I Tried the Bone Broth Diet Fad and Here’s What I Learned

broth soup

What happened when I spent several days eating daily servings of bone broth? A few things. My itch for great soup was scratched, I lost about a pound, and I looked a bit younger. I think the latter point was because I shaved a graying six-day beard, though. And the pound might have been random (my weight has fluctuated within a three-pound window since 2009). As for curbing my craving for soup? That was all broth, baby.

Look, I’m a born skeptic. If someone tells me something can cure this, treat that, or boost something and said person is not a medical doctor (not including Dr. Oz), I tend to reject the claim out of hand. So when I started researching the many reported benefits of bone broth, I was far from convinced. Proponents of this popular super food claim it can do everything from healing damaged joints to ameliorating stomach and intestinal issues to reducing wrinkles to teaching you German. (I made up that last claim, but whatever). Regardless, I just wasn’t sold on the near-magical merits of what is really just broth, the same stuff people have been consuming for untold thousands of years.

But I also understand the value of trying something yourself before you come to hard and fast conclusions. So I recently acquired a freezer full of Osso Good bone broths and soups.

Osso Good is based out of Northern California and sources ingredients from Oregon and upstate California, because of course they do. The brand is committed to non-GMO, hormone-free, gluten-free, and “beyond” organic recipes. (I have no objection to certain GMO foods or to gluten, by the way, but you might, and that’s cool.)

Most of the benefits reportedly achieved through bone broth consumption come thanks to the high amount of collagen found in the stuff, but from what I (and a lot of medical researchers) can tell, despite the high collagen concentration, the volume is still too low for it to notably contribute to joint health or wrinkle reduction. As for helping with gut issues, there’s no hard data there either way.

However, one 8 ounce serving can deliver 2 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and an astonishing 12 grams of protein with just 60 net calories — that’s impressive. (Those are the stats for Osso Good’s Signature Bone Broth, for the record. Their Beef Bone Broth has the same amount of protein and just 45 calories. Which is still rather amazing.)

Each day during a work-week-long period, I sipped the broth, ate a ready-made Osso Good Soup’R Foods soup, or used the broth to make my own soup right after a run and workout. You need protein after exercise, I figured, so why not deliver a lot of it sans the high calories? I can’t say for sure that I felt better for having consumed bone broth after working out than I would had I eaten some turkey or beans or whey protein isolate, but I can say that the stuff is delicious and warming and comforting, and that it certainly tastes nourishing. All I added was a bit of salt when drinking the broth straight up; in my soups, I added some butter, white wine, vegetables, and meats.

osso good bone broth
Steven John/The Manual
Steven John/The Manual

Osso Good Soup’r Food soups are lower in protein than the broths, but they have a good balance of carbs and fiber and they manage to be decently filling while still low calorie. In the future, I’ll reserve those for actual meals and stick with the broth as a post-exercises elixir. Even if I doubt the veracity of many bone broth claims made by TV doctors, bloggers, and alternative medicine gurus, I know well that a body needs lots of protein, fiber, and carbs, and that balancing calories consumed with calories used is the way to maintain weight.

(One final note, for a bit of clarity: the very name bone broth is rather a misnomer, as the stuff marketed as such is primarily made from meats (and veggies) than actual bones. It’s actually a stock when it’s mostly bones and smaller bits of meat. Confusing, right? Right.)

You can order Osso Good bone broths to be shipped to your door on ice (dry ice, in fact!) from the company’s site, but be ready to spend a minimum of $50 per order. There are also some wild, tasty bone broth concoctions available from Epic, including Jalapeño Sea Salt and Bison Apple Cider. Kettle and Fire bone broths are available online and in stores at lower prices than most competitors.