Cabbage Soup Diet Origin

How to Lose 15-20 Pounds by Eating Soup

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Cabbage Soup Diet Origin

The cabbage soup diet is a quick weight-loss program intended to be followed for seven days. The centerpiece of the diet is a recipe for cabbage soup, which the dieter may consume in unlimited quantities. In addition to the cabbage soup, there are certain other foods that the dieter must eat on specific days during the week. There are several versions of the diet, most of which promise a 10–17 lb. (4.5–7.7 kg) weight loss after one week.

The cabbage soup diet has a number of other names, including the TWA Stewardess Diet, Model's Diet, Dolly Parton Diet, Military Cabbage Soup Diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, Sacred Heart Hospital Diet, Miami Heart Institute Diet, Spokane Diet, Fat-Burning Diet, T. J.'s Miracle Soup Diet, and the Skinny.

The cabbage soup diet may be the oldest fad diet still in use; it seems to resurface with a new name every 10 to 15 years. It has been described by some historians of popular culture as a good example of an urban legend—a type of modern folklore passed from person to person via word of mouth, photocopies, or e-mail. Urban legends are often stories or anecdotes, but some can be called “widely accepted misinformation.”

No one seems to know when the cabbage soup diet was first formulated or the identity of its originator. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' (formerly the American Dietetic Association) timeline of fad diets, the cabbage soup diet originated around 1950. After the 1950s, the cabbage soup diet was revived in the early 1980s not only as the Dolly Parton Diet but also as the Trans World Airlines (TWA) Stewardess Diet and the Model's Diet. It acquired these names because of the belief that celebrities, models, and flight attendants had to meet rigorous periodic weight check-ins in order to keep their jobs. The cabbage soup diet was passed around from person to person in the form of photocopies during this period. It was claimed that the dieter would lose 10–17 lb. during the first week, either because cabbage supposedly has no calories at all or because it contains a “miracle fat-burning” compound.

The cabbage soup diet reappeared again in the mid-1990s, when fax machines and the Internet made it easy for people to transmit copies of the diet to friends and workplace colleagues. The diet was also published in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Gentlemen's Quarterly (now GQ) in 1995. The diet was attributed to health associations as well as the cardiology departments of several hospitals and medical centers in this period. These institutions supposedly gave the diet to overweight patients preparing for heart surgery to help them to lose weight quickly before their operations. Thus, the diet acquired such names as the Sacred Heart diet or the Spokane diet (from the names of hospitals in Brussels, Belgium; Montreal, Quebec; and Spokane, Washington), the American Heart Association Diet, the Mayo Clinic Diet, and the Miami Heart Institute Diet. However, these institutions have no official affiliation with the diet.


The cabbage soup diet features very specific menus for each day of the diet, plus an unlimited amount of cabbage soup. There is no restriction on the amount of cabbage soup that can be eaten to help prevent hunger. The diet is intended to be followed for seven days. At least four glasses of water should be consumed each day, in addition to the required foods. The cabbage soup meal plan is as follows:

  • Day one: Eat only the cabbage soup and unlimited fruit (except bananas). Cantaloupe and watermelon are recommended. Permissible drinks are water, black coffee, cranberry juice, or unsweetened tea.
  • Day two: No fruit. Raw or cooked vegetables can be eaten in unlimited quantity along with the soup, except for corn, peas, and beans. A baked potato with butter can be eaten at dinnertime.
  • Day three: Unlimited fruit or vegetables, but no baked potato.
  • Day four: Eat at least three and as many as eight bananas, and drink an unlimited amount of skim milk. Day Four is supposed to curb a desire for sweets.
  • Day five: Eat 10–20 oz. of beef and up to six fresh tomatoes (or one can of stewed tomatoes). Cabbage soup must be eaten for at least one meal. Drink 6–8 glasses of water to flush acids from the body. Baked or broiled chicken (without the skin) or fish may be substituted for beef at one meal.
  • Day six: Eat cabbage soup at least once during the day; otherwise, an unlimited amount of beef and vegetables can be consumed, but no baked potato.
  • Day seven: Eat an unlimited amount of brown rice and vegetables and drink an unlimited amount of unsweetened fruit juice. Cabbage soup must be eaten at least once during the day. No bread, alcohol, or carbonated beverages (including diet soda) are allowed.

Most versions of the cabbage soup diet begin with a recipe for the soup. One change that has evolved since the diet first appeared in the 1950s is the cooking instructions; the earliest versions of the diet recommended cooking the soup for an hour, which would destroy most of the nutrients in the cabbage and other ingredients. Recent soup recipes recommend letting the soup simmer no more than 10 to 15 minutes after being brought to a boil.

