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The Cabbage Soup Diet

There is no single Cabbage Soup diet, but multiple versions which have been circulating for years. It's a strict, very low calorie diet for quick weight loss and it's not a healthy way to lose weight.

It promises a 4.5 kg (10-pound) weight loss in 1 week. After that you are advised to come off the plan.

What you can eat

The 7 day Cabbage Soup Diet plan promises all you can eat - as long as you stick to the small list of foods permitted on alternate days, along with two daily bowls of fat-free cabbage soup. Other specific foods that must be eaten include fruit, vegetables, skimmed milk and meat. Dieters are also advised to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol.

Here's a sample Cabbage Soup Diet plan:

Day 1: Cabbage soup and all the fruit you want except bananas. Drink unsweetened tea, black coffee, cranberry juice, or water.

Day 2: Cabbage soup, all the low-calorie vegetables you want (except beans, peas or corn) and a baked potato with butter.

Day 3: Cabbage soup and a mixture of the above fruit and vegetables.

Day 4: Cabbage soup, up to eight bananas and two glasses of skimmed milk.

Day 5: Cabbage soup, a little over half a kilogram (20 ounces) of beef, chicken or fish, up to six fresh tomatoes and at least six to eight glasses of water.

Day 6: Cabbage soup, up to three beef steaks and unlimited vegetables.

Day 7: Cabbage soup, up to two cups of brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices and unlimited vegetables.

Cabbage soup recipe

The recipe for the cabbage soup varies slightly among different versions of the diet. However, it generally includes cabbage and assorted low-calorie vegetables such as onions and tomatoes, and is flavoured with onion soup mix, bouillon and tomato juice.

Here's a typical recipe for the soup:

  • One packet dry onion soup mix
  • Two stock cubes, either chicken or beef
  • One celery stick (not the whole stalk), diced
  • One/two head(s) green cabbage, diced
  • Three carrots, sliced
  • Two peppers, sliced
  • Six large spring onions, or one large yellow, white or red onion, diced
  • Two tins of tomatoes, diced or whole
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder, soy sauce to taste, or any other seasoning you like

Spray a large pot with cooking oil spray and sauté all vegetables except cabbage and tomatoes until tender. Add cabbage and about 2.9 litres of water. Toss in stock cubes, soup mix and seasonings. Cook until soup reaches desired tenderness. Add tomatoes.

How it works

The Cabbage Soup Diet is essentially a modified fast and contains so few calories dieters will lose weight rapidly. The diet makes no scientific claims about how it works and there is nothing magical about cabbage or cabbage soup that leads to weight loss. It is the low-calorie nature of the diet plan that does the trick.

While several versions of this diet exist common to all is the idea that if you eat lots of cabbage soup when you're hungry, it will keep you satisfied enough to manage the plan for a week.

WebMD Medical Reference

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