Cabbage Soup Diet is plan a short-term diet for losing weight. Just like the name suggests, it includes consuming great quantities of cabbage soup.
Those who propound this diet claim that you can lose around 5 kilos in just one week. But numerous health experts are warning people that this diet is not healthy, and that the results can’t be sustained. We offer an extensive review of this Cabbage Soup Diet Plan and whether it is effective or not.
What Is Cabbage Soup Diet?
This is a fast diet for weight loss. Purportedly, sticking to this diet plan for a week can lead to losing up to 5 kilos.
The diet functions just like it sounds. For one week, you eat nearly nothing except home prepared cabbage soup. Also, you can eat a few other foods, like skim milk, vegetables of fruit.
Many people claim this diet doesn’t work by acting as a diet for starvation, but because cabbage is a low-calorie veggie so the body burns more calories while digesting it than the calories contained in cabbage itself.
Thus, the more cabbage soup you consume, the more pounds you lose.
This diet is intended to last one week at a time, for slimming down right before some event or starting a long term diet.
This diet plan is also known as Mayo Clinic Diet plan because it has been developed in the hospitals for fast weight loss right before surgery of patients with heart issues.
But hospitals denied such claims.
Nobody knows where this unusual diet came from. It seems that the diet gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s and since then it stuck around.
How to Do the Cabbage Diet
The basis of the diet is home prepared cabbage soup. First, you should make large batches of cabbage soup for the whole week. The ingredients are different according to different sources, but this is the primary recipe:
Recipe for Cabbage Soup
• Two larger onions
• Two green peppers
• A bunch of celery
• Two cans of tomatoes
• One cabbage head
• Three carrots
• One pack of mushrooms
• Two bouillon cubes
• 7 cups of water or a vegetable cocktail
1. Cut all vegetables in cubes.
2. In one stock pot, sauté the onions with little oil.
3. Add the other vegetables and cover them with vegetable cocktail or water and then add the bouillon cubes.
4. Let them boil and then reduce to a medium heat. Let them simmer until the vegetables are tender for about half an hour.
You can season the soup with pepper, salt, hot sauce, spices and herbs. You can also include non-starchy vegetables, like green beans and spinach.
You should eat as much of this cabbage soup as you like, at least a few meals. As people claim, the more cabbage soup you consume, the more weight you will lose.
Every day, you are allowed to eat a few low-calorie meals apart from this soup. But, it’s very important not to substitute meals and to drink water and other beverages without calories like unsweetened tea.
It’s recommended to take multivitamins since this diet may limit the intake of nutrients.
These are the rules for every day of the Diet with Cabbage Soup.
• Day 1: Unlimited amount of cabbage soup and various fruits, but not bananas.
• Day 2: Just soup and veggies. Focus on consuming cooked or raw leafy green vegetables. Avoid eating beans, peas and corn. Also you may eat a baked potato with oil and butter.
• Day 3: Eat as many vegetables and fruits as you can, apart from the soup. But, not baked potato and bananas.
• Day 4: Unlimited amount of cabbage soup, bananas and skim milk.
• Day 5: You can eat up to 500 grams of beef, that you can substitute with fish or chicken. Also, you can have about 5 fresh tomatoes and unlimited amount of cabbage soup. Drink at least 7 glasses of water.
• Day 6: Vegetables, soup and beef. You can substitute beef with broiled fish. Focus on consuming leafy green vegetables. No baked potato on this day.
• Day 7: You can eat brown rice, vegetables and an unlimited amount fruit juice, but with no added sugar. And cabbage soup, of course.
Don’t proceed with the diet for over seven days. But, you can repeat this diet as much as you like at least 2 weeks before you start it.
Is Cabbage Soup Diet Plan Efficient?
Cabbage Diet was never been studied, so it isn’t possible to confirm the efficiency. Still since this diet is extremely low in calories, it will certainly cause you lose weight. Apart from the fact that you can eat an unlimited amount of cabbage soup and some other foods, the choices are very limited and extremely low in calories so it will be difficult to consume enough to maintain your weight.
Sadly, even though this diet will probably help you lose some weight, it will come back after you stop this diet. A great issue with such diets is that the intake of calories is restricted and when you lose much of the weight, the body reacts by lowering the metabolic rate, which means you will burn fewer calories a day than before.
Interestingly, this slowed down metabolic rate is a common cause for weight loss plateaus in long term diets. But, the metabolism can slow down in just three days of the low calorie diet. This is usually a reason why it’s so hard to stop gaining weight after you stop a crash diet.
Still, low-calorie diet plans also have a couple of benefits. When the obese people go through very-low-calorie diet plans under a doctor supervision, these diets usually last for 5–11 weeks and can offer significant short-term improvements in the process of losing weight and metabolic health. But some studies revealed that even the short-term diets with very low-calorie intake can temporarily lower the insulin resistance, although they are very short to cause larger changes in the body fat.
