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The Cabbage Soup Diet Reviewed E-mail
Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA   

The cabbage soup diet is a 7 day meal plan, aimed at achieving fast weight loss. The cabbage soup diet has been reported to have originated Sacred Hearts Hospital to stimulate weight loss for surgery patients.

How the Cabbage Soup Diet Works 

The cabbage soup diet is based on a fat-burning soup that contains negligible calories. The more soup you eat the more weight you should lose. The cabbage soup diet is a radical weight loss diet designed around heavy consumption of a low-calorie cabbage soup over the time of seven days. It is generally considered a fad diet, in that it is designed for short-term weight loss.

The typical claimed intent of the diet is to lose 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of weight in a week, though nutritional experts point out that it is impossible to lose that much fat within a week.

Cabbage Soup Diet Plan

  • Day 1 - Cabbage soup plus as much fruit as you like, excluding bananas.
  • Day 2 - Cabbage soup plus vegetables including 1 jacket potato with a little butter.
  • Day 3 - Cabbage soup plus fruit and vegetables excluding potatoes and bananas.
  • Day 4 - Cabbage soup plus up to eight bananas and as much skimmed milk as you like.
  • Day 5 - Cabbage soup plus up to 20 ounces of beef and up to six tomatoes.
  • Day 6 - Cabbage soup plus as much beef and vegetables (excluding potatoes) as you like.
  • Day 7 - Cabbage soup plus brown rice, vegetables (excluding potatoes) and unsweetened fruit juice.

What Food is Allowed on the Cabbage Soup Diet

Dieters are allowed only water and cabbage soup they want, plus a very restricted set of other foods. The 7-day cabbage soup diet plan insists on sticking to the small list of allowed foods on alternate days, along with two daily bowls of fat-free cabbage soup. Other specific foods that can be eaten including fruit, vegetables, skim milk, and meat. Dieters are also advised to drink plenty of water.

What Food is Not Allowed on the Cabbage Soup Diet

You are allowed to eat all you want of brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices, and vegetables as specified in the diet. Be sure to eat your soup at least once everyday. No bread, alcohol, or carbonated beverages, not even diet soda. Beverages are limited to water, and unsweetened fruit juice on days when fruit is allowed.


Effectiveness  of the Cabbage Soup Diet

Weight loss will probably occur due to the low calorie intake. It allows people to eat as much cabbage soup as they want each day, which should sound appealing to dieters.  After all, dieters love to hear that they can eat unlimited amounts of food and still lose weight fast. It is not a long-term weight loss solution, but is known to be effective over the short term.

Known Benefits of the Cabbage Soup Diet

On some original documents mentioning the diet, it was claimed the diet is designed for obese heart-surgery patients, so they could lose weight quickly and therefore be at lower risk of complications during surgery. However, these claims remain unverified. Because no one has ever officially claimed to be the creator of the diet, there really isn’t any reputable organization that represents it.

  Additional Suggested Health Benefits of the Cabbage Soup Diet

  • Fast weight loss.
  • The change from some of our normally junky eating habits can be beneficial.
  • Vegetables from the Brassica family (such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) have been found to aid in preventing cancer.

Potential Risks of the Cabbage Soup Diet 

  • This diet plan is not recommended for children and adolescents.
  • Since the cabbage soup diet only last for seven days, this diet plan shouldn't cause people in good health any long-term problems, but people who have special dietary needs, including diabetics, should definitely consult a doctor before starting the cabbage soup diet.
  • After one week, dieters must stop for at least two weeks before attempting the diet once more.
  • Do not do this diet more than four times a year or more than once every three months. It is not a long-term solution to weight loss.
  • Due to the lack of energy that the cabbage soup diet will give you, your energy stores in both your muscles and liver will be greatly reduced, resulting in a lower body fluid content, which results in you headache and feeling tired throughout the day.
  • You may get too much sodium from the combination of soup mix, bouillon and juice.
  • It has also been noted that flatulence (the presence of a mixture of gases in the digestive system) is a common side effect of the diet.
  • Dieters often report feeling nauseous whenever they smell the soup toward the end of the 7-day diet plan.

What the Experts Say About the Cabbage Soup Diet 

Many individuals and medical professionals are critical of the diet. It is claimed that most of the weight lost is water and not fat, and therefore not permanent. In addition, the recipe for the soup as often given has an extremely high sodium content, usually to make it palatable, and the diet provides practically zero protein for several days at a time. Many people report feeling weak and light-headed during the course of the diet.

The blandness of the soup means that few manage the entire seven days, and often report feeling nauseous whenever they smell the soup toward the end of the week-long diet. However some diets such as the negative calorie diet basically look at the nutritional properties of the cabbage soup diet, and make it more interesting by combining other foods that have the same effect.

Bottom Line

Weight loss will always occur due to the low calorie intake, whether it is from a cabbage soup diet, or even a cookie diet. Neither is a healthy approach to weight loss.

Consensus is  this is not a very nutritionally sound plan and certainly not one to live on.

Extensive use can damage your health and this diet is one that should not ne used as a primary long term method for weight loss.


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