Last Updated December 20th, 2021
Cabbage Soup Diet: All you need to know
This diet originated in the 1980s and since then has only gained in popularity. Fans claim that this weight loss diet will help you lose up to 10 pounds in a day. However, many people suggest that a diet based solely on cabbage soup is unsustainable and its results wear off in a while. In addition, this crash diet does not you are your body the required nutrients, and so may not be very beneficial. Though revered by a few people, many still feel it is not sustainable in the long run.
The cabbage soup diet
The cabbage soup diet is a weight loss diet that helps you lose weight rapidly. Proponents of the cabbage soup diet claim that one can lose 10 pounds in 7 days on the diet. You are allowed to have only cabbage soup throughout the day and one or two other foods like skimmed milk, some fruits, etc.
This diet is designed to last for a period of 7 days. It is intended to be used for short-term weight loss. It can also be used in the starting phase of a long-term weight loss therapy. An instance where this is used is before surgery for patients suffering from heart disease.
Basic steps in the diet
This diet is based entirely on cabbage soup prepared in the comfort of your home. This means that you need cabbage soup to last you an entire week. You will need a lot of soup for this. The reason why this happens is because we are substituting 3-4 meals a day completely with cabbage soup. The ingredients used can vary.
Recipe for Cabbage Soup
- Green peppers (2)
- Cans of tomatoes (2)
- Mushrooms (1 pack)
- Large Onions (2)
- Celery (1 bunch)
- Cabbage (1 head)
- Carrots (3)
- Vegetable cocktail or water (6-8 cups), such as V8
- Bouillon cubes (1-2) (optional)
- Sauté onions in oil with a large stockpot.
- Chop and add in the vegetables that remain. You may use water or vegetable cocktail to cover them.
- If you want, you can now add seasoning or the bouillon cubes.
- Once the soup is brought to boil, reduce the heat.
- Simmer for about 30-45 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Salt, pepper, spices, or sauces may be added for seasoning. Add green beans or spinach, as they are non-starchy.
You must eat this everyday as much as it should take to fill your stomach. And you must continue this for a week to get the desired results.
Rules for the diet
In addition to the cabbage soup, you can include 2-3 other foods in the diet. Make sure these are low-fat foods. Do not substitute the cabbage soup itself with anything else. You can take beverages like water or unsweetened tea, but make sure you do not take anything else.
A multivitamin, if taken daily, should help overcome the deficiency of the nutrients.
The soup diet follows certain rules. You must take cabbage soup every day. In addition, there are other rules that you must follow:
- Day 1: You can eat fruits as well, but no banana.
- Day 2: You can eat green leafy vegetables on this day. Avoid corn, peas, and beans.
- Day 3: Only take fruits and vegetables. Avoid bananas and baked potatoes.
- Day 4: Consume unlimited bananas and skimmed milk.
- Day 5: Take 10-20 ounces of chicken. Also, take up to 6 fresh tomatoes and at least six glasses of water.
- Day 6: Take broiled fish and vegetables. Take more of leafy greens. Do not include potatoes that are baked.
- Day 7: Take brown rice, vegetables, and fruit juice. Ensure the fruit juice is natural with no sugar added to it.
The diet must last only a week. If you wish to follow this diet for longer, you must give yourself a break of at least two to three weeks.
Does the cabbage soup diet actually lead to weight loss?
There has been no comprehensive study to confirm that this diet actually leads to weight loss in the long term. The fact that it has very low calories means that it will lead to weight loss over a short period.
You can have unlimited soup when you follow this diet, but it is very calorie deficient. Even the other foods that you take when you follow the diet are low in carbs. This means that weight loss is inevitable when you follow this diet.
Generally, when calorie intake is reduced and considerable weight is lost in a very short period, your body also lowers its metabolic rate. This reduction in the metabolic rate means that there will be a weight loss plateau in the long term that is unavoidable. This is the case unless you take steps to boost your body’s metabolism.
When you have been on a calorie deficient diet for three days, the metabolic rate could drop. This explains why weight loss achieved early in the diet plan cannot be maintained in the long term.
In fact, if you are not vigilant, all the weight you have just lost will all be restored in due course of time.
