The Cabbage Soup Diet is a short-term weight loss plan that involves eating large quantities of cabbage soup.
There are a few different versions of the diet, but they all center around eating lots of cabbage soup and limiting other foods. Some versions of the diet allow for a small number of different foods, such as fruits and vegetables, while others are more restrictive.
The Cabbage Soup Diet is not a sustainable long-term weight loss solution, as it is very low in calories and nutrients. However, it may help people lose a significant amount of weight in a short period.
How the Cabbage Soup Diet Works
The cabbage soup diet is a rapid weight loss regime that involves eating unlimited cabbage soup for one week, alongside certain restricted foods. Due to the extreme reduction in calorie intake, some people lose up to 10 pounds on this diet, making it very popular for people hoping to lose weight fast.
While losing weight can be a healthy decision, this diet does not lead to sustainable weight management, and many people will quickly regain what they lost when they return to their everyday eating habits.
Therefore, it is often used as a pre-diet boost, followed by a longer-term diet plan.
- Eat unlimited amounts of cabbage soup every day.
- Follow the diet plan for a day-to-day list of other foods.
- Drink plenty of water to help maintain fullness.
- Don’t overdo exercise due to the limited calorie intake each day.
- Be aware that weight loss will mainly be water weight, so weight gain after the diet is typical.
- Use the cabbage soup diet to transition into a long-term eating regime.
- Do not try to continue the cabbage soup diet past seven days.
It is essential to have a good cabbage soup recipe. Making a big batch to start the diet will make it much easier to stick to. A large pot of cabbage soup should last a couple of days.
The Diet Plan
In addition to as many bowlfuls of the cabbage soup diet per day, the cabbage soup diet allows certain foods that change over the seven days.
Day One: Eat only fruits (except bananas).
Day Two: One baked potato is allowed this morning. Eat only non-starchy vegetables throughout the rest of the day.
Day Three: Eat only fruit and vegetables, excluding bananas and starchy vegetables.
Day Four: Eat only bananas, milk, and yogurt.
Day Five: Eat only tomatoes and lean protein like fish, chicken, or turkey.
Day Six: Eat only protein and vegetables.
Day Seven: Eat non-starchy fruits, vegetables, and juices.
The cabbage soup recipe primarily contains vegetables and water, so that it can be very cheap. Also, prepping big batches in advance will help save money, and cutting out all extra foods can help cut everyday costs.
Dos and Don’ts
- Strictly follow the daily diet plan
- Follow the diet for the recommended seven days
- Self-monitor and discontinue the diet if it leads to extreme fatigue or any discomfort
- Drink plenty of water, at least 8 cups per day
- Use the diet as a boost for a long-term healthy eating plan
- Continue the diet beyond seven days
- Suddenly overeat when the seven days are up
- Forget to seek medical advice before majorly restricting calorie intake
- Over exercise on a restricted-calorie diet
Sample Diet Plan
Baked apples (royal gala variety) for breakfast. Try a fresh fruit salad and a bowlful of cabbage soup for lunch. Eat dried fruit like raisins or frozen fruits like blueberries and melon for dinner.
Begin the day with a baked potato. After this, eat only non-starchy vegetables and cabbage soup. Include a fresh salad at lunch alongside cabbage soup and finish with cabbage soup and baked spinach chips for dinner.
No baked potato, but fruits (no banana) and vegetables (non-starchy) are allowed. Try a bowlful of mixed berries with cinnamon for breakfast. Otherwise, follow days one and two for lunch and dinner options, with as much cabbage soup as required.
This day varies from the others. For breakfast, try a banana smoothie with milk and yogurt. For lunch, cabbage soup, and dried banana chips. For dinner, have cabbage soup and another banana smoothie. Frozen bananas can be blended into mock ice cream for a dessert.
Today, eat only tomatoes (six to eight) and lean protein, which allows meat and fish. For breakfast, try turkey slices with grilled tomatoes. For lunch, have cabbage soup with added chicken.
Protein and vegetables are the focus today. All non-starchy vegetables are allowed rather than just tomatoes. Follow a similar plan to day five, but opt for dark leafy greens as sides for vegetable soup or protein. For breakfast, have lean turkey slices and a side of broccoli. For lunch, plenty of cabbage soup with a side salad. For dinner, try a non-fatty fish with wilted spinach and microgreens.
The final day allows non-starchy fruits, vegetables, and juices, with no bananas. For breakfast, try a bowl of fresh fruit and berries. Lunch can be cabbage soup and a side of fruit salad. For dinner, opt for cabbage soup with roast vegetables.
Health Benefits and Drawbacks
- Rapid weight loss
- Boost start for a long-term healthy eating plan
- People often report feeling cleansed or refreshed after the cabbage soup diet.
- Easy to make a big batch of cabbage soup to last a few days
- No elaborate meals or expensive ingredients
- Not sustainable over a long period
- Sudden calorie restriction
- Lack of nutrients in the diet
- Can cause low energy or sluggishness
- People often quickly regain the weight they lose
The Bottom Line: Is Cabbage Soup Diet a Healthy Way to Lose Weight?
The cabbage soup diet plan can help with quick weight loss. The fad diet has little scientific backing and is not generally recommended by dieticians because it is short-lived and unsustainable.
However, many people who have tried this seven-day diet report losing up to 10 pounds and achieving a flattened stomach.
The cabbage soup diet can have many benefits to boost-start a long-term healthy eating plan. Plus, while heavily restricting calories, the high fiber content of the cabbage soup and other vegetables means people do not feel hungry on this diet.
Also, many people report regaining the weight they lost as soon as they stop dieting. It is often considered a very unsustainable diet and does not aid long-term weight loss.
Meagan Morris is the editor in chief of Celebribody. She's veteran health and wellness editor with over 15 years of experience. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Yahoo Health, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and Women's Health, among others. She spends most of her time writing, but her favorite part of the day is spent under a barbell doing squats.