Other potential positive benefit of the Cabbage Diet is that you aren’t forced to starvation. You can eat as much of the allowed food as you want every day. This diet also incorporates plenty of veggies and fruits that are low in calories and rich in fiber. Still despite all this, it can be hard to eat enough of these foods to be full because the choices are repetitive and very limited.
Another benefit is that Cabbage Diet is cheap to stick to. Unlike the other diets that require expensive books and supplements, this diet requires cheap ingredients for the soup and a couple of other foods.
Drawbacks of the Cabbage Diet
Even though Cabbage Diet offers a couple of benefits and may help you lose weight, the cons of this diet outweigh them. The main problem with this Cabbage Diet is that it can be followed for about a week, which isn’t long enough for losing significant weight.
The body can burn only a certain amount fat per week. During the first week of the diet, about 34% of your weight lost actually comes from the fat. The other parts come from losing muscle mass and water.
This water comes from the stores of glycogen, which are quick reserves of energy in the body. Usually, glycogen is binding to molecules of water when they are stored in your body.
When you don’t take enough calories, the body uses the glycogen and sheds the extra water. Other way you lose the water when you are low-calorie diet is through your kidneys. If you aren’t consuming enough calories, your kidneys excrete more water and salt in the urine.
But, once you return to a not so restrictive diet plan, the body will rebuild the stores and the water will return, even if you proceed consuming a healthy diet, after you finish the Cabbage Diet. Other problem with the diet is the deficiency of nutrients.
The Cabbage Soup plan offers so little choices and it lacks numerous minerals and vitamins and doesn’t have a real protein source. Being low in protein means that it will be more difficult harder to stop the muscle loss, which is very important for maintaining normal metabolism function.
The last negative site of the Cabbage Soup Plan is that it’s very bland, meaning it’s hard to stick to it the whole week. People are complaining that cabbage soup is unappetizing and tasteless. Having to consume the same thing every day is enough to make people cheat and even quit before they achieve the desired results.
Also, it requires cooking large batches to prepare enough amount of cabbage soup for the whole week. This is also a drawback for many people.
5 Side effects and Safety
Cabbage Soup Plan isn’t recommended for over one week because it is very nutritionally imbalanced and restrictive.
1. It’s Very Low in Calories
Even though Cabbage Soup Plan isn’t a starvation plan, the foods are extremely low in calories that it’s hard to reach a thousand calories a day. This is far below the minimum calories required to maintain the basic functions of your body and obtain enough nutrients. The minimum is usually 1,600 calories for men and 1,300 calories for women.
Extremely low calorie diets with less than 800 calories a day are recommended only for obese people under a supervision of a doctor.
2. It Doesn’t Provide Enough Nutritious Elements
The low-calorie diet plans used under the doctor’s supervision are usually designed with a nutritional adequacy. Still, the choices of food in the Cabbage Soup Plan are very unbalanced and limited. The diet doesn’t include protein for 5 out of 7 days and in most days it’s low in calories, carbs and fat. Also it lacks numerous minerals and vitamins.
There isn’t a serious risk of mineral and vitamin deficiency if you follow this diet for just a week, particularly if you take multivitamins. But it doesn’t make up for the lack of protein and calories. As a consequence, many people on this diet complain about weakness, dizziness and being light headed during this diet.
3. Cramping and Flatulence
Since the diet is high in fibers, people complain of cramping and flatulence as side effects. The effects can even become bothersome enough to make them quit the diet.
4. Gallbladder Problems
There were a couple of anecdotal reports of gallbladder blockages and gallstones in people who followed the Cabbage Soup Plan for a longer period of time. Gallstones can be a consequence of any type of rapid weight loss. It is normal for the gallbladder to release digestive juices in order to help break the gallstones down when you have high fat diet.
But if you don’t consume any fat, the gallbladder may not be emptied for longer periods, increasing the chances for formation of gallbladder stones. Gallstones are more common in people who follow a low-calorie or low-fat diet like the Cabbage Soup Plan.
5. Great Changes in the Levels of Blood Sugar
If you suffer from diabetes and you want to try the Cabbage Soup Plan, do it with caution. The low calorie and carb content can cause great changes in the levels of blood sugar.
But, for the majority of healthy people, Cabbage Soup Plant won’t have any harmful side effects as long as you use it for just a week, as it is intended.
Much like many other diets with little calorie contents, Cabbage Soup Plan will probably result in weight loss if you stick to for a week. But, this is just a short-term diet, and unless you proceed with other program, you lost weight will probably return.
In addition, Cabbage Soup Plan is nutritionally imbalanced and extreme. Also people find it hard to stick to and very unappealing. Even though the diet can help you quickly shed the extra pounds, you should probably try something else to achieve long-term weight loss as well as better health.