Many of you have probably heard of the Cabbage Soup Diet, a low-calorie diet aimed at following a strict plan of eating little more than cabbage soup for fast weight loss in the short term, but does it really work? Here we explain more about the details of what the plan involves and review its suitability to help you lose weight while you’re on your weight loss journey with Phen Caps.
The Cabbage Soup Diet Rules
The Cabbage Soup Diet is 7-day meal plan based on the unlimited daily consumption of homemade cabbage soup, plus limited amounts of other foods including meat, rice, and various fruits and vegetables. It is considered an extreme diet in that it is very restrictive, low calorie, and designed for short-term weight loss only. Several copy-cat diets based around similar principles have emerged since the diet first gained popularity in the 1980s, but the Cabbage Soup Diet is the most well-known of its kind.
The diet claims to result in 10 pounds of weight loss in a week, although nutritional experts point out that it is next to impossible to lose this much fat within seven days, and so it is likely that a lot of this ten pounds is water weight. The diet should only be followed for one week, and it is recommended that you wait at least two weeks before attempting a further seven days of the diet.
Because of the very low calorie nature of the Cabbage Soup Diet, exercise isn’t recommended. Going for a walk could be acceptable, but anything strenuous could be potentially dangerous.
The Cabbage Soup Recipe
The recipe has many variations but most of the main ingredients are similar in all of the recipes. Here is one example:
- 6 spring onions
- 2 green peppers
- 1 or 2 cans of tomatoes (diced or whole)
- 3 carrots
- 1 container of mushrooms (around 10oz)
- 1 bunch of celery
- Half a head of cabbage
- 1 package spice only soup mix (optional, but try to keep it as low in sodium as possible)
- 1 cube of low sodium bouillon
- 12 cups water or 8 cups water and 1 48oz can Low Sodium V8 juice (juice is optional)
- Season to taste with pepper, parsley, curry, garlic powder, etc. (Little to NO SALT!)
- Slice the spring onions, put in a pot on medium heat and start to sauté with cooking spray. Do this until the onions are whiter/clearer in color (about 4-6 minutes).
- Chop the green peppers, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms and celery into bite size pieces and add them to the pot, then add the tinned tomatoes.
- If you would like a spicy soup, add a small amount of curry or cayenne pepper.
- For seasoning, you can use a spice soup packet of your choice or use beef or chicken bouillon cubes. These cubes are optional, and you can add spices you like instead (make sure not to add much salt, if any at all).
- Add the water and optional V8/vegetable juice, cover and put on a low heat. Let soup simmer for a long time – about 2 hours or until vegetables are tender.
The Cabbage Soup 7-Day Meal Plan
Once you’ve made your soup, you can start the week-long plan. On all days where you are required to eat ‘as much as you want’ of a particular food, the idea is to make sure you are completely stuffed by the end of the meal. During the week you can only drink water or unsweetened tea, and your meals will be as follows:
|Day 1||Homemade cabbage soup, plus all of the fruit you want (except bananas)|
|Day 2||Homemade cabbage soup, plus all the fresh, raw or cooked vegetables you can eat, but do not eat any fruit today. Try to eat leafy green vegetables and stay away from dry beans, peas and corn. At dinner, reward yourself with a big baked potato with butter (potatoes are strictly off-limits on all other days)|
|Day 3||Homemade cabbage soup, plus all of the fruit and vegetables you want|
|Day 4||Homemade cabbage soup, plus as many bananas and as much skimmed milk as you want – this day is supposed to lessen your desire for sweets|
|Day 5||Homemade cabbage soup, plus 10-20 oz of beef and up to six fresh tomatoes. If you prefer, you can substitute the beef for skinless chicken today or tomorrow but you must eat beef at least once during the week|
|Day 6||Homemade cabbage soup, plus as much beef and as many vegetables as you want|
|Day 7||Homemade cabbage soup, plus brown rice, as many vegetables as you want, and unsweetened fruit juice|
Limitations & Concerns
Many individuals and medical professionals are critical of the diet, as most of the weight lost will be water and not fat, and therefore the results are not permanent nor healthy. It is likely that the only visible difference will be on the scale, as losing water weight, and potentially muscle, rather than fat will not improve appearance. In fact, it is likely to make you look and feel worse due to the diet’s deficiency in minerals and vitamins, and to the extremely low amounts of calories consumed over the course of a week.
As well as a daily calorie count far below levels considered safe, the recipe for most varieties of the soup has an extremely high sodium content due to the addition of bouillon and soup mix, intended to make it less bland and more palatable. The diet provides practically no protein for several days at a time and is also very low in fatty acids and calcium. Many people report feeling weak and light-headed during the course of the diet, and due to this and the blandness of the soup, few even manage the entire seven days.
Although encouraging the unlimited consumption of vegetables is beneficial to health and weight loss, eating little more than vegetables and cabbage soup is not sustainable and will not help individuals to achieve long-term weight loss goals. Furthermore, it will not help them to find a healthy way of eating, which can be part of a new healthier lifestyle. After the seven days the diet offers no guidance as to how to reintroduce foods forbidden from the plan, so it is left to the dieter to decide how to proceed. It is possible that after a period of deprivation such as this, the dieter will feel entitled to eat more freely in order to make up for having consumed so few calories for a week. This could then result in gaining back some or all of the weight lost, particularly if a percentage of the weight loss during the plan was water weight.
These issues raise concerns that not only is the diet ineffective, it could also be dangerous to your health. The fact that exercise is discouraged due to the low calorie consumption would also indicate that the diet is detrimental to the body’s functions and that the dieter’s ability to continue a normal life during it is unlikely. The aim of any diet should be to instill values of healthy eating in the long-term, as this is the only way to ensure healthy weight loss and a healthy lifestyle in the future.
Here at phen.com, we recognize that the most successful diets are ones that you can stick with and make part of your lifestyle, therefore, the Cabbage Soup Diet is not recommended for anyone who wants a healthful, balanced approach to eating and weight loss. The diet is also not recommended even in the short term, due to the potential risks it poses to health. Instead, we would recommend a balanced lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise with the help of Phen Caps; with this combination you’ll achieve long-term sustainable weight loss, rather than risking your health for the empty promise of a quick-fix which is just as quickly undone.
Take our advice and take control of your weight; ditch the fad diets and go forward with a balanced lifestyle. Phen Caps will keep your energy up and the appetite down - So click here to purchase them today!
Have you ever tried The Cabbage Soup Diet, or any other soup diets? Or do you have any questions for comments? We would love to hear so comment below!