“HFCS in my what?” – Replacing Campbell’s Soup (low carb)

Can someone tell the sugar industry they’re being rude? I know they think they’re helping — they show such eager industriousness, finding the most unlikely places to insert a little sweet — but really, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in Campbell’s Tomato soup is unnecessary, egregious, and insulting. I mean, come on. There’s nothing about soup that needs sugar. Ever. Sugar should not be on the ingredient list unless you’re making chocolate cake soup, or crème brûlée soup, or raspberry doughnut soup. Which I sincerely hope you are not. At least not on purpose. (Okay, well, crème brûlée soup might be interesting.)

I grew up eating Campbell’s Soup…Chicken and Stars when I had the sniffles, Tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich when it was chilly out, Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken in everyone’s mom’s casseroles. Campbell’s Soup spoke of family and warmth and comfort. Soup time — especially Campbell’s Soup Time –meant love.

Or at least it used to. A few years back Campbell’s and the sugar industry got together, decided that tomatoes just aren’t sweet enough on their own, and plopped a big, gooey, sticky pile of corn syrup right in my soup. (Hey! I’m trying to eat!)  And as if that weren’t insulting enough, the label says “Classic.” Now just hang on. The word classic implies I’m eating the original recipe, which this version sure as heck ain’t. Seems like Mr. Campbell — or whoever is twiddling with the recipe — thought maybe we wouldn’t notice the changes.

Campbell's "Soup at Hand" Nutrition Info. Microwaveable Creamy Tomato has slightly more sugar. Classic Tomato in a can has half as much (12g sugar, 20 total carbs, 19 net carbs).

We noticed. There are 32 grams of carbohydrate in Campbell’s “Soup at Hand” Creamy Tomato, of which 24 are sugar (canned tomatoes have 8 grams of natural sugar for an equivalent amount). The other versions — regular ol’ classic Tomato in a can and Creamy Tomato in a microwaveable bowl — have 12 and 24.1 grams of sugar per serving (though with 2.5 servings in a can of classic Tomato soup –and most people scarf the whole can — you’d likely end up eating 30 grams of sugar). Do they think we’re sipping our creamy tomato soup and thinking, “Damn, if only this tasted more like a Pepsi”? Do we really need one more place that sugar shows up on the menu? Et tu, Campbell’s? 

I can hear you now, “But Campbell’s is processed food. What did you expect?” I expected more from them! They’re Campbell’s! American as apple pie! (Now with almost as much sugar!)

Well, fortunately we can sidestep Campbell’s. They can go to their room and think about what they did, and when they are genuinely sorry, we’ll talk. In the meantime, this recipe for cream of tomato soup is a super fast, super easy replacement that dodges the added sugar bullet.

Campbell’s, as wonderful as the last 40 years have been, it’s time we stopped seeing each other. I’m putting the love back in Soup Time.

Homemade Tomato Soup

An immersion blender will come in handy for speed (keeping it as easy and mess-free to prepare as possible), but it’s not necessary.


1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
1/2 cup heavy cream, half and half, milk, or other creamy liquid of your choice (almond milk, etc.)
1/2 cup water (if I have chicken broth on hand, I sometimes use that instead)
1/4 tsp salt
salt and pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes, cream, water, and 1/4 tsp salt in a soup pan over medium heat. Heat through. Using immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor, blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I usually sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top, or even better, swirl in some bits of cheddar or American cheese so they get all melty. Comfort Food City, here I come! Oh yum!

(Note: Campbell’s Tomato soup also has wheat flour, so it’s not a gluten-free food…but this version is gluten-free!)

4 servings (or 2 big servings, yum)

Nutrition Info (per serving, for recipe with heavy cream):
Calories: 127
Fat: 10g (fat and calories will be far less if using almond milk)
Protein: 2g
Carbs: 4.5g
Fiber: 1g
Net Carbs: 3.5g

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