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Cabbage soup diet: Everything you need to know

Cabbage Soup Diet is designed to help shed fat fast. Whatever your feelings are on a diet comprised predominantly of cabbage, there’s little doubt this week-long plan will help you slim.

Similar to the extreme, yet less-well known weight-loss plan known as the Cambridge Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet has been popular with hardcore dieters for years, mainly because it’s a quick fix and can cause people to lose 10 pounds in a very short period of time.

But, as with all strict diets, there are health risks to consider. Here is everything you need to know about the Cabbage Soup Diet here (warning: it’s not for the faint-hearted)…

Cabbage Soup Diet

What is it?

It’s quite self-explanatory. You spend a week, and no more, eating unlimited amounts of low-calorie cabbage soup, which you cook yourself at home. The cabbage soup makes up your staple diet for the week but you are also allowed a small selection of other foods (such as some fruit, or a baked potato), all designed to help you shed fat fast. People claim to have lost 10lbs in a week on this quick-results diet plan.

How does the Cabbage Soup Diet work?

It’s a very low-fat, yet high-fibre diet. The cabbage soup has virtually no calories in it so by eating pretty much only that you lose weight. It’s as simple as that.

The pros of the Cabbage Soup Diet:

The cabbage soup diet is super-cheap and a great quick fix for a special event, with many people working it into their wedding plans, or trying it just before they go on holiday. You only have to stick to it for one week to see good results and so it’s easy not to stray. Cabbage itself is also teaming with health benefits. Nutritionist Lovisa Nilsson, says: ‘Cabbage is healthy, as it contains plenty of fibre and antioxidants such as vitamin C.’

The cons of the Cabbage Soup Diet:

Critics believe that you are in fact losing water, rather than fat, on the plan which can result in you gaining weight again very quickly once you go back to a normal diet. Personal trainer and fitness coach Scott Laidler says: ‘Weight loss is temporary and most people will re-gain any lost weight quickly. Because the Cabbage Soup Diet has such a low calorie intake and virtually no protein, almost all weight lost on this diet will be water and muscle, not body fat. This is a real shame because gaining all that weight back can be crushing psychologically, which can lead to comfort eating and loss of motivation to exercise which in turn leads to more weight gain.’

The lack of calories can also leave people feeling lightheaded. Scott said: ‘Without being used to this level of restriction, most people will experience a lack of energy, headaches and even dizziness, so doing serious exercise whilst on the diet would be out of the question.’

All in all, the Cabbage Soup Diet is in no way a healthy choice in the long-term. Lovisa Nilsson, nutritionist at Lifesum, says: ‘Cabbage soup is nutritionally unbalanced as a meal, and it is vital we consume essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins B and even healthy fats. By following this diet for a lengthily period of time, you are depriving your body of the nutrients it needs and thus defeating any long-term health benefits and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.’

If you are determined to give the diet a go, Lovisa recommends: ‘Supplement the soup with, for example, rye bread and some form of protein. You may also find that you get bored of eating cabbage for your meals every day, so I would suggest adding and changing flavours to make each meal more interesting.’

The Cabbage Soup Diet Dogma And The Birth Of Dieting With The Help Of A Soup

In trying to see from where this diet originated, I was unsuccessful – the origins are unknown but most of the popularity of this diet comes from a 80’s.

Trying to talk about this diet was a complete chore for me and believe me, I’ve seen pretty bad diets in my life.

The cabbage soup diet is a fast weight loss diet that was mainly designed for people wanting to lose weight at a fast pace without even considering muscle loss or certain nutrient deficiencies.

Basically, being on this diet means that you will consume a low-calorie soup made from cabbage over a period of 7 days.

Cabbage Soup Diet Detailed Daily

  • Day 1 – you get to eat as much fruit as desired without bananas and eat as much of this soup as you like
  • Day 2 – vegetables and soup as much as you want including 1 baked potatoe
  • Day 3 – same as day 2 but without the additional potatoe
  • Day 4 – 8 bananas along with cabbage soup and skimmed milk at your will
  • Day 5 – 250-300 grams of beef, up to 6 tomatoes and this soup as much as you want to
  • Day 6 – Beef, vegetables, this soup – as much as you want
  • Day 7 – Vegetables, fruit juice (unsweetened), cabbage soup – as much as you want to

Also known as a fad diet, this soup diet is designed for short term weight loss and a typical weight loss of 4-5 kg/week is pretty achievable.

You achieve that kind of weight loss because you basically consume 600-1000 calories/day and with that large of a deficit, there’s no chance you couldn’t lose weight.

Most versions of this diet allow you to eat any kind of vegetables or fruits but you are not permitted to eat bananas or potatoes – my comment here is: nonsense, what bananas and potatoes have to do with weight gain?

They are just another macronutrient duh..

There are also diet cycles between certain foods like tomatoes, milk, rice, beef, fruit, chicken, fish, juice but their consumption is only allowed on certain days.

