The Cabbage Soup Diet Review – It Works But

The Cabbage Soup Diet is similar in concept to the Master Cleanse Diet. Both of these fad diets work purely because you are consuming far too few calories to provide for your body’s nutritional requirements for an extended period. Both diets are also guaranteed to slow down your metabolism. As soon as you go back to eating normal food again, you typically regain all weight lost and then some more as result of your then much slower metabolism. It is a clear indication of the desperation out there that both of these very unhealthy diets appear to have passed the test of time and just keep on thriving.

The Cabbage Soup Diet is designed around heavy consumption of a low-calorie cabbage soup over a period of seven days. Its origins are unknown, but it has been around since at least the 1980’s. Different versions of this diet have been developed through the years. All of these diets can be easily recognized by the central feature: the dieter can eat as much of the cabbage soup as he or she wants. Other incarnations of this diet include: “Sacred Heart Diet”, “Military Cabbage Soup”, “General Motors Diet” / “GM Motors Diet”, “TJ Miracle Soup Diet”, and “Russian Peasant Diet”. All institutions referred to in the names of these diets have denied any links.

Most of the Cabbage Soup Diets promise that dieters can lose up to 10 pounds (4.5kg) per week! It is important to note that it is downright impossible to lose so much fat in one week. Any weight lost will include fat, but also water weight and lean muscle mass. Due to the very low calorie content of the diet, dieters are typically advised to limit the time they remain on this diet to one week at a time. It is generally recommended by most advocates of these weight loss plans that dieters wait a while (2-3 weeks) before commencing another week on this super-low-calorie diet, even if they do have more weight to lose.

When on the Cabbage Soup Diet, you will only drink water, black coffee and unsweetened fruit juice on days when fruit is allowed. The typical outline of the diet for a week is as follow:

  • Day 1 – Cabbage Soup accompanied by as many servings of fruit as you like, with the bananas the only fruit not allowed.
  • Day 2 – Cabbage Soup and vegetables (except for beans, peas, or corn). You may also have 1 jacket (baked) potato with some butter.
  • Day 3 – Cabbage Soup together with a mixture of above fruit and vegetables excluding potatoes and bananas.
  • Day 4 – Cabbage Soup, up to eight bananas and as much skimmed milk as you want (some versions limit the glasses of milk to 2).
  • Day 5 – Cabbage Soup plus up to 20 ounces (+-500g) of beef and up to six tomatoes. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water.
  • Day 6 – Cabbage Soup with as much beef and vegetables (no potatoes) as you like.
  • Day 7 – Cabbage Soup, 2 cups brown rice, vegetables (again no potatoes) and unsweetened fruit juice.

Serious concerns have been raised about the nutritional quality of this diet. The soup as prescribed by most of these diets is typically very high in sodium in an attempt to make the soup more palatable. The weight loss plan really provides practically zero protein for several days at a time, which means your body is forced to feed upon itself, breaking down both muscle and tissue in the process. The diet is also very low is essential fatty acids that is responsible for functions such as keeping all the cells in the body healthy, brain performance, and mood management. Newer, healthier versions of the Cabbage Soup Diet sometimes take the fact of missing protein into account and add protein in the form of dairy and protein shakes to the diet plan while decreasing sodium.

The recipe for the cabbage soup varies slightly among different versions of the diet. The basic recipe at the heart of most of these diets is based on cabbage and assorted low-calorie vegetables such as onions and tomatoes, and is normally flavored with onion soup mix, bouillon, and tomato juice. What follows is a typical recipe.

Cabbage Soup Recipe
1/2 head green cabbage, diced
1 celery stick diced
3 carrots, sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced
6 large green onions
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 bouillon cubes, either chicken or beef
2 cans of tomatoes, diced or whole
Salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder, soy sauce to taste (or any other seasoning you like)

Chop all the vegetables into bite size pieces. Place all ingredients in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring water to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Estimated simmer time: 15 minutes. Some recipes suggest that all the vegetables except for the tomato and cabbage be sauteed to tender before the rest of the ingredients and the water is added to cook. Doing so may make the soup taste better. You can use cooking spray or a little bit of olive oil.

Note: you may encounter some gastrointestinal discomfort from the highly sulfurous cabbage and fiber-rich vegetables.

As is often the case with many of these types of fad diets, the internet abounds with claims of a substantial increase in libido levels, increased energy levels and even the production of pheromones to attract the opposite sex. Whilst such claims are made for most of the Cabbage Soup diets, more of these claims appear to be linked to the Sacred Heart Diet variant than any other. The more sinister side effects are obviously seldom mentioned.

