How Does Cabbage Soup Diet Help Weight Loss?

How Does Cabbage Soup Diet Help Weight Loss?

Are you looking for the perfect weight loss diet but don’t know which one to choose? Is cabbage one of those veggies you don’t mind adding to your weight loss process? If yes, you will love the cabbage soup diet we bring you in this article.

According to the proponents, the cabbage soup diet can help you lose almost 10 pounds in seven days. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to lose weight, this is exactly what your body needed.

What is the cabbage soup diet?

The cabbage soup diet is also known as the Sacred Heart Hospital Diet that was developed in this hospital to help people quickly lose weight. People suffering from heart problems and undergoing surgery needed to lose some weight before going through the process.

Many hospitals have denied the claim of putting patients through this diet because it might not be the best option for sick people. This is why there are many speculations related to how this diet actually came about. It sure did gain popularity during the 80s and people haven’t stopped trying it ever since.

How does it work?

The diet is just a seven-day investment of your time and effort to cook a homemade cabbage soup. Each day, you are allowed to have 1-2 other food items like skim milk, veggies or fruits apart from having the soup.

The diet cannot last for more than seven days as it is a drastic way to lose weight but will not suit a long-term goal. If you need to lose a few pounds to attend an important event, the cabbage soup diet can replace your regular diet and help you achieve temporary body goals.

What can you eat?

You need to know the cabbage soup diet shopping list so that you can get all the ingredients you need to prepare it. This diet involves a fat-free soup that you need to have 2-3 times a day along with other food you’re allowed to have. Find out what you are allowed to add:

  • Day 1: a few fruits other than banana
  • Day 2: leafy green that doesn’t have starch – no fruit
  • Day 3: both fruits and vegetables
  • Day 4: skim milk and banana
  • Day 5: Beef or chicken (baked and without skin) with tomatoes
  • Day 6: vegetables and beef
  • Day 7: brown rice, vegetables, and unsweetened fruit juices

The recipe of the cabbage soup can differ from a day to day basis. The ingredients you add to them can be options like green pepper, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and bouillon.

Quick facts about cabbage soup diet

  • Effort: Amount of effort needed to follow the diet is medium. It is not harsh on your body.
  • Limitation: the cabbage soup diet recipe ingredients are limited and might seem boring. You can try the cabbage soup diet for 2 weeks but not more.
  • Shopping: get a soup pot to make the soup really well. You need to buy fresh veggies to make it. Fortunately, you will have a small shopping list for a week.
  • Packaged food: no, you can’t have any of those during these seven days
  • Exercise: you shouldn’t exercise while following this diet. Since this is a low-calorie diet, your body will not have enough energy to exercise.
  • Restrictions: You cannot do much to tweak this diet because it is just so rigid. It is low in fat as you mostly eat vegetables. But then again, it isn’t a vegetarian diet as you can have meat.
  • Cost: you only need to spend money on ingredients. There are some websites that promote supplements of nutrients you will miss from your food. But it is smart to stick to the original cabbage soup diet.

Does the cabbage soup diet work?

Yes, the diet does help you lose weight for the short run. You will eat less than 1,000 calories per day and have a limited menu. When you have such little calorie intake all through the day, you are bound to lose weight within no time. You will also lose water weight. However, you might gain it back if you return to your normal diet.

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Many health experts don’t recommend people to have a low-calorie diet unless they are under doctor’s supervision. It is smarter to invest in a diet that helps you lose 1-2 pounds every week, with a balanced diet, instead of going into an extreme diet.

Who cannot follow a cabbage soup diet?

People suffering from medical conditions cannot get into a drastic diet. For example, if you are diabetic, you cannot try this diet as it will create havoc in your body. You cannot add salt to your soup to make it tasty and that will make it boring for you too.

Not just diabetic people but people with other health issues might not be allowed this diet too. People who have heart problems, cholesterol, or high blood pressure will not find a lasting solution with this diet. You must ask a doctor before you take up this seven-day challenge.

Pros and Cons

There are many reasons why the cons of this diet outweigh the pros. You need to be sure of what you’re getting into because it concerns your health:


The proponents of cabbage soup diet claim that you can lose a maximum of 10 pounds in a week, but there are no evidence that support this. You might find social media influencers tell you about their journey and you might believe and follow them. But you must be sure about.

It is true this diet is easy to follow, has simple rules, and less complicated compared to things like keto or paleo. It cuts down the guesswork of dieting for a week and puts you in a clear soup diet.

You can have unlimited amounts of cabbage soup and you will only put your body through a week of stress. After seven days the cabbage soup diet results will definitely show, but how long you can maintain it is tricky to answer.


