It’s Flavorful and Delicious, But Is Pho Healthy for Weight Loss?

by Millie
pho soup

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If you’re like most people, you probably think of pho as a hearty, filling, and delicious Vietnamese soup. But is pho healthy for weight loss?

While it may not seem like the most obvious choice for a healthy diet, the soup actually contains a lot of nutrients that can help promote weight loss.

Pho is low in calories and packed with protein and fiber.  This means that it can help you feel fuller for longer, helping you to avoid snacking and overeating.

It’s also a great source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. So, if you’re looking for a hearty, yet healthy soup to eat that will not negatively affect your weight loss journey, pho is a great option.

What is Pho?

pho soup with condiments

Pho (pronounced fuh) is a Vietnamese soup that is becoming increasingly popular in the west. It is traditionally made with rice noodles, broth, meat, and a variety of herbs and spices. The original pho is made from a broth of beef bones that have simmered for days and thinly sliced beef.

Later bean sprouts and herbs and spices such as basil and cilantro were added to the broth. In most Vietnamese restaurants, in addition to beef pho, you can order chicken pho, vegetarian pho, tofu pho, and more.

Most pho restaurants offer fresh garnishes for your pho, including fresh basil, cilantro, chilies, and lime. You’ll also find several condiments on the table like hoisin sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste, and sriracha. 

Since there are many ways to customize pho, each bowl of pho can be very unique to each diner.

The Ingredients and Health Benefits of Pho

pho ingredients

One of the best things about pho is that it’s packed with ingredients that are good for you. From protein-rich beef to nutrient-rich vegetables, there’s something in pho that can benefit just about everyone. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common ingredients in pho and the health benefits they offer:


The meat in pho is usually beef, chicken, or shrimp. Meat provides the body with the protein it needs to build and repair muscle tissue and is a good source of iron. Protein helps you feel full and satisfied as well as avoid cravings. Most restaurants offer tofu as an alternative.


The type of noodle used in pho is made from rice and is a good source of carbohydrates. which are essential for energy. If you are worried about carbs, you should know that rice noodles have fewer carbs than egg noodles or flour noodles. Also, rice noodles are gluten-free.


The broth in pho is typically made with beef or chicken stock, which is high in protein and low in calories. It’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.


The vegetables in pho are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re also high in fiber, which can help to promote a healthy digestive system. Like protein, fiber makes you feel full and curbs your appetite.


The herbs used in pho, such as cilantro and basil, are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They also have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. which can help to protect the body against damage from free radicals. 


pho spices

The last ingredient in pho is spices. These spices include ginger, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom. They not only add flavor to the soup, but they also have some health benefits.

Ginger is a good spice for the digestive system. It can help to reduce nausea and vomiting. Additionally, ginger can also help to relieve pain and improve metabolism.

Cloves are another spice that is good for the digestive system. They can help to reduce gas and bloating. Additionally, cloves can also help to kill bacteria.

Cinnamon is good for the circulatory system. It can help to improve blood circulation. Additionally, cinnamon can also help to lower cholesterol levels and boost metabolism.

Star anise is a spice that is good for the respiratory system. It can help to clear congestion and mucus. Additionally, star anise can also help to kill bacteria.

Cardamom is good for the nervous system and can help to calm the nerves. Additionally, cardamom can also help to improve circulation and boost your metabolism.

These are just a few of the many health benefits that the ingredients in pho offer. So, if you are looking for a delicious and healthy soup, then you should definitely try pho.

Pho Nutrition Facts

bowl of pho

The nutritional information of a serving of pho depends on the type of pho you have, the size, and the toppings. But a typical medium bowl (3 cups) of chicken pho (pho ga) has 404 calories, 9.6 grams of fat, 1.6 grams of saturated fat, 2773 mg of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 4.3 grams of dietary fiber, 8.9 grams of sugar, and 30 grams of protein.

The same size of beef pho (pho nam) has 629 calories, 16 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 3228 mg of sodium, 76 grams of carbohydrates, 5.5 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 42 grams of protein. 

One of the best options to order is a medium bowl of tofu pho. It has 350 calories, 9.3 grams of fat, 1.3 grams of saturated fat, 2420 mg of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 5.3 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

Pho is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, and folate. All of which are important for a strong immune system and for fighting disease.

The Weight Loss Benefits of Pho

woman showing the weight loss benefits of pho

One weight loss method that is often overlooked is simply changing the types of foods that you eat. Ditching higher-calorie foods for ones with fewer calories can be very effective for weight loss or weight management.

One type of food that can be very helpful for weight loss is pho. Pho is a delicious and filling meal that can be part of a healthy weight-loss diet. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Pho is a hearty soup that is usually full of noodles, meat, and vegetables. How could something like that be good for weight loss?

Well, let me explain. Here’s how pho can help you lose weight:

1. It’s Low in Calories

A typical serving of chicken pho contains only about 400 calories. That’s not a lot, especially when you compare it to other foods like burgers or pizza which can easily exceed 1000 calories. The good news is that you can enjoy a hearty bowl of pho without having to worry about consuming too many calories.

