Nutrition Of Cabbage Soup Diet

How to Lose 15-20 Pounds by Eating Soup

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The Cabbage Soup Diet

The Promise

Fans claim you can drop 10 pounds or more in a week. Some people use it to kick-start their weight loss plan, or to trim a few pounds for a special event.

But before you stock up on cabbage, know that this crash diet won't help you in the long run, and it doesn't give your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

What You Can Eat

Just like the name says, the bulk of this diet is fat-free cabbage soup, eaten two to three times a day with other allowed foods assigned each day. Here's what you can add:

  • Day 1: Fruit, except bananas
  • Day 2: Vegetables like leafy greens (not starchy), but no fruit
  • Day 3: Fruits and vegetables
  • Day 4: Bananas and skim milk
  • Day 5: Beef (or baked chicken without the skin) and tomatoes
  • Day 6: Beef and vegetables
  • Day 7: Brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices, and vegetables

There are different recipes for the soup, which is recommended every day of the diet. They all have similar ingredients, such as tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and bouillon.

Level of Effort: Medium

Limitations: Your menu options are severely limited on this diet. It gets very boring, very quickly. If you want to try it again, it's recommended that you wait 2 weeks first.

Cooking and shopping: Get out your soup pot. You will need to make the cabbage soup and cook some of the vegetables recommended in the plan. Your shopping list will be very short for the week.

Packaged foods or meals? No.

In-person meetings? No.

Exercise: The cabbage soup diet doesn't include exercise, and working out at high levels isn't a great idea on such a low-calorie diet. Your body just won't have enough gas in the tank for exercise.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

There's not a lot of room to tweak the diet, since it's so rigid.

It is low in fat, because you eat mostly vegetables. But it's not vegetarian or vegan, since some meat is allowed.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: The only cost is for the ingredients, which you buy yourself. Some websites promoting the diet say you should take a supplement to make up for the nutrients you'll be missing from food.

Support: None. You do this diet on your own.

What Dr. Melinda Ratini Says:

You'll lose weight, but only in the short run. This is strictly a lose-weight quick scheme.

You'll likely get less than 1,000 calories a day on the limited menu. That's far fewer than the 2,000 daily calories recommended for most adults.

Since you're getting so few calories, the pounds come off quickly, but mostly you'll lose water weight. And chances are, you'll gain it all back as soon as you start eating a normal diet again.

Health experts don't recommend following very low-calorie diets unless you're under a doctor's care. A better bet is to aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds each week on a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

Because it includes so few carbs, this diet could wreak havoc with any diabetes treatment plan.

Salt is not addressed on the plan, so if you've been told to cut back on the sodium, you'll have to hold back on using the salt shaker and bouillon when making the soup or cooking your food.

Since you'll likely regain any weight that you lose, the diet won't have a lasting positive impact on heart disease, cholesterol, or high blood pressure.

Though this diet is fast, cheap, and simple, it's not easy to stick with. It will likely leave you feeling hungry, weak, and bored. You might even feel sick. And if you follow the Cabbage Soup Diet for more than a week, you could run short on key nutrients.

Nor does the diet encourage the necessary lifestyle changes you need to make in order to be healthier and have lasting weight loss.

The drastic weight loss you might experience with The Cabbage Soup Diet can cause health problems and can be dangerous even when it’s done under a doctor’s supervision.

Never start this diet without talking to your doctor first. If she thinks you need a very low-calorie diet, she'll likely show you a much healthier way to go about it.

News release, University of Florida.

Cabbage Soup Diet: "7 Day Plan."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI): "Aim for a Healthy Weight."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK): "Very Low-calorie Diets."

Columbia University: "Reduced fat and calorie diets: How low is too low?"

A Detailed Guide to the Cabbage Soup Diet: Can the Plan Help You Lose 10 Pounds in 7 Days?

Before you try this fad diet, learn what it involves — plus, what experts have to say about whether the approach is safe and effective for fast weight loss.

By Kristeen Cherney

Medically Reviewed by Lynn Grieger, RDN

The cabbage soup diet is an eating plan that is designed to help with quick weight loss. The promise? Eat lots of cabbage soup for seven days and drop 10 pounds.

