Cabbage Soup Diet
Promoted as a way to quickly lose weight and detoxify the body, the cabbage soup diet is one of the most popular diets today. Although various health resources claim to know the source of the original cabbage soup diet, where the cabbage soup diet plan originally came from remains unclear. It’s generally assumed that the diet surfaced as a fad diet in the 1980s, and has since been adapted by weight loss gurus and health bloggers. In this article, you’ll learn all about cabbage soup dieting, with information on cabbage soup diet ingredients, side effects, reviews, and results.
First of all, what is the cabbage soup diet? Considered a short-term, or crash diet, the cabbage soup diet plan involves eating low or no-fat cabbage soup for 7 days. It has been referred to under a variety of names, such as “The Russian Peasant Diet”, “the Military Cabbage Soup Diet”, and even “The Mayo Clinic Cabbage Soup Diet”.
While guidelines vary, most cabbage soup diet menus allow for small amounts of additional foods like rice, bananas, beef, and low-fat dairy products. However, the main component of the diet is cabbage soup. Most cabbage diet instructions encourage the dieter to eat as much cabbage soup as they like while on the diet.
Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe
Looking for the best cabbage soup diet recipe? You’ll find various health blogs that claim to have the original cabbage soup diet recipe, most of which are similar to the classic cabbage soup recipe provided below:
Cabbage Soup Ingredients
- 1 head of cabbage (large), chopped
- 5 carrots, chopped
- 3 onions, chopped
- 2 cans (16 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 quarts tomato juice
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- 8-10 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 can (14 oz.) beef broth (can also use vegetable broth or 3-4 bouillon cubes dissolved in approximately 2 cups water)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cabbage Soup Directions
- Add all ingredients except for the cabbage in a large pot.
- Add water until the vegetables are just covered.
- Bring pot to a boil, and then add the cabbage.
- Reduce to a simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7 Day Cabbage Soup Diet Directions
Before you start your cabbage soup 7-day diet, compiling a cabbage soup diet shopping list is important. In addition to the ingredients needed for the soup itself, users should make sure to have fresh fruits, green vegetables, brown rice, unsweetened fruit juice, potatoes, and skim milk or low-fat yogurt on hand. Some versions of the diet also allow you to add chicken, fish, or beef to the soup, but only on a select number of days.
In addition to planning for those 7 days, users should consider what to eat after the cabbage soup diet phase has ended. Because the diet focuses on limited foods, the post-cabbage-soup diet should include a variety of vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats to help avoid deficiencies. Below, Better Health Organization provides easy to follow directions for each of the seven cabbage soup diet days.
Day 1: Cabbage Soup Diet Begins
All day today, eat only cabbage soup and fruit (except for bananas, which are saved for Day 4).
Day 2: Add One Potato
Eat only cabbage soup and root vegetables like carrots, beets, parsnips, turnip, etc. For dinner, add a baked potato topped with butter to the menu.
Day 3: Avoid Starch
Continue to eat only cabbage soup, along with fruits and vegetables as snacks.
Day 4: Add One Banana
Nicknamed the cabbage soup diet banana day, users are instructed to eat one banana today, in addition to the cabbage soup.
Day 5: Add Protein
Add beef, skinless chicken, or fish to your cabbage soup (or as a side dish). You can also add tomatoes to your soup today as well.
Day 6: Eat Plenty of Leafy Greens
Today, focus on eating leafy greens in addition to cabbage soup. This includes, kale, arugula, parsley, spinach, lettuce, beet greens, etc.
Day 7: Add Rice and Unsweetened Fruit Juice
On the final day, have a serving of brown rice along with your cabbage soup at one of your meals. Most guidelines also instruct you to drink an unlimited amount of fruit juice, as long as it’s unsweetened.
How Does the Cabbage Soup Diet Work?
During the cabbage soup diet, calories consumed range between 800 and 1200. This low-calorie intake is considered the primary reason for weight loss during this diet. Another reason that people might lose weight on this diet is due to the proposed laxative effect of cabbage. Some proponents of the diet also claim that cabbage has fat-burning capabilities. While these mechanisms have yet to be verified by clinical trials, cabbage contains dietary fiber which may help users feel full longer.3
Cabbage Soup Diet Results
One of the most common questions among potential dieters is does the cabbage soup diet work? To find an answer, we must look to reviews and testimonials from people who have tried the diet, as well as scientific studies on low calorie diets.
While no clinical trials have addressed the question “does cabbage soup diet work?” scientific evidence for low-calorie diets has noted that when used intermittently, they may provide long-term benefits such as improved glycemic control, increased insulin action and moderate weight loss.5 Anecdotal evidence reveals that cabbage soup diet weight loss results may be as high as 1 lb. per day.
Research on intermittent fasting, or reducing calorie intake for short periods of time, has also noted promising results. So far, evidence indicates that reducing caloric intake may beneficially affect inflammation in the body, reduce cholesterol levels, promote stem cell regeneration and be particularly beneficial for those with diabetes or cardiovascular conditions.6
How much can you lose on the cabbage soup diet? – Results vary, but the average weight loss on cabbage soup diet plans is approximately 5 lbs. While health guides claim that the diet can help you lose up to 20 lbs., these results may be from users who have followed the diet for longer than seven days.
Cabbage Soup Diet Reviews
Online, there are dozens of testimonials on this diet, including many convincing cabbage soup diet before and after images of successful dieters. It appears that cabbage soup diet experiences vary greatly among participants. While some are impressed with their quick weight loss results, others struggle with the and lack of variety in the diet. However, they do mention it does help shed pounds quickly.
Possible Cabbage Soup Diet Plan Side Effects
When looking at the restrictive daily menu, it’s natural to wonder is cabbage soup diet healthy?
Cabbage is considered a relatively healthy food, providing nutrients like vitamin C, dietary fiber, calcium, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds.3,4 At the same time, many health specialists point to the lack of variety, balance, and well-rounded nutrition if users were to continue on the cabbage soup diet long term.1
Is The Cabbage Soup Diet Safe for Long Term Use?
The cabbage soup diet has a short duration which is unlikely to pose serious, long-term health consequences. As with any significant reduction in caloric intake, dieters may experience minor side effects such as dizziness, lightheadedness or fatigue which is caused by low blood sugar levels. Research indicates that continuing low-calorie diets for extended period of time (three weeks) may increase cortisol levels and perceived stress over time.2
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Ruden, D., Rasouli, P., Lu, X. (2007). Potential Long-Term Consequences of Fad Diets on Health, Cancer, and Longevity: Lessons Learned from Model Organism Studies. Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment, 6(3) 24 -254. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/153303460700600312
- Tomiyama, A. J., Mann, T., Vinas, D., Hunger, J. M., DeJager, J., & Taylor, S. E. (2010). Psychosomatic Medicine, 72(4), 357–364. doi: 1097/PSY.0b013e3181d9523c
- Dias. (2012). Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of Vegetables: A Review. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 3(10), 1354-1374. doi: 10.4236/fns.2012.310179.
- Chun, O., Smith, N., Sakagawa, A & Lee, C. (2004). Antioxidant properties of raw and processed cabbages. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 55(3). Retrieved December 6, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15223595
- Henry, R. R., & Gumbiner, B. (1991). Benefits and Limitations of Very-Low-Calorie Diet Therapy in Obese NIDDM. Diabetes Care, 14(9), 802-823. doi:2337/diacare.14.9.802
- Kirkpatrick, K. (2015, October 23). Intermittent Fasting Has Benefits Beyond Weight Loss. Retrieved December 6, 2017 from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/10/interested-fasting-health-get-facts-first/