  • 6 large green onions
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 or 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 envelope of dry onion soup mix
  • 1 or 2 bouillon cubes (some versions specify low-sodium vegetable flavor) if desired
  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 8 oz. can of vegetable juice (optional)


  • 2 13-ounce cans of chicken broth
  • 1 large bunch of celery
  • 2 bunches of spring onions
  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 large can of whole tomatoes
  • 3 large bell peppers
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • One-half of a green cabbage, chopped
  • 3 large onions, diced
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 or 2 cups washed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 envelope of dry onion soup mix
  • 3 vegetable-flavored bouillon cubes
  • 8 to 12 cups of water
  • oregano, cilantro, garlic powder, basil, pepper, and/or parsley to taste

The cabbage soup diet is intended only for short-term weight loss. It is very restrictive and is not in line with federal dietary recommendations. Safe and healthy weight loss is considered to be 1–2 lb. (0.45–0.9) per week. Most of the weight lost on the cabbage soup diet is water weight and will likely return after dieters revert back to previous eating habits.

Due to the limited number of daily calories consumed on the cabbage soup diet, following it may result in weight loss. Some people like the fact that the diet offers a break from junk food or fast food and does not require any unusual or expensive ingredients, complex recipes, or appetite suppressants. However, it is not a realistic way of eating and is not intended for long-term maintenance. People interested in the cabbage soup diet should meet with a physician or registered dietitian to discuss healthier and more long-term weight-loss methods.


Though not nutritionally sound, the cabbage soup diet poses no serious danger to adults in good health who follow it for no more than seven days. However, this does not mean that it is a recommended or safe diet. The cabbage soup diet does not include an adequate balance of nutrients and is too low in calories for long-term use. Claims that the diet can be used indefinitely or repeated within three days of completing the first cycle should be ignored as they are not safe. Frequent use could lead to weight cycling, which has been shown to be detrimental to health.

The diet should not be used by anyone without first consulting a doctor or registered dietitian, and it should not be used by individuals with type 2 diabetes, eating disorders, or other disorders requiring special diets.

Side effects from the diet may include dizziness, light-headedness, and flatulence (intestinal gas). The latter may be a social risk due to embarrassment related to passing gas in public. Common versions of the soup recipe are high in salt. Dieters who must restrict their sodium intake should discuss variations with their physician.

Research and general acceptance

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the hospitals whose names have been associated with the cabbage soup diet have issued formal disclaimers warning the public that they do not endorse this diet. The Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal stated in a press release that the diet is contrary to healthy feeding patterns and even presents potential dangers to good health. The Sacred Heart Medical Center (SHMC) in Spokane requests that people do not affiliate the diet with their hospital as they do not consider it a safe or healthy method of weight loss. A SHMC disclaimer states, “This diet did not originate at SHMC and it is not endorsed by the dietitians or the staff of our cardiac rehabilitation program. One of our major concerns about this diet plan is it emphasizes the consumption of fruits and vegetables while excluding the consumption of meat or fish, cereal grains, and milk products on most days. Any diet that focuses on only certain food groups will be low or deficient in essential nutrients and, therefore, lead to poor nutritional status long-term. Our experience with any low-calorie diets, like this one, is that they do not lead to permanent weight loss. Once individuals start eating in a more normal pattern, the weight is regained. A very important factor in obtaining a healthy weight is to evaluate your physical activity and other lifestyle concerns. This is most appropriately done by consulting with a registered dietitian.”

Scientific evidence is not available to support claims that cabbage has unique detoxifying, fat-burning, immunoprotective, antidepressant, or anticancer properties. Claims regarding the possibility of losing 17 pounds by the end of one week on this diet are exaggerated. In addition, there is no indication that any government has ever sponsored clinical trials of cabbage soup, whether in pill form or fully constituted.

Danbrot, Margaret. The New Cabbage Soup Diet. Rev. ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004.

Scales, Mary Josephine. Diets in a Nutshell: A Definitive Guide on Diets from A to Z. Clifton, VA: Apex Publishers, 2005.

The Original Cabbage Soup Diet

Recipe by Spyder-man

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The Original Cabbage Soup Diet

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 6 onions, sliced or chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch shallots or 1 bunch green onion, sliced
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 (1 1/4 ounce) envelope onion soup
  • 1 ⁄2 cup balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 48 ounces V8 vegetable juice
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed


  1. Place all in large stock pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Refrigerate all leftovers.

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Nutrition Info

Serving Size: 1 (281 g)

Servings Per Recipe: 20

Amt. Per Serving % Daily Value Calories 67.5 Calories from Fat 4 6% Total Fat 0.5 g 0% Saturated Fat 0.1 g 0% Cholesterol 0.1 mg 0% Sodium 277.5 mg 11% Total Carbohydrate 15.2 g 5% Dietary Fiber 3.8 g 15% Sugars 8.1 g 32% Protein 2.7 g 5%

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Cabbage soup diet (lose up to 10 pounds in 1 week)

I have known the cabbage soup diet for a long time now and I usuallydo it once a year. I see it as a rehab for my body. I recommend to do it in the winter (it's more inspiring to eat soup!). Personally , I like to do it in March , just before spring.

Everything you need to know on the cabbage soup diet

Origin of the cabbage soup diet

The cabbage soup diet was established in the 1980s by an American clinic to rapidly get obese patients

The soup regime was established in the 1980s by an American clinic to rapidly get obese patients to lose weight before surgery.