While touted as a way to lose extra pounds in a short amount of time, the Mayo Clinic considers the cabbage soup diet as a type of fad diet that simply doesn’t work as well as other proven long-term weight loss methods. Not to mention, the numerous restrictions set forth by the diet could make you lose out on vital nutrients and disrupt your metabolism.

Still, the prospect of eating a lot of cabbage soup for a short period of time still appeals to people who want a quick fix. “This diet ‘works’ merely because it's super restrictive in calories,” says Julie Rothenberg, RD, LDN, owner of JuliENERGYnutrition in Miami. “It markets itself to people who want to lose weight for a special occasion or event coming up.”

While some people do successfully meet such short-term goals, the weight often comes back once you stop doing the diet — much to the same effect as other types of popular diets.

Aside from more weight gain, this fad diet can also cause other uncomfortable side effects that may interfere with your daily activities.

What Is the Cabbage Soup Diet Exactly, and How Does the Plan Work?

“The cabbage soup diet is a seven-day diet [that] is low in fat and high in fiber,” says Rothenberg, explaining that the approach calls for followers to eat cabbage soup several times per day for one week.

According to the Mayo Clinic, fad diets like the cabbage soup diet don’t include exercise as part of their plans. Regular physical activity is essential to help you maintain a low weight. Plus, exercise is good for your heart and brain, decreasing your risk for chronic illnesses.

The purpose of the cabbage soup diet is to restrict calories by restricting your food intake severely. “The low-calorie diet combined with the high fiber content of the filling vegetables, fruit, and cabbage help a person to go to the bathroom more than usual,” Rothenberg says. “At the end of the week, there is weight loss from water weight primarily, and largely due to calorie restriction.”

According to a review published in September 2017 in the journal Functional Foods in Health and Disease, you only eat 1,000 calories or less during the first few days of the cabbage soup diet. Throughout the rest of the week, you gradually increase your calorie intake to about 1,200 calories per day. Given the limited calories you’re consuming during the plan, you could technically lose 4 pounds (lbs) or more on the diet. But this is far more than the recommended 1- or 2-lb loss per week when on a safer, more gradual weight-loss plan.

Proponents of the cabbage soup diet claim it’s designed for short-term use only and may help you transition into a longer-term diet.

Who Should and Shouldn’t Try the Cabbage Soup Diet for Weight Loss?

The cabbage soup diet is intended for people looking for a short-term solution to excess weight — in this case, the diet lasts for only one week. It’s not intended for use any longer than that.

But you can still incorporate some of the recipes you like as part of a moderate, balanced diet after the week is up. The diet is also relatively inexpensive because it incorporates everyday food items — particularly lots of cabbage.

This diet also seems to work best for people who like foods that are on the restricted list of items you can eat. In fact, one of the reasons why people quit this diet is they can’t stand the taste of the soup. You may not like the diet if you need someone to help you stay accountable.

Also, this plan doesn’t seem to work well for people who need to lose significant amounts of weight. This type of diet also isn’t intended for people with chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, who have particular dietary needs that may be harmed with the restricted caloric intake and food limitations.

Cabbage Soup Diet Plan: What You Can and Cannot Eat

The items you can eat on the cabbage soup diet include:

  • Cabbage (and lots of it!)
  • Other vegetables
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Brown rice
  • Beef
  • Sugar-free juice
  • Skim milk (on day 4 only)

Still, you can only eat the above items on certain days (see the sample meal plan below). Restricted items include:

  • Bananas (except on day 4)
  • Potatoes
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Whole- or reduced-fat dairy products

Anything not listed in the diet plan is off limits in the cabbage soup diet.

Potential Risks and Benefits of Following the Cabbage Soup Diet

Like all fad diets, the cabbage soup diet poses a range of risks and few long-term benefits. Short-term risks include:

  • Hunger
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Flatulence
  • Irritability
  • Loss of concentration
  • Too much sodium from the soup
  • Muscle loss

An important consideration is the lack of healthy fats in this diet. While you may be looking to get rid of body fat, dietary forms of fat are important in satiety. Healthy fats, such as those found in fish, nuts, and low-fat dairy products, also contain important nutrients. “Essentially there is very little fat included in this diet because the only fat source comes from the beef, or milk if choosing whole milk,” says Rothenberg.

