Mayo Clinic Heart Patient Diet Soup Recipes

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Mayo Clinic Cabbage Soup Diet

The Mayo Clinic Cabbage Soup Diet -- which has no connection at all with the actual Mayo Clinic-- is a fad diet that promises you’ll lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time. Like many fad diets, this one goes by several other aliases, including the Sacred Heart Hospital Diet, the Dolly Parton Diet and the Military Cabbage Soup Diet. No one knows who actually originated the diet, which surfaces every 10 to 15 years with a new name, reports. Like any restricted calorie diet, this diet can help you lose weight in the short term.

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You are supposed to follow the cabbage diet for a total of seven days, during which time your mainstay for meals is cabbage soup, which also contains bouillon, French onion soup mix, tomatoes and a few other vegetables. You’re allowed as much soup as you want every day. Recipes for the soup vary, depending on the version of the diet. The first days allows soup and all the fruit you can eat, except bananas. The second day allows all the vegetables you can eat, including one baked potato and no fruit. Day three allows both fruits and vegetables, but no potato. Day four allows up to eight bananas and all the skim milk you can drink. Day five allows 10 to 20 oz. of meat and tomatoes and day six allows meat and vegetables. Day seven allows brown rice and vegetables plus unlimited unsweetened fruit juice.

Since the diet lasts only seven days, it isn’t likely to cause any nutritional deficiencies. It does include fruits on many days and vegetables every day, either in the soup or separately. Some versions also recommend drinking eight glasses of water each day. You can eat unlimited amounts of soup all day, which may reduce your desire to eat foods not on the diet.

This diet includes a lot of cabbage, well-known for its tendency to produce intestinal gas. It might be best to do this diet on a week where you don’t have too many social engagements. The soup also contains several foods high in sodium, including the bouillon cubes and the French onion soup mix. If you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, don’t try this diet without your doctor’s approval. On most days, the diet is also low in calories and protein and very low in fat, which is a necessary part of any diet. The lack of calories, protein and fat could cause dizziness, weakness and fatigue.


The cabbage diet isn’t the worst fad diet to follow, since it does contain fruits and vegetables and does not include processed foods. However, following it for more than a week at a time could aggravate nutritional deficiencies, nutritional scientist Elaine Turner of the University of Florida states. For example, people with diabetes might not be able to maintain stable blood sugars on this diet, according to Turner.

Heart Surgery and Soup Diet

One fad diet claims to have medical experts' stamp of approval. Badly-typed, copied multiple times, passed on from one person to the other and found in numerous incarnations on the Internet, the Sacred Heart Diet has the reputation of being a soup diet given to overweight patients prior to heart surgery. However, medical institutions associated with this fad diet have gone out of their way to disclaim their association with it.

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The Soup Diet

The soup diet that's purportedly fed to patients before heart surgery has reached urban legend status, says the American Heart Association, or AHA, which devoted an entire web page to the diet. The diet goes by many monikers, one of the more common names being the Sacred Heart Memorial Diet. Among the soup diet's many aliases are the Cleveland Clinic Diet, the Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital Diet, the Miami Heart Institute Diet, the Spokane Heart Diet, T.J.’s Miracle Soup Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Basic Fat Burning Soup Diet and "The Skinny." It's even been attributed to the AHA. And here's where things get confusing: The Cabbage Soup Diet, aka the Sacred Heart Diet, is also sometimes referred to as the Mayo Clinic Diet. And the Cleveland Clinic Diet is also called the grapefruit diet.

A Diet Disavowed

According to, the Sacred Heart Hospital in Montreal, Canada formally announced in 2004 that it had nothing to do with the diet. The Cleveland Clinic, too, indicates on its website that it is not associated with the diet. The AHA – which has been falsely credited with a phony fad diet that has ice cream, hot dogs, eggs and cheese on the menu – also indicates that it had no part in the development of a soup diet for heart surgery patients. A March 1996 New York Times article describes this soup diet as the "diet from nowhere," because it's origins cannot be traced. Elaine Reid, director of food and nutrition at the Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital in Spokane told the Times that she receives hundreds of letters about the diet from all over the country – and even outside of the United States. In 1996, Reid told the Times that the diet has been in circulation for around 15 years.