Just to summarize: the Cabbage Soup Diet is essentially a modified fast, containing so few calories that dieters will lose weight rapidly during the week long regimen. There is nothing special or magical about cabbage or cabbage soup that fosters weight loss. It’s the low-calorie nature of the diet plan results in the lower numbers on the scales. When you consider the monotony of eating virtually the same foods every day for a week, dieters may end up eating even less that the already dangerously low (approximately 800-1,050) calories per day.

Many people get so desperate to lose weight that they convince themselves something like the Cabbage Soup Diet can provide them with the so-called “kick start”, never realizing the damage they do to their general health, their metabolism, and their self esteem in the long run. The Cabbage Soup Diet provides no recommendations on how to move on to a healthier lifestyle for permanent weight loss. All it does is set you up for failure yet again, and make it even more difficult for you to achieve your optimal body weight.

The bottom line? Keep looking for a weight loss plan that can help you replace bad habits with healthy eating and exercise habits so you can achieve your optimal body weight and keep the weight off!

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30 Responses to “The Cabbage Soup Diet Review – It Works But”


  • I have never dieted in my life and was never a believer of dieting. Seeing that I have put on way too many pounds recently and not very interested in being a gym freak, I have decided to try the cabbage soup diet. It’s my fourth day already!! The first 2 days were a struggle. I felt very weak and moody. But then it just turned around- I now am consuming a quarter of my normal calories and yet I have double the energy to do things. I am very active and motivated. Thanks to the reviews from everyone on this website, I have stuck to the diet. And guess what- I just checked my weight and lost 6 pounds!! I am definitely seeing the diet through to the end. I am not sure if I will put this weight back on but iknow for sure that I now believe in healthy eating.

  • hi i started cabbage diet soup plan today morning, i had papaya as a break fast and half cup unsweetened cofee,so i want to drink soup for lunch and dinner along with fruit salad(only for dinner) this is right way or not anyone suggest me please i will post tommorow abot today experience

  • I’m gonna try cabbage soup next week I hope it works out and I had question
    Do we have to eat beef Bcz I only eat chicken not beef??? Is it okay if I eat chicken beside beef ???
    Please let me know if It’s okay…

  • I have struggled with my weight since I turned 18 and havent finished any diets or training programs. Two weeks back I tried this diet and lost 6.8kgs in 8 days!!! I followed the diet exactly to the above, unfortunately I was super moody at times and was going to stop until I weighed myself and noticed about 4kgs lost in 4 days! It has helped me get ideas on how to eat healthier and since I have lost another 1kg, but I think the slow down in weight loss was due to me eating a few carbs to gain energy for lifting weights. My weight was 97.8kgs and now 90.5kgs! Do it and stick to it for results! Im happy and so is my girlfirend

  • I did my own version of the Cabbage Soup Diet 2 years ago, and I lost 22 pounds in roughly 40 days (give or take a few days). HOWEVER…I cannot go without protein because of my blood sugar and health, I have to eat a low sodium diet because of my heart, and I am allergic to milk and butter. SO, here’s what I did….
    1) I had very lean protein every day, once or twice a day, never after 6 pm at night. Very moderate portions, cooked properly.
    2) I had very small portions of rice milk instead of skim. I did NOT do the milk and bananas then starve yourself part of this diet. I restructured it so that I had protein every day, and made sure my food combining was proper when it came to fruit and meat for instance.
    3)I DID gorge myself on healthy STEAMED portions of veggies. I never went hungry or skipped any meals or snacktimes. I steamed everything veggie so that my tummy could digest it more efficiently!
    4)I made sure to drink 8-11 glasses of water a day
    5)I walked twice a day, every day, half an hour to an hour each time
    6)I bought smaller, beautiful clothes, and hung them up on the closet door and looked at them every day with a positive attitude (ie these are my clothes, I wear them, they fit me well)
    7)I went to the health food store and created my soup base with low sodium bouillon cubes. I held off on lots of celery, instead substituting any low calorie green veggies, and Chinese veggies. I got all my veggies fresh (picked that day) from an organic farm at the farmer’s market. I made the soup in bulk in a large crockpot. I portioned everything I was eating out ahead of time and stored it in the fridge. I never ate whilst watching TV. I sat with my food and enjoyed it/focused on it.
    8)Because of my blood sugar and how I know my body, I had organic oatmeal and blueberries (with nothing else) 3 mornings a week for breakfast. The other days, I had two plain scrambled eggs with a few drops of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil in the pan, and added tumeric and cayenne (fat burning spices).
    7) I never gorged on fruit, but I ate it moderately, and sprinkled it with cinnamon(fat burning spice).