Perhaps one of the most concerning risks associated with fad diets like the cabbage soup diet is the havoc they can wreak on your metabolism, making you gain more weight after you’ve quit the diet. “I have had a client come to me and say they did the cabbage soup diet prior and it did ‘work’ in the short term, but she ended up gaining the weight back with an additional 5 lbs the following week,” Rothenberg recalls.

Although there is no scientific evidence that suggests the cabbage soup diet is safe and effective for weight loss, eating cabbage soup alone as part of a balanced diet may be beneficial.

For example, a preliminary study on the effects of red cabbage consumption in obese mice found decreased cholesterol over the course of eight weeks. The study was published in December 2016 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, though it’s unclear whether the same results would be found in humans and in a randomized controlled clinical trial — the gold standard for medical research.

Aside from fiber, cabbage furthermore has other nutrients that may play a crucial role in weight loss and weight management efforts. According to the September 2017 review in Functional Foods in Health and Disease, certain ingredients in cabbage are anti-inflammatory, and may help regulate your metabolism and blood sugar levels.

This review suggests the potential beneficial anti-inflammatory components in cabbage include:

  • Apigenin
  • Lutein
  • Kaempferol
  • Quercetin
  • Vitamin C
  • Zeaxanthin

A ½ cup serving of cooked cabbage also contains 1 gram (g) of protein and 1.4 g of fiber, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When consumed with other plant-based foods and lean proteins, cabbage soup can complement your diet. But eating cabbage soup as part of a restrictive diet may cause more problems for your weight than good.

Another study published in April 2014 in the British Journal of Nutrition found that adults who ate soup regularly for five years had healthier weights and overall nutritionally balanced diets. Still, it’s important to note here that the study looked at soups overall, and not just cabbage soup. Study subjects also didn’t face any dietary restrictions as are seen in the cabbage soup diet. It’s also important to note that eating too much soup may negatively affect your blood sugar due to its typical high sodium content.

A Sample Cabbage Soup Diet Meal Plan to Follow

The meal plan for the cabbage soup diet is followed for seven days in this order:

  • Day 1: “Day 1 is just the soup and fruit only,” says Rothenberg. Bananas aren’t allowed on the first day.
  • Day 2: Cabbage soup and other vegetables (cooked or raw, except for potatoes)
  • Day 3: Cabbage soup plus fruits and vegetables (except for bananas and potatoes)
  • Day 4: Along with the cabbage soup, you can also have bananas and skim milk on this day only.
  • Day 5: Eat beef and tomatoes along with your cabbage soup. “You can eat 2 to 20 ounces (oz) of beef,” says Rothenberg. “Twenty oz of beef [contains] 160 g protein, which is roughly 100g more protein than most people need!”
  • Day 6: Unlimited beef and vegetables along with the cabbage soup
  • Day 7: In addition to the cabbage soup, you can have brown rice and unsweetened fruit juice.

Extra Precautions to Take if You Try Following the Cabbage Soup Diet

If you’re already at a healthy weight, do not have underlying health conditions that would make the plan unsafe, and want to lose a few extra pounds, talk to your doctor or nutritionist about whether the cabbage soup diet is right for you. Chances are they’ll recommend a longer term, safer eating plan that can help you lose a pound per week instead. Know that losing smaller amounts of weight at a time is better for you in the long run, as it’s more likely to stay off and not pose nutritional deficiencies during the plan period.

As Rothenberg points out, the effect of this diet won’t last, and in the end, the approach may do more harm than good for your waistline. “This doesn't ‘reset’ your metabolism — it messes with it,” she explains, noting that yo-yo dieting tends to lead to more abdominal fat that ends up being increasingly difficult to trim.

While the cabbage soup diet is, in theory, easy to follow, the problem is the diet isn’t sustainable. Healthy, gradual weight loss is much more beneficial, safer, and easier to follow in the long haul.

The Ultimate Cabbage Soup Diet

In the world of popular diets, Cabbage Soup is one of the most puzzling. It's unclear where the plan originated, but surprisingly, that hasn't stopped people from writing about it. The latest tome, The Ultimate Cabbage Soup Diet (John Blake, 2003), with its 12 green cabbages floating on a deep-blue background, details the regimen in intricate detail. There's the original soup recipe, plus a couple of ethnic variations. As an added bonus, the author offers 100 recipes for the fruits, vegetables, chicken, and fish allowed on "free days." Once dieters take a look at the book, they'll see that the diet is simple and straightforward. It's basically a seven-day menu plan built around a pot of homemade cabbage soup.

