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Will the Cabbage Soup Diet Help you Lose Weight? Here’s the Real Truth

The Cabbage Soup Diet has become a very popular topic to discuss. It is a fast weight loss diet, which requires eating large quantities of cabbage soup. By following this diet, you can lose up to 10 lbs (4.5 kg). However, many health experts say that this diet is unhealthy. This article will present you everything you need to know regarding this soup, including the positive and negative aspects of following it.

So, what exactly is the Cabbage Soup Diet?

For seven days, you mostly eat cabbage soup, and you are also allowed to have one or two other foods, such as skim milk, fruit or vegetables. Why cabbage? It a low-calorie food, and your body burns many calories while digesting it. Hence, the more soup you eat, the more calories you burn. This diet plan should not last more than a week at a time.

It is also known as the Sacred Heart Hospital Diet or the Mayo Clinic Diet, allegedly because it was developed in a hospital for quick weight loss, intended before surgery for patients diagnosed with heart disorder. But, these hospitals have refused the claims.

No one can be sure about the origin of this diet. It is supposed that it first became popular during the 1980s and 1990s.

The Cabbage Soup Recipe


  • 2 large onions
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 cans of tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 package of mushrooms
  • 1-2 bouillon cubes (this is optional)
  • 6-8 cups water or vegetable cocktail such as V8

Method of preparation:

Start by chopping all vegetables into cubes. Then, in a large stock pot, fry the onions in a small amount of oil. After that, add the rest of the vegetables. Cover with water or vegetable cocktail. Finish with adding bouillon cubes or other seasonings, if you like. Bring the mixture to a boiling point, then reduce the temperature to medium heat. Let simmer for about 30-40 minutes, until vegetables get tender.

You may enrich the taste of the soup with salt, pepper, hot sauce, herbs or spices. You can also add other non-starchy vegetables, like spinach or green beans. Eat the soup every day, as much as you want.

You can include other low-calorie foods in your diet, besides the cabbage soup. But, do not make any other substitutions and drink only water. You are allowed to drink other calories-free drinks, such as unsweetened tea.

Take enough amount of multivitamin, as the diet can limit nutrient intake.

Rules of the Cabbage Soup Diet

Day 1: You can eat cabbage soup and fruits as much as you want, but bananas are not allowed.

Day 2: Eat only the soup and vegetables. Raw or cooked leafy greens are recommended, but avoid peas, corn and beans. You can also consume one baked potato with butter or oil.

Day 3: You can eat many fruits and vegetables, and cabbage soup. Don’t consume baked potato on the third day and bananas are again not allowed.

Day 4: Today you can eat bananas, skim milk, and cabbage soup.

Day 5: You can eat 10-20 oz (280-567 grams) of beef. You can substitute it with chicken or fish. If desired, you can also take six fresh tomatoes and cabbage soup as much as you want. Make sure you drink 6-8 glasses of water.

Day 6: Cabbage soup, beef and vegetables. You may substitute the beef with broiled fish, if you didn’t eat the previous day. Eat leafy greens. Baked potato is not allowed today.

Day 7: Finish the last day with cabbage soup as well. You can consume vegetables, brown rice, unlimited fruit juice (sugar-free).

This diet should not last longer than seven days at a time. You can repeat this diet plan, but wait for at least two weeks before starting it for a second time. Also, make sure you prepare large batches of cabbage soup, so to have enough supply for a whole week.

Is it effective?

The Cabbage Soup Diet has never been examined before, so its effectiveness cannot be confirmed for sure. The logical conclusion is that it will probably cause you to lose weight, because this soup is low in calories. However, the choice of food is very limited, which may be difficult to maintain your body weight and stay fuller for longer. Moreover, the effect of this diet is usually temporary and the chances that the pounds will come back as soon as you stop the diet are very high.

On the other hand, the best thing about this diet is that it is not a starvation diet, it is cheap and consists of many fruits and vegetables.

Negative aspects of the Cabbage Soup Diet

It looks like that the negative this diet has many drawbacks. The first problem is that is only lasts for seven days, which is not long enough for achieving optimal results. Another problem with the Cabbage Soup Diet is that it lacks nutrients and proteins on most days. This means that it will be difficult to prevent muscle loss during the diet, which is crucial for proper functioning of your metabolism. Many people who have tried this diet, said that the cabbage soup is tasteless and by eating it every day, you may be forced to quit even from the very first day.

Side effects

1. It Is a Very Low-Calorie Diet

It is true that you can eat unlimited amounts of certain food, but they are very low in calories. You will not be able to reach 1, 000 calories per day, which is below the necessary intake of calories. The recommended dose for women is 1,200 calories per day, and men need the minimum of 1,500 calories per day.

2. It Doesn’t Offer Many Nutrients

On five days out of seven, there is no protein. Plus, it is very low in carbs and fat. Many people on the Cabbage Soup Diet complain that they are feeling dizzy, weak and light-headed during the diet.

3. Flatulence and Cramping

As this diet is very high in fiber, people often experience flatulence and cramping. They may even force you to stop the diet.

4. Gallbladder Issues

When you eat high-fat foods, the gallbladder releases digestive juices to break them down. Therefore, when you hardly consume any fat, the gallbladder may not empty for longer periods of time. This can lead to formation of gallstones inside of it.

5. Changes in Blood Sugar Levels

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, but you are interested in trying the Cabbage Soup Diet, be precautious. Since this diet is low in calories and carbs, may cause changes in your blood sugar levels. This diet rarely has side effects for healthy people, as long as they follow the instructions for one week only.

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