Is beef bone broth high in calories?

Quick Answer

Beef bone broth is generally low in calories compared to other soups and broths. A one cup serving of beef bone broth contains around 50 calories. However, the calorie content can vary based on factors like the specific cut of beef used and how long the broth is simmered. Overall, beef bone broth is a relatively low-calorie option that can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.

Examining the Calorie Content of Beef Bone Broth

Beef bone broth is made by simmering beef bones and connective tissue in water for an extended period of time. This long simmering time allows the bones and tissue to release gelatin, minerals, and other nutrients into the water, creating a nutrient-dense broth. But does this process also increase the calorie content?

Here is a look at the typical calorie count for beef bone broth:

Serving Size Calories
1 cup 50 calories
8 oz 40 calories

As you can see, a one cup serving of beef bone broth contains about 50 calories. By comparison, one cup of chicken broth typically contains around 45 calories, while vegetable broth has about 30 calories per cup.

So while beef bone broth is slightly higher in calories than some other broth options, it is still very low in calories overall. An 8 ounce serving, which is commonly used for soups and stews, has just 40 calories.

This calorie content makes beef bone broth a great low-calorie base for soups, stews, gravies, and more. You can consume a reasonable portion without consuming too many calories.

Factors That Influence Calorie Content

While most beef bone broth has a similar calorie content per serving, there are some factors that can cause the calories to vary slightly:

  • Type of bones used – Marrow bones and knuckle bones tend to be higher in fat and calories compared to other beef bones.
  • Meat left on bones – Leaving meaty remnants on the bones adds protein and fat.
  • Simmering time – Longer simmering extracts more gelatin and nutrients, which may slightly increase calories.
  • Added ingredients – Vegetables, herbs, and spices add minimal calories but can bump up the total.
  • Reducing/skimming fat – Skimming excess surface fat during simmering decreases overall calories.
  • Straining – Straining out solids removes small amounts of fat and protein.

That said, these factors tend to only cause minor variations in calorie content. The calorie count typically won’t go above 60-70 calories per cup even with fattier bones or extra simmering time.

Health Benefits of Beef Bone Broth

While beef bone broth is low in calories, it provides some impressive health benefits. Here is an overview of some of the key nutrients found in bone broth and their benefits:


Beef bones provide protein in the form of collagen, gelatin, and amino acids. This protein is extracted during the simmering process. Consuming protein helps support muscle growth and maintenance, satiety, metabolism, and overall health.

Essential Minerals

The process of making beef bone broth draws out minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and others from the bones. These essential minerals support bone health, blood circulation, muscle function, and energy levels.

Joint Support Compounds

Cartilage and connective tissues in beef bones contain compounds like glucosamine and chondroitin. Consuming these compounds may support joint health and reduce inflammation.

Gut-Friendly Gelatin

Simmering breaks down collagen in bones into gelatin, a digestive-friendly protein that may improve gut health and integrity. It acts as a prebiotic to feed beneficial gut bacteria.

Trace Amounts of Vitamins

Small amounts of B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin C can be extracted from bones and meat during simmering. These support immune function, energy, and more.


Like any broth, beef bone broth provides fluid hydration, which is especially helpful when sick or during hot weather. The electrolytes in the broth also help replenish what’s lost through sweat.

As you can see, beef bone broth offers a powerhouse of nutrition in each low-calorie serving!

Comparing Beef Bone Broth to Other Types of Broth

How does beef bone broth compare to other popular varieties in terms of calories and nutritional value? Here is an overview:

Beef Bone Broth vs. Chicken Bone Broth

Chicken and beef bone broth have similar calorie contents, typically around 45-60 calories per cup depending on the specific ingredients and cooking time. Both provide collagen, gelatin, minerals, and amino acids. Chicken bone broth has less protein but contains the antioxidant carnosine. Overall, they offer comparable nutritional profiles.

Beef Bone Broth vs. Vegetable Broth

Vegetable broth is significantly lower in calories, with only 30-40 calories per cup. It does not contain collagen or gelatin. However, it provides antioxidants and minerals from the vegetables used in making it. Vegetable broth works well for those looking to limit calories, but bone broth offers more protein, gelatin and joint-supporting nutrients.

Beef Bone Broth vs. Beef Consommé

Beef consommé is made by clarifying beef bone broth, which removes the fat and solids. This also removes some of the protein, collagen and nutrients. Consommé is lower in calories at around 30 per cup. Bone broth offers more overall nutrition, making it preferable for health, while consommé has a cleaner taste.

Beef Bone Broth vs. instant Broths

Instant broths and bouillon cubes are high in sodium and lack many of the nutrients found in homemade bone broths. They may be higher or lower in calories depending on added thickeners and fats. Overall, homemade bone broths are far more nutritious and health-promoting.