    There you have it. My doctor was very happy, said I was very healthy, and I looked amazing in my bathing suit after losing 22 pounds in a month and a half!I kept off all the weight until a bad break-up, after which I started eating dairy and sugar for a while (cow’s milk and sugar will actually make you fatter go figure). As soon as I stopped that bad habit, the weight fell off again in 2 weeks=10 pounds. I eat moderate portions throughout the day to make sure I never feel hungry. I don’t eat processed complex sugar and dairy rich foods (pasta dishes, fast food, frozen meals, bread) and I don’t eat late at night. I exercise at night mostly. When I PMS, I indulge in dark chocolate pieces shaved onto non dairy desserts that are naturally sweetened, or I have a few healthy snacks from the health food store that don’t contain white sugar or cow’s milk. I’ve kept the weight down since I made these changes. Highly recommend a mostly veggie diet as well, very helpful.

  • i am starting the cabbage soup diet tomorrow morning, i am so scared it wont work. i have tried everything in the past and always fail because of little to none will power so ill keep you all posted!

  • I started this yesterday… i felt weak to begin with but i was very tired by the end of the day. it didn’t help that my roommates were watching the food network all night!

  • I LOVE THE CABBAGE SOUP DIET… I first tried this diet several yrs ago…I made the soup exactly right (it’s good also) I have to admit I didn’t follow the other part of the plan exactly, close enough though. About 2/3 days into it I felt very weak, spent most of the day laying on the couch. The next day I felt fine. Considering the fact I felt it working, I decided to continue it. I have to say I stuck to it longer than a week, because all the foods you were eating were good for you(I mixed it up with other healthy foods after the first week) plus you can eat all the soup you want. In a month I had lost 20 lbs. I felt so good, had energy & loved all the compliments of how great I looked.
    So now if I find myself getting off track, I go back on it..always so glad I did..STICK TO IT you will thank yourself at the end of the week. One thing I made sure I did was start this diet a day or two before I had my days off from work, so the day I felt weak I could take it easy, beacause the next day YOU WILL FEEL BETTER so hang in there!!! Infact I am getting ready to make some more :)

  • I want to do this diet with exercise (I don’t eat dinner … I haven’t for the past 2 years :) ) so if I finish the diet will I gain ALL of the weight back? I don’t wat junk I exercise and drink water daily oh and no soda or alchol (I’m 13 BTW) I weight 123 at 5″5 :) thanks I want to be 110 (modeling <3)

  • Alright, today i’m going to start my first day. So i’ll give you updates after seven days, hopefully i’ll stay positive n motivated after seven days.

  • I heard about cabbage diet plan, since long i’m fluctuating between 66 n 69kg. Now i’m 68kg, 5’3.5 height, having one baby 3years old. I want to go on 57 n want to reduce like 11kgs, almost 24lbs. When i gone through article i became a bit down, but then when i read the comments of people who actually experience it then i raised a bit high. Bec if 9 people out of 10 give response in positive that means the diet is worth doing.

    I’m going to start my diet day after tommorrow on 24rth of July for next seven days. I only want to ask the qtn from those who lost their lbs during this diet, if they realy lost fat areas, did they notice change in their statistics or only on weighing machine.
    I’m doing 30mints intense workout n will continue with this diet n will add few protien shakes on daily basis so that my muscle does not loose.
    Kindly reply me soon. Looking forward to hear from you soon.

  • after finishing this diet wouldn’t you gain the kilos back on because your eating foods and consuming more calories after the diet so you would put on the weight, also you would most likely pig out on food because you haven’t had it in a while and you would miss it. this diet isn’t good because after the diet you would gain the weight back on and even gain extra kilos with it.

  • I completed the seven day Cabbage Soup Diet two days ago! I lost 9.2 pounds on the program. I thought that I would gain it right back but sense stopping I have lost an additional 1.5 pounds. Its really important to ease your body back into a normal diet after you do the cleanse. The first day I consumed about 800 calories and burned about 400, the next day I consumed 800 calories and didn’t work out, therefore burning nothing. Today I’m going to eat 1200 calories and work out just a little bit. By the end of the week I’ll be at the normal calorie intake for my weight and height. If you go right back to eating 2000 calories a day the weight will come right back. THIS WORKS!!!! JUST MAKE GOOD DECISIONS FOR THE WEEK AFTER YOU’RE DONE!

