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Consumer Reports: Drink it up: Stock, broth and bone

Posted at 8:39 AM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-18 11:39:42-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Carolyn Ramsey makes soup regularly for her family, using broth she makes herself.

"We do carrot soup, butternut squash soup, sometimes broccoli soup," says Ramsey. "So it's like a nice foundation for whatever we're in the mood to cook."

In addition to soups, stock and broth are used to add flavor to rice and vegetable dishes, while some people choose to sip it. If you're buying packaged from the store, should you use chicken broth or stock? What about bone broth? What's the difference and are any of them healthier? Both stock and broth are made with a combination of meat and bones. Chicken broth is made with a higher proportion of meat. Compared to stock, it has a lighter body and more meaty flavor. And chicken stock is generally made with a higher proportion of bones, and tends to have more body.

"Because stock is used as a base in recipes that call for extra seasoning, store-bought stock tends to have less sodium than broth," says Consumer Reports Nutritionist, Amy Keating.

Bone broth generally provides more protein than stock or broth.

"Many people believe that bone broth has special health benefits," says Keating. "But there's little research to back that up."

When you pick, it's most important to look for as little sodium as possible. 'Low sodium' means a product has 140 mg or less of sodium per serving. 'Reduced sodium' means it has at least 25% less sodium compared to the regular product.

Consumer Reports warns that sodium in canned broth can be sky high. They also found products with close 900 mg per cup. So keep an eye on those labels.