Boil meat bones for hours and you’ll get a delicious clear-brown liquid that you could use to make soup or, if you believe the hype, drink for its health benefits. But will it really make your hair shiny, fight inflammation, and infuse more collagen into your ailing body parts? Not really.
Advocates say bone broth helps your immune system in some vague way, grows your nails and erases cellulite, and literally cures every ailment. Paleo advocates have been simmering bone broth in their kitchens for years, and now at least one entrepreneur is selling trendy take-out cups of broth.
In an interview with Greatist, though, dieticians weren’t impressed:
For now, most nutritionists are cautious about making recommendations about bone broth. Justin Robinson, a dietician and strength and conditioning coach who has worked with the Los Angeles Dodgers, likens the popularity of bone broth to kale, where people began to eat kale by the pound and ignored other green leafy vegetables like chard and spinach. “Should we eat soups made with bone broth?” Robinson asks. “Absolutely! But we shouldn’t have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the expense of other foods.”
The broth does contain a few important nutrients, but you can get them in far greater quantities from other types of food (like, for example, the meat you ate off the bones before you started boiling them). The claims that the broth is “nourishing” or that it contains any meaningful amount of collagen protein are pretty much dead in the water—and we’ve known that since 1934.
People have been sipping broth for centuries, for a combination of reasons including taste, reusing bones that you would otherwise throw out (roasted and raw bones both make great broth), and because fluids and steamy air are great when you’re sick. So keep on boiling bones if you like, but don’t call the result a superfood or a medicine—it’s just soup.
Photo by Krista.