2. It’s High in Protein 

Pho is an excellent source of protein, which is essential for weight loss because it helps to keep you full and satisfied and helps to reduce cravings. A bowl of chicken pho has about 30 grams of protein, which is a great way to get your daily dose.

3. Good Source of Fiber

Pho is also a good source of fiber. Fiber is important for weight loss because it helps to promote a healthy digestive system and can also help to regulate blood sugar levels. A bowl of pho has about 4 grams of fiber, which is a great way to keep your digestive system running smoothly and fill you up.

4. It’s Filling

Pho is a very filling meal, thanks to the rice noodles, protein and fiber. This means that you’ll be less likely to snack on unhealthy food between meals.  

5. It’s Good for your Gut 

The probiotics in pho can help improve gut health, which is important for weight loss. A healthy gut can help you absorb more nutrients from your food and reduce inflammation.

6. Pho is Packed with Nutrients

In addition to being low in calories and rich in protein, pho is also packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients are important for overall health and can help to boost your metabolism and weight loss. It’s also low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

7. It’s Healthy

 Pho is made with healthy ingredients like lean protein, fresh vegetables, and healthy spices. This makes it a much healthier option than most fast food meals. 

8. Pho is Versatile 

Pho can be made with different types of meat or tofu, vegetables, and spices so you can easily customize it to your liking. This means you can easily find a version of pho that fits into your weight loss diet., And, it can be enjoyed as a light meal or a hearty soup, making it perfect for any time of day.

9. It has a High Water Content

Soup can be a great way to get in your daily recommended intake of water. Water is essential for weight loss, as it helps to flush out toxins and keep your body hydrated. Plus, the broth fills you up. 

10. It’s Easy to Make

Pho is a very simple soup to make. all you need is a pot, some water, and the ingredients. You can even make it in a crockpot. Furthermore, home cooking is easier for your waist than eating out.

If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy meal to add to your weight loss diet, pho may be the perfect option for you. Give it a try and see for yourself how awesome pho can be!

The Downsides of Pho

noodles in a bowl of pho

There are a few drawbacks to pho noodle soup that you should be aware of before you start eating it on a regular basis. 

First, pho often has high levels of salt, which can cause you to retain water and negatively affects the scale. Second, the beef in pho is often fatty, which can lead to weight gain. Finally, pho is often served with a lot of noodles, which can also contribute to weight gain.

How to Make Your Pho Healthier for Weight Loss

bowls of pho and spices

Here’s how to make pho healthier without sacrificing flavor:

1. Small Portion

The first tip to make your bowl of pho healthier is to order the smallest portion size, nho bowl. This serving should be enough to still be satisfying. 

2. Change the Broth

Pho is traditionally made with chicken or beef bone broth. But most restaurants use only one, so pick a pho restaurant that serves chicken broth to reduce the calorie count. So do your research before you go. Also, you may be able to get a vegetable-based broth to further reduce the fat and calories. 

3. Limit Noodles

Instead of using white rice noodles, switch to brown rice noodles or even zucchini noodles. These noodles are lower in calories and carbs and will still help you stay fuller longer. Or better yet, skip the noodles or eat less of them.

4. Load up on the Vegetables

The best choice is to add plenty of fresh veggies to your pho soup. Try bok choy, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and greens. Not only will these add nutrients, but they’ll also bulk up the soup so you’ll feel satisfied with a smaller portion.

5. Choose Lean Protein

The best to make pho healthier is to have leaner cuts of meat, such as chicken breast or seafood. Choose lean meat like round-cut steak or beef tripe if you want red meat. Stay away from the brisket, meatballs, and flank steak.

6. Enjoy the Toppings

To make your pho even healthier, top it with fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, and Thai basil. These herbs are not only tasty, but they also have health benefits. If you are watching your sugar and sodium intake, avoid the fish sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili sauce as they are loaded with sugar and sodium. If you want extra flavor or spice, try the fresh chilies.

So there you have it, a few simple tips to make your pho healthier. Now enjoy your delicious pho without guilt!

So, Is Pho Healthy for Weight Loss?

woman wondering is pho healthy for weight loss

Is pho good for weight loss? Yes! Pho is a great choice for those looking to lose weight! A medium bowl of pho is a great source of protein and is low in calories. It is also a good source of fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied. It is a healthy food, packed with nutrients that can help you lose weight in a healthy way. 

Plus, pho can be tailored to your specific dietary needs. You can make your bowl of pho healthier by eliminating the noodles, adding more vegetables, and opting for leaner cuts of meat. Chicken or vegetables make a healthier pho broth. However, pho is high in sodium so watch your portion size.

Pho is probably the most popular Vietnamese street food, but in the west, there are plenty of excellent pho restaurants for you to enjoy a bowl of delicious healthy pho! You can even make pho at home! So if you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious meal to add to your healthy diet, pho is a great choice.

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