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For those looking to lose weight, there's never been a better time to start. Health specialists, dietitians and nutrition experts have amassed a great deal of knowledge on the topic of weight loss and, as a result, there's a whole lot of diet and weight loss plans to choose from.
The downside? There are almost too many options – and finding the right diet can become an overwhelming task.
In this article we will be learning all about The Cabbage Soup Diet - a crash diet plan that can apparently help you lose 10 pounds or more in just 7 days.
What Is The Cabbage Soup Diet?
The Cabbage Soup Diet is a strict seven-day eating plan, during which your main meals are fat-free cabbage soups.
The soup is consumed two to three times a day. In addition to the soup, there are also "allowed foods" which you can “treat yourself” to.
The diet isn’t only said to help you effectively lose weight, it is also said to be one of the most affordable diets to follow (mainly because cabbage soup is cheap to make, and the diet plan doesn't allow you to eat much food in general).
Like most crash diets, it does have some downsides. Followers of the cabbage soup diet plan will require large amounts of willpower and determination - you'll very likely find yourself feeling hungry and fatigued, due to your low caloric intake.
Furthermore, this is very much a short-term diet; it should not be sustained over a long-term period, as it doesn't provide your body with the nutrients required to stay healthy.
How Does The Cabbage Soup Diet Work?
Following the diet is incredibly simple – you make cabbage soup and eat as much of it as you want!
The main reason it is so effective is because the soup is very low in fat and calories, and high in fiber. The main principle behind the diet is that by removing the majority of starch, fats and unhealthy sugars from your diet for a week, your body will start to burn your fat reserves for energy.
Cabbage soup has specifically been chosen because your body allegedly ends up burning more calories digesting it than the cabbage soup itself contains. As counterintuitive as it sounds, the more soup you eat, the more weight you can apparently lose.
The Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe
The main ingredients that tend to appear in low-calorie cabbage soup recipes are cabbage, green peppers, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and bouillon.
Below we have specified how to make the low-fat cabbage soup that's required by the diet:
- 2 cans of tomatoes
- 2 green bell peppers
- 2 large onions
- 5 carrots
- 10 stalks of celery
- 1 large head of cabbage
- 1–2 bouillon/ stock cubes
- 6–8 cups water
- Chop all your vegetables into small cubes.
- Add a small amount of olive oil to a large stock pot, and sauté the onions.
- Add the remaining vegetables and cover with enough water. Add 1-2 bouillon/ stock cubes.
- Bring the soup to a boil - then reduce to medium heat. Let it simmer for about 30–45 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
To avoid your soup tasting bland, season it with salt, pepper, herbs, spices – or even hot sauce. You can also add other non-starchy vegetables to the mix, such as green beans or spinach.
To many people’s surprise, The Cabbage Soup Diet doesn’t only limit you to cabbage soup for seven days. The diet allows you to snack on different approved foods each day.
Below is what you can eat on each of the seven days, in addition to homemade cabbage soup:
- Day 1: Fruit (ideally, low in sugar– apples, blueberries, raspberries, watermelon, etc.), except bananas;
- Day 2: Cooked or raw vegetables, particularly leafy greens (kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, arugula, iceberg lettuce, etc.). No starchy vegetables (such as corn or potatoes);
- Day 3: Fruits and vegetables (no bananas, and no starchy veg);
- Day 4: Bananas, skimmed milk and low-fat yoghurt;
- Day 5: Only tomatoes with protein like fish, turkey, chicken;
- Day 6: Protein and vegetables (no starchy vegetables);
- Day 7: Brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices, and vegetables (no bananas or starchy veg);
Other Rules To Follow:
To make the most of the weight loss plan, make sure you stick to the allowed foods, rather than substituting them.
Also, it is important to drink only water or other calorie-free beverages (unsweetened tea or black, unsweetened coffee).
The Pros and Cons of the Cabbage Soup Diet
The main advantage is that it's a highly effective crash diet. It drastically limits your calorie intake and, if you stick to the rules, you will most likely be able to see quick weight loss. The Cabbage Soup Diet is also the perfect way to flush out toxins from your body.
Even if it most likely makes you lose weight, the pounds you shed are likely to come back when you stop the diet – unless you then continue with another, more moderate weight loss or weight maintenance plan.
Another issue is that VLCD plans like The Cabbage Soup Diet tend to make your metabolism slower, meaning that you may actually burn fewer calories per day (though this isn't the biggest issue because your daily caloric intake will be so low you'll lose weight regardless). 
Consuming Nothing But Cabbage Soup Isn't Exactly Healthy - Consider Speaking To Your Doctor Before You Start
Due to the nature of this diet, those who intend on following it should bare in mind that there are also some potential health issues to consider.
Firstly, if you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition you should not consider this diet; the plan lacks complex carbs, vitamins, minerals and protein, which could potentially make those with illness and/or disease worse.
In addition to this, medical professionals do not recommend following this sort of VLCD for longer than a week. As you will be limiting your calorie intake drastically for a week, you could start feeling light-headed and dizzy. You're also very likely to experience extreme fatigue, muscle cramps (due to a lack of salts and potassium), headaches and dehydration.
Another minor side effect would be the vast amount of cabbage consumed each day causing digestive flatulence.
The Cabbage Soup Diet is an ideal weight loss option if you need to slim down for a special occasion, or just want to lose weight fast for another reason. In 7 days you can lose 10 pounds or more, which is perfect for when you don’t have much time and want to see quick, positive results.
The diet is also incredibly simple to follow, as well as affordable, making it an easy choice for those looking to shed pounds fast without spending a fortune.
However, as the soup lacks essential carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, it is unsuitable for the long-term as the food you’re allowed to consume won’t provide enough vitamins and minerals needed for your body to stay healthy and function well.
It is also highly likely that the pounds you manage to lose will come back once you stop the diet (unless you then continue your weight loss journey with a more sustainable long-term diet plan).
It is also important to note that the cabbage soup diet can make you feel light-headed and dizzy due to drastically limiting the number of calories you consume, which can impact other areas of your life.