
What Happens If You Drink Bone Broth Every Day?
Simmering bones in water for an extended period breaks down the collagen in the bones, which releases amino acids and minerals that are nutritious and may be beneficial for health.
Here’s what might happen when you drink bone broth daily:
1. Prevents Inflammation And Heals The Gut
The essential amino acids in bone broth may help reduce inflammation in the gut and heal the gut lining. One study explored the effects of bone broth in mice with Ulcerative Colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers found that bone broth administration decreased markers of inflammation and reduced histological damage in the GI tracts of the mice with UC (1). Obviously, mice and humans are not the same, but these findings are promising and may justify doing further research.
2. Boosts Collagen In Your Body
The amino acids in bone broth provide the building blocks for collagen in your body.
Collagen is a component of connective tissue which is necessary for:
- Joint health: Cartilage in our joints wears down as we age, causing stiffness, pain, and inflammation. Collagen is a major component of cartilage, so consuming the building blocks of collagen might help rebuild and strengthen cartilage (2).
- Skin health: As we age, collagen production slows down, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. The collagen building blocks in bone broth may help improve skin elasticity and firmness (2).
3. Boosts Immune System
The minerals in bone broth, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sulfur, are important for immune system function. These minerals are involved in many different processes in the body, including cell signaling, enzyme function, and detoxification (5).
Bone broth also contains immunoglobulins, which are antibodies that help fight infection. One study found that chicken soup (which contains bone broth) can actually help improve the function of immune cells.
4. Detoxifies Body
Sulfur is a mineral that’s important for detoxification. It is a component of some of the amino acids needed for the liver to produce glutathione, the main antioxidant in our bodies (9). This means that drinking bone broth may help support liver function and detoxification.
5. Helps You Sleep Better
The amino acids in bone broth might help improve sleep quality. One study found that glycine, an amino acid found in bone broth, improves sleep quality in participants who took a glycine supplement before bed (8).
Glycine is also thought to reduce anxiety levels and improve cognitive function. This means that drinking bone broth might help you feel more relaxed and less anxious, which could lead to better sleep.
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6. Boost Energy Levels
Bone broth contains many important nutrients that are involved in energy production, including B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. These nutrients help the body produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the energy molecule that powers our cells.
7. Strengthen Bones
The calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals in bone broth are necessary for strong bones and getting enough of them may help prevent osteoporosis (5). Bone broth also contains the building blocks of collagen, which is necessary for the formation of bone and connective tissue.
The Bottom Line
Bone broth is a nutrient-rich food that might offer many health benefits. It’s easy to make at home, and you can even find it pre-made at some grocery stores. It may aid weight loss alongside calorie reduction and exercise. It is also said to help improve digestive health, joint health, sleep quality, and immunity.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Analysis of the Anti-Inflammatory Capacity of Bone Broth in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis (2021, nih.gov)
- Collagen (n.d., harvard.edu)
- Chicken Stock (Chicken Bone Broth) 3 Ways! (2018, natashaskitchen.com)
- Diet Review: Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss (n.d., harvard.edu)
- Essential and toxic metals in animal bone broths (2017, nih.gov)
- HOW TO MAKE NUTRITIOUS BEEF BONE BROTH (2016, irenamacri.com)
- Paleolithic Diet (2022, nih.gov)
- Two combined amino acids promote sleep activity in caffeine-induced sleepless model systems (2018, nih.gov)
- The Importance of Sulfur in Detoxification (2017, vitaliahealthcare.ca)
- The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance (2015, nih.gov)