Home » Diets » Cabbage Soup Diet

Cabbage Soup Diet

Cabbage Soup Diet for Weight Loss

The cabbage soup diet has been a dieting mainstay for decades and is still wildly popular. Many claim that the diet can easily result in 10-15 lbs. (4.5-6.8 kg) of weight loss in a single week. However, the effectiveness of the diet is far from agreed upon, and the cabbage soup diet is oftentimes marred in controversy.

What is The Cabbage Soup Diet?

The cabbage soup diet is a temporary diet, usually followed for 7 days. While following the diet, you strictly limit your intake to cabbage soup, calorie-free beverages, and certain other low calorie foods.

Advantages of The Cabbage Soup Diet

Rapid Weight Loss: If you’re looking to lose weight and lose it fast, the cabbage soup diet is for you. Individual results vary, but most people tend to lose about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) over the course of 1 week, which is about 3-5 times more weight than could be achieved from most other diets in the same period of time.

Simple: Because much of the diet is “ad-lib”, meaning you can eat as much as you want of certain foods, there’s no measuring, weighing, or reading food labels.

Temporary: Unlike most diets, which require a long-term commitment, the cabbage soup diet is only 7-days long. This allows you to go back to your lifestyle after the week is over.

Veggies: The high amounts of colorful vegetables like bell peppers and tomatoes provide your body with your body with plenty of healthy antioxidants and fiber during the diet.

Disadvantages of The Cabbage Soup Diet

Water Weight: When it comes to overall health, most scientists now feel that body composition, the ratio of fat to muscle, is more important than total weight. Doctors and nutritionists feel that much of the weight loss that occurs while following the cabbage soup diet is mostly made up of water and muscle, not body fat.

Weight Rebound: If you go right back to your old eating habits after the diet is over, the weight is sure to come back on eventually. In fact, many studies have found that when weight is lost quickly, it’s oftentimes put back on in the form of extra fat. 1

Boring: Many find that the monotony of eating cabbage soup everyday makes them enjoy their food less than they did before.

How Does It Work?

Believe it or not, but there’s nothing special about cabbage that helps people lose weight. Experts are still unsure why exactly the cabbage soup diet is effective, but here are some of the most agreed upon mechanisms:

  • Low-Calorie: As you can imagine, cabbage soup is very low in calories. Because cabbage soup will be the cornerstone of your diet, it’s likely that your caloric intake will range from 800-1,200 calories per day. This caloric deficit is so great that it accelerates weight loss, thus resulting in such a rapid drop in pounds.
  • Fiber and Fullness: Research shows that fiber helps curb appetite and keep people feeling more full and satisfied after meals. Cabbage soup is packed with high-fiber vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes, putting a stop to high calorie cravings.2
  • Cooking: A study out of Pennsylvania State University showed that dining out frequently was strongly correlated with weight gain. Because the meals in the cabbage soup diet plan can’t be found in restaurants, it forces you to cook at home, which is a good thing.3

Cabbage Soup Diet – Guidelines

Important Guidelines for Cabbage Soup Diet Success:

  • Be Prepared: Before the diet starts, make sure your kitchen is stocked with the ingredients you’ll need -not as you go. This will makes following the diet hassle-free.
  • 7-Day Limit: Because the diet is so extreme, it’s not recommended to follow the diet for more than 7-days at a time. Any longer than that and you could be setting yourself up for nutrient deficiencies.
  • Don’t Cheat: It’s important to strictly follow the diet for the full 7-day period. A single high-calorie meal can derail results.
  • Watch What You Drink: Although the focus of the diet is on food, what you drink will also make or break your efforts. Be sure to avoid all sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice and drink plenty of water, tea, and diet drinks.

Example 7-day Cabbage Soup Plan

Although the exact diet varies, here is a typical 7-day cabbage soup diet meal plan:

Day 1: Cabbage soup and any fruit (except for bananas). Consume plenty of calorie-free fluids like tea and coffee (unsweetened).

Day 2: Cabbage soup, and ad-libitum non-starchy vegetables. A baked potato is allowed at one meal.

Day 3: Cabbage soup, fruit, and non-starchy vegetables.

Day 4: Cabbage soup, 2 glasses of skim or soy milk, and fruit (including bananas).

Day 5: Cabbage soup, 15 ounces of lean meat like chicken, lean pork, or fish and any non-starchy vegetable.

Day 6: Same as day 5.

Day 7: Cabbage soup, up to 2 cups of rice, and unlimited fruits (except bananas) and vegetables.

Cabbage Soup Recipe

Here is a typical Cabbage Soup Recipe:

  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 1 container fresh mushrooms
  • 5 green onions
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cans of diced tomato tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 package soup mix
  • 1 or 2 cubes of vegetable bouillon

Seasonings: salt, garlic powder, curry, Mrs. Dash, pepper, basil, paprika

After the Cabbage Soup Diet

Believe it or not, but what you do after the diet is just as important as the diet itself.

  • Ease Back: After the diet is over, it’s not a good idea to visit the local buffet and gorge on everything in sight. Instead, ease back into your normal routine to prevent the weight from flying back on. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle to limit the amount of rebound weight gain.
  • Prepare for Rebound: A bit of weight regain after you return to your normal eating habits is expected. Knowing this will help you set realistic expectations for the period following the cabbage soup diet.
  • Cycle: It’s wise to give your body a “rest” for at least 2 months before going for another round on the cabbage soup diet.

 

References:

1. Brownell K.D., Greenwood M.R.C., Stellar E., Shrager E.E. The effects of repeated cycles of weight loss and regain in rats (1986) Physiology and Behavior, 38  (4),  pp. 459-464.

2. Howarth NC, Saltzman E, Roberts SB. Dietary fiber and weight regulation. Nutr Rev. 2001 May; 59(5):129-39.

3. McCrory, M. A., Fuss, P. J., Hays, N. P., Vinken, A. G., Greenberg, A. S., Roberts, SB. (1999) Overeating in America: association between restaurant food consumption and body fatness in healthy adult men and women ages 19-80. Obes Res. 7: 564-571