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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Important Guidelines for Cabbage Soup Diet Success:
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.
Here is a typical Cabbage Soup Recipe:
Seasonings: salt, garlic powder, curry, Mrs. Dash, pepper, basil, paprika
Believe it or not, but what you do after the diet is just as important as the diet itself.
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.
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