On a cold winter's day, a warm pot of soup makes a satisfying meal. But soup at every meal, day in and day out, for seven days straight is downright bizarre. There's nothing magical about cabbage—or a fat-free cabbage soup—that melts away fat. Zeroing in on one food to the exclusion of others is probably what makes you lose weight. But you'll undoubtedly become sick of the soup and eat less and less of it. Less food equals fewer calories, and fewer calories means weight loss.

Basic principles:

Dieters are encouraged to check with a physician before starting the plan. They then follow a precise seven-day regimen with specific foods on alternating days and two servings a day of a special homemade cabbage soup. The premise: Eat as much as you want, but from a small assortment of foods.

How the diet works:

The recipe makes 24 cups of soup; each cup carries a mere 66 calories. So a person who has 2 cups of soup per meal, a few cups of coffee, the allotted glass of milk, the fat-free salad dressing, and 6 pieces of fruit (2 apples, 2 oranges, 2 peaches) on day one will net 860 calories. On day five, the addition of a hefty 6-ounce portion of fish and 6 ounces of chicken could raise the calorie total as high as 1,030 for the day. But as dieters tire of the cabbage soup and free foods, calories could drop even lower than 800 per day. In short, this an extremely low-calorie diet.

What you can eat:

The list is short. Cabbage Soup. Cabbage Soup Italiano. Szechuan Cabbage Soup. Tex-Mex Cabbage Soup. You're also allowed unlimited coffee or tea, one (8-ounce) glass of skim milk or low-fat yogurt, and 1 tablespoon of low-fat or fat-free salad dressing per day. On alternating days, you can choose from a list of free foods. On day one, for example, dieters eat unlimited amounts of 22 free vegetables, everything from artichokes to cucumbers to turnips. On day five, it's unlimited amounts of chicken or fish.

Does the diet take and keep weight off?

Weight loss is a given since calories are so low, but it's unlikely that the pounds will stay off, particularly once you return to your old eating habits. And—no surprise here—there's not a shred of clinical or even anecdotal evidence to support the value of this regimen. All there is to go on is a vague statement in the book that "men and women across the world have had incredible success with this diet." Nevertheless, the author boldly claims you can lose 10 pounds in seven days.

Is the diet healthy?

No way. A diet that focuses on so few foods can't possibly provide all the nutrients you need. In fact, it lacks ample quantities of everything from fiber to protein to calcium.

What do the experts say?

"Sure, people lose weight with this diet. How much cabbage soup can anyone really eat?" asks registered dietitian Jackie Berning, an associate professor of biology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. "My problem with the diet is that it doesn't teach people how to change the eating habits that made them gain weight in the first place." Oh, and the digestive repercussions of all that cabbage? "Your family will probably kick you out because of all the flatulence," Berning says. Baylor College of Medicine weight-loss expert John Foreyt, Ph.D., cuts to the chase. "It's silly," he says. "It's just about cutting calories. People will lose weight in the short term, but nobody can stick with it." Would he recommend it as a quick way to jump-start weight loss? "Of course not."

Who should consider the diet?

Nobody. This regimen is unsafe.

Bottom line:

Sure, eating a steady diet of cabbage soup will peel off a few pounds over the short term, but they'll come back. Count on it.


3:15 pm Updated by

Fat Burning Soups For Weight Loss. A simple 3-step plan to lose weight fast, along with numerous effective weight loss tips. If only losing weight was as easy as gaining it, right? While there are plenty of advertised ways to shed some pounds, there are only a handful of methods that actually work.

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From low-carb diet, hi-protein diet, low fat diet and eating small meals 5-6 times a day diet, Fat Burning Soup Recipes is the only diet where I lost weight and most importantly kept it off!

Fat Burning Soups For Weight Loss

No massive shift in what you eat (you can still eat the same foods you do now).

No need to exercise or working out.

No silly dietary restrictions to follow.

No starving yourself and feeling miserable.

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Too good to be true?

That’s what Emily Sanders of Bristol in the UK though – until she actually achieved it.

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