Oh, I almost forgot – this diet plan also puts you on drinking plenty of water in the form of at least 8 glasses every day and some weird variations of this diet also allow you to drink unsweetened tea and black coffee.

Alright, this is the general explanation of the diet.

Here’s where a BUT comes..

The truth is that if you want to try this diet, be prepared of a whole host of problems, and by problems, I mean pretty serious problems.

Big health issues will arise because:

  1. You get basically no healthy fats – you get 0 healthy fats in your diet and it was demonstrated by plenty of research studies that no fat in your diet will interfere with important vitamin absorption, testosterone production and other issues.
  2. No protein – Eating only fruits and vegetables won’t give you any quality protein and because protein is the building block of every cell in your body, going on the route without protein is a sure recipe for muscle loss in the best case scenario.
  3. Low in important nutrients like calcium, zinc and iron – I won’t go in details on why you should get them from your diet because I already wrote another article on vitamins and minerals.

Overall Conclusion

The cabbage soup diet is a complete nonsense, advertised by media and certain celebrities that promised they lost weight with it.

Of course you will lose weight on 600 calories/day diet because your body probably consumes over 1300 if you are a female and over 2000 if you are male.

Caloric deficit = weight loss

Not only it can make you deficient in important nutrients but this diet can also put you at risk of muscle and water loss.

And the best part comes last: you will almost 100% gain all the lost weight back because this is not a solution to your dieting problems – you will lose weight on the duration of this diet but when you’ll start eating normally again, the weight lost will come back for sure.

You will get your usual caloric intake from eating normally which will put you back on your past weight.

A good diet is one that literally makes you lose fat without any radical changes and will keep that fat off.

If you want to try a specific diet, I made a top of the best diet books you can find that will actually help you lose fat or you can check out my book which has all the elements of an worry free diet.

Special K, raw food, cabbage soup. The man who did 10 diets in 50 days and found one that really worked

By Andy Leeks For The Daily Mail 22:10 BST 12 Jan 2015, updated 16:46 BST 13 Jan 2015

  • Andy Leeks, at 16 stone, was 3 stone overweight for his height (5 ft 11in)
  • Failed to shift the pounds that had crept on in the last three years
  • Tried 10 diets including 5:2, a juice fast, Atkins and the cabbage soup diet
  • In total he lost 30½ lb and his waist went from 38-40 inches to 34-36 inches

The final straw for me was when people at work started calling me 'Big Man' - I had to do something about my weight. I'm sure it was meant affectionately, but I was mortified as I'd never considered myself as 'big'.

But the truth was last year, I tipped the scales at 16 stone - at least three stone overweight for my height (I'm 5 ft 11in).

I'd tried and failed to shift the pounds that had crept on in the last three years. I desperately wanted to lose the weight for good, so why was I unable to see a diet through to the finish?

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The answer was surprisingly simple: Boredom. I'd start a new diet with loads of enthusiasm, only to abandon my best-laid plans when the novelty wore off - usually once I'd learned all there was to learn about the plan and any weight loss started to slow.

Which is why I came up with the idea of trying out ten different diets in 50 days. Would it be possible to lose weight by changing diets regularly - without losing interest?

I've always had a short attention span and this seemed an interesting challenge. Fifty days seemed like a nice round number, and would mean I had to stick to each diet for only five days.

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My first step was a full health screening with my GP. I explained my plans and that I wanted to see the before and after health results - to my surprise she agreed and said she'd be interested to see what happened, not just for my weight but for my overall health.

My starting blood pressure was 136/81 and my overall cholesterol reading was 4 - both within the healthy ranges, but with definite room for improvement.

The GP did warn me that if I did lose weight, I might not be able to keep it off because people who lose weight rapidly - typical of more extreme diets - tend to put it straight back on. Nonetheless, I wanted to see if it was possible - and whether it would get round the tedium of dieting.

I picked diets I hadn't previously tried. The ten diets in order were: the 5:2 diet; the Special K diet, where two out of three meals are replaced by Special K cereal or snack bars; following NHS guidance for a healthy diet; a juice fast; the high-fat, low-carb Atkins diet; a raw food diet; the baby food diet (replacing two out of three meals a day with tiny jars of baby food, in order to cut calories); calorie counting using a mobile phone app; the grapefruit diet, which involves having either grapefruit or grapefruit juice before or after each meal, supposedly to boost fat-burning; and the cabbage soup diet.

I started with the 5:2. The idea is to restrict calories drastically for two days and eat normally for the rest of the week - three days in my case.

On both fasting days, I ate tomato soup for lunch, one slice of toast (with crusts cut off to shave off some calories) with a small helping of beans for dinner and an apple.

By day three of the raw food plan, my throat was worse and I couldn't taste anything (no bad thing when nothing can be cooked)

I was worried I'd overdo it on the non-fasting days, as you can eat whatever you like. But, surprisingly, I found myself craving things like nuts and fruits rather than bacon sandwiches.