How does work the cabbage soup diet?

Basically, the cabbage soup diet is to eat vegetables soup for a week! Traditionally, the diet only consists of soup, but it was adapted by adding certain foods to be less drastic and more healthy. Just follow the steps day by day.

The benefits of the cabbage soup diet

The cabbage soup diet causes rapid and substantial weight loss. It helps melt fat. We’re talking about a weight loss of up to 10 pounds in 1 week. The fact that you can eat specific foods as much as you want will make sure to have you feeling less deprive than other strict diets, and because the soup contains cabbage, it calms the appetite. Finally, as this diet is rich in water, fruits and vegetables, it has a diuretic effect and cleanses the body by draining waste out the body, which helps eliminate toxins. The rapid weight loss is motivating to resume a healthy lifestyle and system cleaning restores energy to the body.

Warning against the cabbage soup diet

You need to be very careful before undertaking this kind of diet that may be considered drastic. The lack of carbohydrates can cause a risk of hypoglycaemia which can lead to fatigue, dizziness and headaches. Listen to your body and do not push it too far. The lack of protein can melt muscles.Then it would be recommended to add protein shake and skimmed milk 1 to 2 times per day. The low caloric intake can also slow the metabolism, so it is important to pay close attention to the food you eat following the diet to avoid the yo-yo effect. This would result to make you gain more weight later. Finally, it is not a fad diet or a long-term solution.

Course of the cabbage soup diet

You can cook vegetable soup according to your taste. The important thing is that it contains cabbage. You can add carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and all the vegetables you want. Just add broth and spices. (See my 2 favorite recipes below)

As much soup as you want.

As much fruits as you want, except bananas.

As much soup as you want.

As much vegetables as you want (raw, cooked, canned…)

Green vegetables and salads are recommended but legumes, peas and corn should be avoided.

Have a big baked potato with butter for dinner .

As much soup as you want.

As much fruits and vegetables as you want.

As much soup as you want.

3 bananas and skim milk (or soy milk or almond milk without sugar). You can make a smoothie!

As much soup as you want.

Proteins (beef, chicken breast without skin or fish) and vegetables.

Up to 20 ounces of protein and tomatoes.

As much soup as you want.

Proteins (beef, chicken breast without skin or fish) and vegetables.

Up to 20 ounces of protein and green vegetables.

As much soup as you want.

Brown rice and vegetables for dinner.


Physical activity at low intensity (walking, yoga etc.)

To drink a lot of water

You can also drink herbal tea and unsweetened juice

1-2 protein supplement (low-carb) per day to prevent muscle loss

Intense physical activity

Bananas (except day 4), legumes, peas, corn, potatoes (except day 2)

Coffee and sugar

Cabbage soup recipes

Asian version of cabbage soup


– Third of a large cabbage

– 4 carrots cut into julienne

– 4 celery stalks

– 1 medium leek, sliced

– 200 ml tomato coulis

– 6 cups vegetable broth

– 2 small chopped peppers or 2 tsp of Siracha

– 2 garlic cloves

– 2 cm3 chopped fresh ginger

– 2 tbsp sesame oil

– 2 lemongrass stalks

– 1 tsp soy sauce

– Coriander and chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot, add sesame oil, onion, garlic and leeks. Cook 2 minutes on medium-high fire. Add the curry and cumin. Cook 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce. Stir well. Cook 2 minutes. Add all the vegetables. Cook 5 minutes. Add broth, 1 tsp chopped cilantro, hot pepper, the bay leaves, ginger, lemongrass. Cook 10 minutes, then lower the heat. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked enough . Add soy sauce and fresh herbs .

Mediterranean version of the cabbage soup


– Third of a large cabbage cut into small pieces

– 1 red pepper, diced

– 1 yellow pepper, diced

– 4 sliced carrots

– 4 celery stalks, cut into small pieces

– 250 g of snap beans (or green beans)

– 4 small tomatoes

– 1 large Spanish onion

– 2 garlic cloves

– 75 g pitted black olives

– 2 dry chillies or 2 tsp crushed chillies

– 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

– 4 tsp olive oil

– 1 liter of vegetable broth

– 2 sprigs of thyme

– 2 sprigs of basil

– 1 branch of sage

In a large pot, cook onion and garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil. Add carrots, celery, beans, cabbage and peppers and cook 1 minute each time. Add salt, peppers and broth and bring to boil. Add thyme, basil and sage to the mixture. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves . Add tomatoes . Simmer until the vegetables are cooked enough. Add finally balsamic vinegar and olives.

After the cabbage soup diet

The cabbage soup diet is not designed for long term weight loss. It is effective to initiate rapid weight loss, but it should be seen as a cure and not as a diet to maintain for more than a week. As for all low-calorie diets, this type of diet decreases metabolism in terms of energy expended by the body at rest. Therefore, we must re-integrate progressively foods to avoid a resumption of rapid weight. We advise many vegetables and fruits, protein and little carbohydrates during the following week.

7:11 pm Updated by

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