However, diets that are very low in calories also have their benefits. Studies have shown that when people who are obese follow a low-calorie diet under a doctor’s care, they lose weight. They also show improvements in metabolism.
Even short-term diets that are very low in calories can reduce insulin resistance. These, however, are too short to produce considerable changes in the fat stored in the body.
You can eat as much of the prescribed foods as needed, so you will never feel hungry.
While other diets require that you do extensive reading or buy supplements, this diet needs few basic ingredients only.
The fruits and vegetables included in the diet are also low in carbohydrates but rich in fiber.
Drawbacks of the cabbage soup diet
This diet helps you lose weight, but its benefits are very few compared to its drawbacks. Only a bit of fat can be burnt in a week. In the first week, 34% of the weight loss happens from the burning of fat. The remaining two-thirds of the weight loss is because of lost muscle mass and water weight
The glycogen stores in your body have water molecules attached to them. The glycogen stored in this manner forms the energy reserves for the body. When there is a lack of calories, the body makes use of the stored glycogen for energy, and in the process loses water molecules present in the body.
However, this is only as long as your diet is restrictive. As soon as you return to a diet that is not restrictive in calories, the glycogen stores are replenished and the water weight that was lost is added on, leading to a weight gain. Its biggest problem probably is the deficiency of nutrients. A few health supplements can help with nutrient deficiency, but this makes it inconvenient.
The diet is also lacking minerals and vitamins and lacking in protein. Because it is lacking in protein, it is very difficult to maintain the muscles in the body. Cooking the cabbage soup in large quantities is quite an effort for many people and some may not be willing to do it.
It is bland and cannot be endured for more than a week.
Safety and side effects of the cabbage soup diet
Deficient in calories
The foods are calorie deficient so one cannot obtain 1,000 calories in a day. The diet does give freedom on the quantities of the foods that can be consumed during its course.
Diets that are calorie-deficient (less than 800 calories daily) are recommended for only obese people, and only when supervised by a doctor.
A healthy diet must have a minimum of 1,200 calories for women and 1,500 calories for women.
May cause nutritional deficiency
Calorie-deficient diets provide inadequate nutrients. The choices of foods in the cabbage soup diet are too little and quite unbalanced. The cabbage soup diet, like most of them, is very low in calories, carbs, and fats, and includes almost no proteins.
The diet only lasts a week, but it will lead to vitamin or mineral deficiencies. These can be compensated for by taking a multivitamin supplement along with the diet.
The lack of sufficient protein in the diet has caused many people who follow it to complain of weakness, lightheadedness, and dizziness. If you need more protein at any time, please be sure to include it in your diet.
Causes cramping and flatulence
The diet is quite fiber rich. Cramping and flatulence are two possible side effects of this. It can also cause bloating and gas. Though this can be resolved by exercising, a low-calorie diet such as the cabbage soup does not provide enough energy, and the person may not be able to exercise.
May alter glucose levels
Those who are diabetic are advised not to follow this diet. The low carbs and the low calories in the diet will interfere with the glucose levels.
May cause gall bladder issues
Gallstones have been reported in people who are obese and following this diet. This is because the amount of cholesterol is increased in your bile, which increases your risk of developing gallstones. However, gallstones and gall bladder blockages have also been reported in those who adhered to this particular diet or any other low-calorie, low-fat weight loss diet over a long period.
There is evidence that this happens by disrupting the bile chemistry. Your gall bladder breaks down fat-rich foods by releasing digestive juices. When you do not eat fat-rich foods for a long time, the digestive juices will accumulate in your gall bladder and lead to the formation of gallstones.
This diet is very rewarding in the short term. If you desire immediate weight loss and you have only a week’s time and exactly a week’s time, the cabbage soup diet may work for you.
However, it is not a very healthy weight loss plan that is useful in the long term. The choices of foods that you can eat are too few and too unbalanced. There are not enough proteins, vitamins, or minerals in the diet.
In addition, the lack of energy and lightheadedness that result from following the diet make it difficult to sustain it for even a week. This makes it difficult to whole-heartedly recommend the diet to someone who is looking for weight loss in the long run.
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