Although the diet will help you lose weight, they have plenty of drawbacks you need to consider. The main problem with diet is that you can only follow it for one week. Some do it for two weeks, but we don’t recommend that risk.

Your body can burn only that much fat per week and allowing more than that will hurt you. On the first week, you lose around 34% of actual fat. The rest of it is from water weight.

Our body has water weight due to the glycogen stores and also the energy reserves. The glycogen is bound to the water molecules of our body.

When we don’t consume many calories, the body uses up the stored glycogen level in the form of energy and helps you lose extra water. However, when you return to a normal or less restrictive diet the body rebuilds emergency stores and add water weight. Even if you have a healthy diet, you are bound to gain weight.

One more problem with the diet is that it doesn’t have nutrients. Every day, you have to consume food that has low vitamins and minerals. You have a tiny source of protein for 2-3 days only.

When you don’t have enough protein, you cannot prevent muscle loss during the seven-day period. The diet is also bland and makes it hard to endure. Finally, you need to do large batches of cooking to prepare enough cabbage soup for the day.

How to prepare cabbage soup?

It sure is obvious that cabbage soup is the most vital part of this diet. You will find many recipes for this diet online, but you must have a basic idea from us. Below, we give you easy ideas to make the soup and you can mix and match the ingredients to suit your taste:

  • Shred: You need to shred a fresh cabbage. You can shred a whole piece at once and use them until you can make plenty of soups from it.
  • Add colors: switch things up by using red cabbage as it has more antioxidants and gives you variety.
  • Vegetables: add veggies like squash, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, to change the basic texture of the soup.
  • Add spices: it is okay to make your soup spicy by adding Tabasco, Sriracha, chili powder or cayenne pepper.
  • Go Italian: you can buy a pack of Italian seasoning mix, oregano, basil, and top it over the soup
  • Use a mix: you can add some onions to make it a mix of both onion and cabbage soup.
  • Make a curry: if you want an Indian flair, you can add cumin, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and other flavored spices to make a curry instead of soup.
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What are the USDA Recommendations?

Once you successfully go through the seven-day cabbage soup diet, you will need a new direction. You cannot continue it any longer and you also wouldn’t want to add back the weight you lost. Find out what USDA recommends all of us to eat in a day to get the next cues of your balanced diet plan.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, you need to add the following to your diet to ensure it’s a healthy one:

  • You need to add dark leafy greens like broccoli, spinach, green beans, Swiss chard under your veggies list
  • Apples, melon, and berries are the best weight loss fruits
  • You must have grains like quinoa, oats, and brown rice
  • You need lean meat like chicken breast, turkey breast, and fish
  • Beans and legumes are a must
  • Seeds like sunflower and nuts like almonds and walnuts are essential
  • Drink low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Use avocado and olive oil

Even when the cabbage soup diet is loaded with vegetables, it doesn’t fit into this guideline. It is quite restrictive and doesn’t provide many forms of nutrients. This form of a diet is not healthy.

According to the USDA, an adult body needs to consume an average of 1,500 calories every day. The calorie count varies according to age, weight, sex, and activity level.

More types of weight loss diet

After going through the cabbage soup diet reviews if you think you’d rather go for another form of weight loss diet, check these out:

1. M-Plan

M stands for mushroom in this diet and you need to replace one meal per day for two weeks with a low-fat mushroom-based diet. You don’t need to limit calories or other food groups. But when you swap out a meal for mushrooms, you reduce overall calorie intake.

2. 3-day military diet

You need to have a strict yet healthy diet, that limits daily calorie intake to 1,500 and follow it for three days. On the fourth day you can have everything you want, and again repeat the same diet for the next three days.

3. Sacred Heart Hospital Diet

The diet is not restricted to cabbage even if it was how it probably originated. You can replace any other vegetable and make a soup of that instead of cabbage. This retains what we know as the hospital diet and also helps you lose weight.

Final thoughts

We can’t deny that the cabbage soup diet is quick, easy and cheap. But you can’t stick to it forever. You will feel hungry, weak, lethargic, and bored. It might make you feel sick and crave for your favorite food. You shouldn’t follow this diet for more than seven days as it doesn’t let you add enough nutrients to your body.

The diet also doesn’t encourage lifestyle changes which actually is necessary for weight loss. If you want to be healthy and fit, you need to follow a proper balanced diet and exercise.

Drastic weight loss diet like this one will cause problems to your body and can be dangerous if continued without doctor’s supervision.

You should never start a diet without asking your doctor. He will know your health condition at its best and will recommend you what to eat and what not to. If he approves of your seven-day cabbage diet challenge, then only you can go ahead with it.

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