I lost 5 lb in the five days - though I realised afterwards I'd been following the female version of the diet and eating 500 calories on fast days, rather than the 600 recommended for men. I could have had those crusts after all.

I also lost 5 lb on diet two - the Special K diet, but it was much more boring. I couldn't wait to move on to the next diet and there's no way I could have stuck to it for more than five days.

But at least swapping meals for low-calorie cereal was easy. The juice diet - diet four - by comparison, was a nightmare to follow. All the juices had to be made fresh and took ages to prepare.

There would have been no way I could have lugged the required 3kg of fruit and veg into the office every day - fortunately my very understanding boss let me work from home that week.

Some looked like swamp water and my five-year-old daughter Charlotte asked me to stop helping her with her homework because my 'voice was smelly'. I bailed out a day early.

I did lose 4 lb on it, but I lost the same amount following the guidance for a balanced diet on the NHS website (diet three), and it was much more enjoyable, with plenty of wholegrains, lots of vegetables and fruit, some meat and fish and not too much fat or sugar. Nothing was technically off limits, and there was no calorie counting.

I was surprised that this worked as it didn't feel like a diet.

Counting calories using a tracker app on my phone (diet eight), the grapefruit diet (diet nine) and the baby food diet (diet seven) only shifted 1lb each. I hated the constant reminder that I was on a diet from logging everything I ate on my phone, the baby food was bland mush and I now like grapefruit a lot less than before.

I lost a little more - 1½ lb - on the Atkins regimen (diet five) of eggs, meat, butter and cheese. With no starchy foods or sugar, your body is supposed to use body fat for fuel. The downside was that I was almost instantly bored and miserable.

But nothing was as bad as diet six - the raw food diet. I was feeling really run down by this point and my throat was sore. But I persevered with the incredibly strict plan of food in its uncooked, unprocessed state - so raw fruit and veg, nuts and seeds, and not much else.

Fans claim food in this unadulterated state allows the body to function at its best, helping shed excess weight. Of course, it helps that this sort of food tends to have few calories.

By day three of the raw food plan, my throat was worse and I couldn't taste anything (no bad thing when nothing can be cooked). I woke in the middle of the night struggling to breathe, resulting in a 5 am trip to A&E.

I was diagnosed with an infection, requiring antibiotics and rest.

It seems foolish now, but I didn't mention my diet challenge. I spent the next two days in bed eating almost nothing - I lost 3 lb, although how much of this was down to illness rather than the diet is hard to say. I left the diet I'd been dreading most till last - the Cabbage Soup diet. Every meal was low calorie cabbage soup. It was awful.

No amount of herbs and spices could mask the fact it was yet another bowl of soup made from cabbage, onions and water. And as many other cabbage soup dieters have reported, it gives you bad breath and terrible wind. I felt sorry for my poor wife, who had already put up with 45 days of my see-sawing moods.

But for the first time in years, I'd managed to stick to my plan to diet for more than a couple of weeks - and in total I lost 30½ lb. I could see my feet for the first time in years and my waist had gone from 38-40 inches to 34-36 inches.

There was only one way of eating out of the ten that I could stick to long-term - and that's the diet by the NHS

I felt happy and healthy - although my doctor had news for me on that front. For while my blood pressure was a tiny bit lower, at 130/80, my cholesterol had gone up to 4.3, and this increase was down to a rise in so-called 'bad' LDL cholesterol.

My GP explained that extreme diets essentially shock the body; and in its confused state subtle changes can happen - not all helpful - which might explain why my LDL was slightly up.

She said people's exact reactions will vary, and added that if I keep the weight off, she would expect an improvement in my readings.

There were other lessons too. Around the four-week mark, I stopped weighing myself every day - something I always used to do when I was on a diet, and then not at all when I fell off the wagon. Weighing myself daily meant I would often see no change or even a slight increase and it was demotivating.

This time, perhaps because of the variety of the diets, I could stick it out long enough to see other changes that are more important than the number on the scale - my double chin was receding, my skin was better, I was finding my weekly run easier.

There was only one way of eating out of the ten that I could stick to long-term - and that's the diet set out by the NHS.

And now I know it can really work just as well as a plan with stricter, faddier rules.

It's nearly two months since I finished my ten-diet whirl, and unlike any other time I've dieted, I still feel determined to stick to healthy eating.

While I wouldn't recommend my methods to anyone, this was the first January in ages where I haven't been tempted by the latest New Year diet - in fact, I truly believe I will never do another diet again, thank goodness!

Andy's book Minimize Me - 10 Diets To Lose 25 lb In 50 Days is available to download on Amazon at the special offer price of 99p.


7:56 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.

And just picture the envious glances you’d enjoy from the opposite sex and the astonishment of your friends because you’ve lost a total of 55 pounds.

Too good to be true?

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

Just look at her amazing transformation …

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