Tips for Adding Beef Bone Broth to Your Diet

Here are some simple ways to incorporate beef bone broth into your routine to take advantage of its impressive nutrition without excess calories:

– Use it as a base for soups, stews, sauces, or gravies.
– Sip on a mugful straight or flavored with spices.
– Add it to cooking grains like rice or quinoa.
– Use it to braise or simmer vegetables.
– Whisk in some to risottos or polenta.
– Pour it into a thermos and drink it warm through the day.
– Reduce it down to make a concentrated sauce.
– Freeze broth in ice cube trays for easy use.
– Mix with tomato juice and veggies for a twist on gazpacho.
– Soak beans and lentils in it before cooking.

Should You Be Concerned About Sodium in Bone Broth?

One potential downside of beef bone broth is its sodium content. The minerals extracted from the bones include sodium, so bone broths end up being moderately high in sodium.

Here are some tips for limiting sodium intake when consuming bone broth:

– Make your own bone broth using just bones and water without added salt.
– Choose lower-sodium commercial broths with 200mg sodium or less per cup.
– Limit portion sizes to just 1 cup per day if concerned about sodium.
– Balance high-sodium broth with low-sodium foods the rest of the day.
– Reduce the broth down by 25-50% to concentrate flavors using less broth.
– Add more fresh herbs and spices to boost flavor instead of salt.
– If making your own broth, don’t add extra salt during cooking.

As long as you keep portions balanced, bone broth can absolutely be part of an overall healthy diet. Those with specific sodium restrictions should consult their healthcare provider for personalized guidance.

Should You Drink Beef Bone Broth When Trying to Lose Weight?

Bone broth’s low calorie, high protein, and nutritious profile does make it a smart choice if you are trying to lose weight.

Here are some of the key benefits bone broth offers for weight loss:

  • Low in calories – You can consume reasonable portion sizes without overdoing calories.
  • High in protein – The protein is satiating and helps preserve muscle during weight loss.
  • Supports gut health – The gelatin may improve gut integrity and microbiome balance.
  • Provides hydration – The water content helps prevent mistaking thirst for hunger.
  • Offers nutrients – The minerals and amino acids support bodily functions.
  • Reduces inflammation – This allows for more effective fat metabolism.

Drinking bone broth, in combination with a healthy diet and exercise, can help boost weight loss results. Aim for 1-2 cups per day as part of balanced diet for the benefits without excess calories.

Tips for Drinking Bone Broth to Lose Weight

Here are some tips for incorporating bone broth into your routine to maximize the weight loss benefits:

– Have a cup as an anytime mini-meal to curb hunger.
– Use it as a pre-meal appetizer to fill you up before meals.
– Add spices like chili or ginger to give your metabolism a kick.
– Drink it warm before bed – the protein may improve overnight muscle recovery.
– Flavor it with lemon, herbs, hot sauce, etc. instead of heavy cream-based sauces.
– Freeze into popsicles for a nutritious snack to help fat loss.

Can You Gain Weight by Drinking Too Much Bone Broth?

It is possible to gain weight from bone broth if you drink very large amounts of it regularly.

Here’s why:

– It does contain calories that can accumulate. Though fairly low in calories per cup, drinking multiple cups or bowls per day adds up.
– The sodium may cause water retention or bloating, creating the appearance of weight gain.
– The histamines in bone broth may also cause puffiness or water retention.
– The minerals like phosphorus and potassium can disrupt hormonal balance when consumed in very high amounts.
– The glutamate content may possibly stimulate appetite when consumed excessively.

However, these effects require very high intakes, upwards of 4-6 cups per day in most cases.

Consuming normal amounts of 1-2 cups per day as part of a healthy diet is unlikely to cause weight gain. As always, it’s best to enjoy bone broth in moderation as part of an overall balanced approach to diet and lifestyle.


In conclusion, beef bone broth is relatively low in calories, providing around 50 calories in a one-cup serving. Factors like the specific bones used, reducing fat, and straining solids can slightly alter the calorie content. However, beef bone broth remains one of the most nutrient-dense low-calorie options among broths and soups.

Consuming beef bone broth can provide protein, collagen, gelatin, minerals, and more with minimal impact on your daily calorie intake. It offers anti-inflammatory, gut-healing, and joint-supporting benefits. When incorporated as part of a healthy diet, bone broth can absolutely help with reaching weight loss goals and supporting overall well-being. Just be mindful of sodium intake and moderate your portion sizes. Enjoy beef bone broth as a nutritious addition to your routine that enhances your health without packing on the calories!

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