There are many versions of the Sacred Heart Diet; however, indicates that one of the more common recipes lists the following ingredients: stewed tomatoes, green onions, nonfat beef broth, a package of chicken noodle soup mix, celery, green beans, carrots and green peppers seasoned with salt, pepper, curry powder and parsley. The ingredients are chopped into pieces, covered with water and cooked.

On the Sacred Heart Diet, which lasts for seven days, you can eat as much of the soup as you want per day; however, the diet integrates different food types on each day of the week. On the first day, dieters can have the soup and all the fruit they want, except bananas. Day two on the diet includes the soup and all vegetables, including a baked potato for dinner. You can have soup and all of the fruits and vegetables you like on day three, with the exception of a baked potato. Day four of the diet includes the soup, at least three bananas and as much skim milk as you want. On the fifth day of the soup diet, 10 to 20 oz. of beef and a can of tomatoes are allowed – with at least one serving of soup. Day six lets you eat as many beef steaks as you like, unlimited vegetables – leafy greens are suggested – but no baked potato and at least one serving of soup. On the last day of the diet, brown rice, vegetables and unsweetened fruit juice are added to the menu – along with the soup.

Mayo Clinic Heart Diet Before Surgery

Cardiac surgery to repair your heart valves or keep your heart beating in perfect rhythm can prove a life-saving effort. Before surgery, your physician may recommend losing weight, particularly if you are obese. This is because those at a healthy weight recover faster and more easily than those who are obese. The Mayo Clinic has released a diet designed to help cardiac surgery patients lose weight in a healthy manner that emphasizes lifetime health.

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The Mayo Clinic is a Rochester, Minnesota-based clinic renowned for its innovations in cardiac care. Created to give dieters a realistic and safe method of weight loss, the Mayo Clinic Diet emphasizes healthy choices to help cardiac patients lose weight that make recovery easier following surgery, according to “The Mayo Clinic Diet.” Note that this diet is not to be confused with the Mayo Clinic diet circulating on the Internet that emphasizes days on and then days off the diet and increased grapefruit consumption.

Beginning Program

The initial portion of the Mayo Clinic Diet is designed to help heart surgery patients and other diet followers jump-start weight loss in order to experience immediate results. This is helpful for cardiac surgery patients who may need to lose at least 5 lbs. prior to surgery. The starting phase is known as “Lose It!” This phase emphasizes making changes to the daily habits that contribute to obesity, such as eating high-fat snacks, according to “The Mayo Clinic Diet.” The diet encourages the surgical patient to break five habits that contribute to obesity and adopt five habits that help you lose weight.

Maintenance Program

If you have more than two weeks before your surgery, you can adopt the second phase of the Mayo Clinic Diet program, known as “Live It!” This phase emphasizes eating according to the Mayo Clinic food pyramid, which emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, low-fat protein sources and whole grains, according to This phase also emphasizes eating low amounts of sodium, a heart-healthy practice that can reduce high blood pressure.

Food Servings

The Mayo Clinic Diet recommends a range of 1,200 to 1,800 calories per day, dependent upon your current weight, gender and dietary goals. The serving size recommendations include four vegetable servings, three fruit servings, four whole-grain carbohydrate servings, three lean protein servings and three servings of “healthy fats,” according to “The Mayo Clinic Diet.” Fruits and vegetables represent the largest amount of fruit servings because they are low in calories and high in nutritional value.

Foods to Avoid

After the jump-start portion of the Mayo Clinic Diet plan, no foods are specifically restricted, according to The Diet Channel website. This is because the diet plan is aimed at moderation and not deprivation. Instead, the Mayo Clinic Diet recommends limiting sweets, alcohol and foods containing artificial sweeteners—but not necessarily eliminating them altogether.

11:58 pm Updated by

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