  • Its my first day on the cabbage soup diet, and i feel very weak!
    hopefully this is normal…
    my goal is 15pounds in 7 days!!

  • Starting the diet today. Have done it in the past and it works. The only reason why you’d gain weight back is because you’re still eating bad foods without excersising which isn’t a good combo for ANYONE. I plan on keeping up the weight loss by watching what I eat and excersising. I’m using this as a ‘jump start’ to a better me. I will post up my results Thurs morning 6/2.

  • im on day one:)) im getting married in 111 days and this is the start to a healthy regime!

  • I have now made it to day 7 I feel great.
    The evening on the first day were the most difficult for me and my partner. After that was out of the way it was much easier and with the help of some garlic + fresh chillis, I began to look forward to the soup!

    Wish you all the best of luck should you attempt it. I believe that it has helped me and re-foccused my attitude towards food.

    Good luck!

  • Day 1:
    Cabbage, Cabbage, Cabbage.
    Hope to loose 10lbs. Sticking with this based on the reviews.

  • Im on day 2 of the diet and im finding it hard to be honest, had very bad wind yesterday which wasnt pleasant but seems ok today! Today is harder than yesterday for me
    – probably down to the fact i dont like vegetables so just soup for me today until my jacket potato tonight! i cannot wait!!!

    i am going to stick it out as i got on the scales today and have already lost 2.5lb! roll on day 5 when i can have some meat!

    will keep you updated.

  • I’m now on my 5th day and I love it. The soup is delicious and with a few different spice you can really mix it up, today I had baked chicken breast in my soup and it gave me a real pick-me-up.

    I think some important advice is:

    1. Eat multivitamins, you probably will get most the vitamins on this diet but when restricting your food, always have supplements.
    2. Don’t exercise while on the diet. With the lack of carbs and protein you’ll struggle to have any energy, and going to the gym will feel like torture to your body. This is a week of chill out, and detox, once your week is over you should return to eating healthy food and then you can go to the gym.
    3. Be generous with eating the food, this is all low calorie, not a starvation diet, you are allowed to have as many bowls of soup, vegetables and fruit that you can eat depending on the day, fill yourself up so you don’t get hungry. One portion of Cabbage soup is between 21 – 73 calories!! Ideally you should aim for 900 calories a day, but it’s a person choice if you want to go lower.

    I’m not a health expert, this advice is partly my own experience and mostly resource I did online.

  • You’re eating nothing but nutrients. You are not starving yourself. You can eat as much of each day
    as you want. 4 days without protein will not hurt anyone. Day 4 you are drinking skim milk. I made
    vegatable stir fry with a table spoon of Olive oil and little bit of soy sauce for taste. I
    replaced low sodium chicken broth for one batch and then low sodium beef broth for the other batch and
    left out the high sodium boullion cubes. If you don’t like vegies, you will struggle. I went on this
    with my wife and I must say that I have lots of energy. Lots of water, and lots of nutrients from all the
    vegetables and fruits. I also take a good multi vitamin. I’ve shed approx. 8 pounds in a week. We
    have always eaten on the healthy side but now I will do it with a little more moderation. I wouldn’t
    do this diet for more than a week but, I would do it again, perhaps once or twice a year.

    You’re body will eat upon itself? Sure if you completely starve yourself. This is not a starvation
    diet. You can stuff yourself, you just have to enjoy fruits and vegetables and use common sense.

  • I have been on this diet now for 5 days im ill i feel lifeless i have diaoreah now i started day 1 eating loads of fruit and drinking water i loved the soup.. i enjoyed my 1st day felt hungry but it was fun…. day 2 i hardly ate anything had one bowl of the soup and the veg got boring felt dizzy and sick…. day 3 hated this day i forced the bowl of soup down me was nearly sick eating it making me go off the mushrooms and peppers in the soup i couldnt eat the veg on this day drank lots of water….day 4 im allowed upto 8 bananas and as much semi skimmed milk as i want i had 4 bananas and 3 pints of milk i didnt have the soup on this day i couldnt stomach it the thought of eating it made me want to throw up…day 5 had 2 pints of water upto now got to drink 6 more pints of water got to try and have the soup today and then am allowed 20 ounces of beef and 6 fresh tomatoes dont know if i can eat anything i feel ill i have bad stomach…i had cravings the first few days but now i dont want to eat anything at all im begining to hate food …also i have only lost half a pound upto now which i cant understand and i have been exercising while being on this diet …..

