The Cabbage Soup Diet Revisited

The Cabbage Soup Diet is possibly the most infamous diet ever created. When people talk about strict weight loss diets, often the first that springs to mind is the Cabbage Soup Diet.

People often feel slightly revolted at the thought of eating nothing but cabbage soup, with memories of over boiled cabbage served in school dinners being the main reason that people are put off!


The Cabbage soup diet simply involves a consumption of large amounts of low-calorie cabbage soup over the period of one week. It is really a typical short term fad diet, in that it is designed for quick weight-loss and requires no long-term commitment.

Although the diet claims that it can help you to lose 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of fat in a week, medical advisers are quick to point out that it is almost impossible to lose that much fat within a week. The likely reason for much of the weight loss during the seven day period is that water is lost, not fat. The 7 Day Cabbage Soup Diet Beverages are limited to water, and unsweetened fruit juice on days when fruit is allowed. This is a typical outline of the diet:

  • Day 1 – Cabbage soup plus as much fruit as you like, excluding bananas
  • Day 2 – Cabbage soup plus vegetables including 1 jacket (baked) potato with a little butter
  • Day 3 – Cabbage soup plus fruit and vegetables excluding potatoes and bananas
  • Day 4 – Cabbage soup plus up to eight bananas and as much skimmed milk as you like
  • Day 5 – Cabbage soup plus up to 20 ounces of beef and up to six tomatoes
  • Day 6 – Cabbage soup plus as much beef and vegetables (excluding potatoes) as you like
  • Day 7 – Cabbage soup plus brown rice, vegetables (excluding potatoes) and unsweetened fruit juice

This diet is similar in style to the Maple Syrup Diet, in that it simply restricts calorific intake in an extreme way. Many people claim that the diet does not work, but this is almost always because of one or more of the following reasons:

  1. They do not adhere to the strict rules over the week (i.e. cheat foods are eaten, sugary drinks drunk)
  2. After the diet they revert back to their old lifestyle rather than taking advantage of a lighter frame to do more exercise.
  3. They eat some bread with their soup! Yes, some people think that bread cannot make you fat. Those people are wrong!

Alternative Ideas

Soup is a great way to manage weight, or lose weight. When we eat soup out stomachs remain full for longer and hunger is kept at bay for longer. Rather than eat nothing but cabbage soup every day, eat a varied mixture of soup. Vegetable, bean and lentil soups all provide an excellent source of nutrients and fibre. Give soup a chance!

More like this in the Diet and Nutrition section

  4 comments for “The Cabbage Soup Diet Revisited

  1. matt
    July 1, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Having a lighter frame doesnt not make exercise more effective, if anything, a larger frame will allow for a greater metabolic boost.

    You claim that bread is unhealthy and then recommend people drink fruit juice, this is insane.

    As far as the science behind this diet goes, u might as well eat 4 snickers bars in a day.

    The thing that low calorie diets miss is that calorific intake actually boosts metabolism, and so boosts weight loss, you want to be eating a goodly amount of the right foods, and not starving yourself.

  2. MotleyHealth
    July 1, 2010 at 7:01 am

    We never said that bread is unhealthy, but white bread has a very high GI which means it is high in sugar. Brown bread . whole grain bread is much better.

    You are correct about fruit juices, as fruit juices do contain fructose and if you are trying to lose weight you need to cut back on all forms of sugar. But this diet only allows fruit juice 1 day per week.

    As for exercise, most people that go on these calories restrictive diets do not favor exercise.

  3. Angie
    January 23, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Is there certain foods you need to avoid or eat before you start the diet and after you get off of it?

  4. MotleyHealth
    January 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    The cabbage soup diet was never an advanced diet system. You just eat a thin cabbage soup for 7 days, then eat a healthy diet afterwards. The first few days eating should be lighter than normal.

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