The Cabbage Soup Diet is a popular weight loss diet plan which is based on consuming large quantities of cabbage soup. Since this one-week diet helps you lose up to 10 lbs, the opinions are divided. The proponents of the diet swear by it whilst its opponents claim that it`s unhealthy and the results are unsustainable. Read on to learn more about this diet and see whether it really works or not.
What Is the Cabbage Soup Diet?
As the name itself suggests, this fast weight loss diet involves eating large quantities of cabbage soup. However, each day you can eat one or two other foods, including fruit, veggies, and skim milk.
This diet doesn’t work as starvation diet, but it works as low-calorie food which causes the body to burn more calories digesting it than the cabbage contains in the first place. Simply put, the more you eat of it, the more weight you lose.
The Cabbage Soup Recipe
- 1 head of cabbage
- 3 carrots
- 2 cans of tomatoes
- 1 package of mushrooms
- 2 green peppers
- 1 bunch of celery
- 2 large onions
- 1–2 bouillon cubes (optional)
- 6–8 cups water or vegetable cocktail such as V8
- Chop all the veggies into cubes
- Sauté the onions in a bit of oil
- Add the chopped veggies and pour the water/ vegetable cocktail and the bouillon cubes over them
- Bring to boil and then simmer for about half an hour or until the vegetables are tender
- Season with pepper, hot sauce, herbs, spices, or salt (optional)
Rules of the Diet
Each day, you are allowed to eat one or two foods apart from the soup. Make sure you drink plenty of water and calorie-free drinks like unsweetened tea.
- Day 1: Cabbage soup and fruit, except for bananas.
- Day 2: Only soup and veggies, preferably leafy greens. You are also allowed to have one baked potato with oil/ butter.
- Day 3: Unlimited amount of fruits and veggies, except for bananas and vegetables.
- Day 4: Unlimited cabbage soup, bananas, and skim milk
- Day 5: Eat 10–20 oz (280–567 grams) of beef, chicken, or fish. You may also consume to 6 fresh tomatoes and unlimited cabbage soup.
- Day 6: Soup, beef, and veggies. You may swap the beef for broiled fish, if you want to. Focus on leafy greens. No baked potato!
- Day 7: You may eat cabbage soup, vegetables, brown rice, unlimited fruit juice, but no sugar.
Does the Cabbage Soup Diet Work?
Being low in calories, the likelihood is that this diet will really help you lose weight. Although you are allowed to have a few other foods as well, all of them are also low in calories, which makes them beneficial for you weight loss process.
However, despite the fact that Cabbage Soup Diet is effective when it comes to losing weight, most of that weight will come back very soon. The problem with low-calorie diets like this one is that restriction of calorie intake or losing a lot of weight leads to lowering of the metabolic rate, which means that you burn fewer calories daily than you did earlier.
Lowering of metabolism is the major cause of weight loss plateaus in long-term diets but once you go into a very-low-calorie diet, the metabolism may slow down within the very first days of the diet. As a matter of fact, this is often what contributes to inability to prevent weight gain after stopping a short-term diet.
Still, obese people may benefit a lot by following a low-calorie diet as long as their progress is supervised by a doctor. However, even short-term diets which are low in calories may lower insulin resistance, according to a few studies.
The Cabbage Soup Diet is beneficial in terms of not forcing you to go hungry or starve, since you are allowed to eat as much as you want during the day. It also involves a lot of low-calorie and fiber-dense fruits and veggies. Still, it may be difficult for you to stay full for an extended period of time due to the limited and repetitive choices.
Drawbacks of the Cabbage Soup Diet
During the first week, you use only 34 percent of the fat, while the other two-thirds come from lost muscle mass and water weight. This water weight actually comes from glycogen stores, which are your body`s energy resources.
When following a low-calorie diet, the body uses these energy resources and flushes out the extra water through the kidneys. Lack of calories causes the kidneys to secrete more water and salt in the urine.
Once you go back to a less restrictive diet, the water weight comes back and the body rebuilds these energy stores. The lack of nutrients as well as the low-protein intake is the major drawbacks of this diet, both of which are needed for keeping the metabolism up.
Ultimately, many people claim that the soup is tasteless and it may be difficult for you to stick with it for up to seven days. Consequently, this makes a lot of people cheat and fail to get the wanted results.
5 Safety and Side Effects
1. Low-Calorie Diet
Very low-calorie diets, such as Cabbage Soup Diet, are not recommended for everyone, since the women need 1,200 calories and men need 1,500 calories daily in order to function properly.
2. Lack of Nutrients
This diet includes limited and unbalanced food choices, almost no protein, and very low amount of fat, calories, and carbs. It is deficient in many vitamins and minerals, too.
3. Flatulence and Cramping
Being high in fiber, this diet may cause flatulence and cramping in most people.
4. Gallbladder Issues
A few people who have followed this diet on the long run have reported experiencing gallstones and gallbladder blockages, probably due to the nature of the diet and its rapid weight loss effects.
5. Blood Sugar Levels
The low-calorie and low carb content may cause significant changes in your blood sugar levels. However, this is not a serious threat for most healthy people.