  • I have completed this diet back in March 2010 when i was 94 kilos. I did this for 1 week & managed to lose 7 kilos.

    This diet was a kick start to better eating and 7 months later i now weigh 30 kilos lighter.

    You must stick to this diet & NOT cheat!
    Keep your goal in your head & its only for 1 week.

  • Well my big mason jar pot is boiling right now.. I have trippled or maybe even more then that so i have enough . As it has been two months since i quiting smoking for dont know the sixth time and my appetite is a bottomless pit.. I have already lost just over 20lbs this year working out and following weight watchers but not to a tee. I have about 20lbs more i would like to loose.. So I guess jogging while on this diet isnt reccomended? Is there any mommies out there that are having a hard time loosing the lower stomach? Or is there anyone that knows what exercises work best fo rthe lower stomach.. Look forward to dropping the weight.. i started this year at 158.5 and i am 5’4 now at 136lbs would like to be 116 -125lbs so heres hoping .. Thanks for this blog.. Good luck to everyone…(:

  • My wife and I have been on this Cabbage soup diet now for one week. I find that the diet is the best weight loss program I have ever tried. The soup is wonderfull and being able to consume as much as I want makes great. My wife has lost 8 pounds in the week and 7 myself. I recomend this diet to everyone who is in need a shedding a few pounds. Also it does state not to take in any alcohol beverages. I did and the diet still worked. So do not let the though of no drinking stop you from trying this. It also states that if you lose more then 15 pounds in first week to take a break from it, but if less then 15 pounds you can stay on it for another week.

  • thanks for the comments, i do look f/w to starting this diet tomorrow. As for the lack of protein mentioned here, i plan to add protein powder to shakes, hopefully this will help, but i also agree that 3 or 4 days w/o protein shouldn’t cause too much damage.

  • I have done the cabbage soup diet maybe once a year in the past. It is excellent and I feel healthy always when I am on it. Currently I am finishing day two and can’t wait to loose those few pounds that keep creeping up around my waist. The idea that you can stuff yourself silly and still loose weight is a bit of a mystery….but hey it really really does work. Sometimes I don’t really see the pounds off till 5th day and beyond, but then, wow!
    Would I recommend this to anyone? ABSOLUTELY!!!! You have absolutely nothing to lose or maybe you do! I would do this for 1 week and have a day or two off and restart the whole thing again. I can’t understand why anyone would be the least bit against this amazing diet….a wonderful jumpstart every one in a while.

  • You mention in page too that your body is forced to feed upon itself breaking down both muscle and tissue in the process – can you explain this process specifically because I’m on the third day of this day and I feel wonderful. I don’t feel anything negative happening to my body. And people have been cleansing for years so I’d like to know more about this “breaking down of both muscle and tissue.”

    Also on pg 3 you state again the damage they do their general health but what damage does 3 days without protein actually do? and how does it effect metabolism becasue I feel that metabolically I’m running more smoothly in these 3 days than I do on eating protein, carbs and veggies. Thanks for your input if you answer this.

  • I tried this diet and it works for weight loss. I lost 6 lbs in one week which is all I needed.
    To maintain the weight loss here is what I continued to do:
    1- Cook the cabbage soup with different spices to keep it interesting.
    2- Eat one servings a day from it to substitute a meal. (Mainly Lunch)
    3- I eat everything else ( remaining meals during the day) in a smaller portions that usual.
    4- Drink more water during the day.
    5- I am a big fan in eating sweets, so I cut down more than half of what I used to eat.
    6- Exercise about 3-4 hrs a week.

    The weight has been off for 6 months now and I am enjoying life. I hope what I am doing can be helpful to you.

  • I hear what you are saying, but surely a diet that has been around for so long must have something going for it. And it does work for weight loss. You mention this in the article. Is it really so terrible to try to kick start your weight loss? I am desperate, and I have a wedding to go to. Sure when you look at it from a health perspective only – it makes sense. BUT – my ex is also going to that wedding in three weeks time and I think there is something to say for looking your best in a situation like that! Thanks for the recipe, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Once I have lost about 20 pounds, I’ll switch to a healthier diet, but for now – I’ll give the Cabbage Soup Diet a go.

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