Cabbage Soup Diet: Ingredients and Effectiveness

The Cabbage Soup Diet as the name implies involves consuming large quantities of cabbage soup and is a short-term weight loss diet. It claims to help you lose up to 4.5 kg (10 pounds) in a week. Crash diets like the cabbage soup diet may lead to initial weight loss, but there is no scientific evidence to support its effectiveness and suitability for healthy weight loss. In this article, let us find out what is a cabbage soup diet and if it is effective.

Ingredients of a Cabbage Soup

Cabbage soup is an essential food in this seven days diet. There are different versions of the cabbage soup and one of them is presented below.


  • ½ head of large cabbage. Cut the cabbage into bite-sized pieces

  • 6 scallions or spring onions (diced)

  • 2 green bell peppers (chopped)

  • 1 or 2 tomatoes (diced)

  • 1 bunch of celery (chopped)

  • Salt and pepper

  • Dried herbs or spices of your choice

  • 6 cups of water

  • 1 to 2 bouillon cubes (optional)

How to Cook Cabbage Soup?

Follow the directions given below to cook a healthy cabbage soup.

  • Chop all the vegetables

  • In a large pot, add a small amount of oil and sauté onions

  • Later on, add the remaining vegetables and cover them with water.

  • Add bouillon cubes or other seasonings. This step is optional.

  • Bring to a boil and then reduce the flame to medium or low heat. Let it simmer until all the vegetables are tender. This may take around 30 to 45 minutes.

  • You can season the soup with salt, pepper, herbs or spices.

What is a Cabbage Soup Diet?

This seven-day diet is low in fat and high in fibre and may work by jump-starting your body's metabolism and fat mobilization. It restricts calorie intake and forces the body to use fat as an energy source. As the purpose of this diet is calorie restriction, one can also consume some low-calorie and high-fibre vegetables and fruits.

There are different versions of this cabbage soup diet and typically includes at least two to three meals in a day. There is no limit to how much cabbage soup one may consume while following the diet, but most people may need at least two bowls per day for a week to avoid feeling excessively hungry.

Foods You Can Eat

In the cabbage soup diet, the majority of your meals would be homemade cabbage soup, but you are also allowed to consume some low in calorie foods and beverages on specific days. You can include the following −

  • Fruits − Apple, peach, plum, guava, orange, nectarine, melon, watermelon and kiwi

  • Vegetables − Cabbage, onion, leek, celery, carrot, green beans, kale and spinach

  • Herbs & Spices − Coriander, parsley, rosemary, thyme, dill, oregano, cardamom, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, fenugreek seeds, saffron, cumin, ginger, garlic, turmeric powder and bay leaf

  • Beverages − Green tea, black tea, black coffee, fresh fruit juice, coconut water and herbal tea

Cabbage Soup Diet Plan

There are no set timings for the cabbage soup diet. Certain, vegetables, fruits and beverages are restricted while some high-fibre ones are allowed. Here is one example of how your week may look while following a cabbage soup diet.

  • Day 1 − Unlimited cabbage soup and some raw fruits. Strictly avoid eating bananas.

  • Day 2 − Only cabbage soup and cooked or raw vegetables from the above-mentioned options. Avoid consuming potatoes, peas, corn and beans.

  • Day 3 − Cabbage soup with as many fruits and vegetables as you can eat. You can have fruits for breakfast and cabbage soup with some vegetables for lunch.

  • Day 4 − Cabbage soup, skim milk and no more than eight bananas in a day

  • Day 5 − You can have 10 to 20 ounces (280 to 567 grams) of beef or chicken or fish and six fresh tomatoes. Ensure to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day.

  • Day 6 − Cabbage soup, beef and vegetables. Beef can be substituted for broiled fish. Focus on consuming leafy vegetables and avoid potatoes.

  • Day 7 − Vegetables, brown rice and unlimited fruit juice with no added sugar.

Pros of the Cabbage Soup Diet

Even though the cabbage soup diet is a short-term and very restrictive diet, some people claim that it may provide initial weight loss. Some of the advantages of this diet are as follows −

  • Easy to remember − As this diet permits you to consume few foods and beverages, you can easily remember what you can eat or cannot eat. Additionally, you can consume unlimited cabbage soup to ward off hunger prangs

  • Short-term commitment − This diet is only recommended for seven days. Restricting foods and beverages for a long time may feel like a big challenge and often lead to distraction or stopping a diet.

  • Quick weight loss − The cabbage soup diet may appeal to people who are interested in rapid weight loss. Researchers suggest that calorie-restricted diets can promote weight loss. However, it is not clear if this rapid weight loss stays for a long time or results in weight gain after the diet is discontinued.

Following this diet may provide your body with around 1000 to 1200 calories per day in a week which is a lot fewer as compared to the daily requirement. Hence, people are generally advised to not exercise during the week as the body may not have enough caloric energy for extra physical activity.

Cons of the Cabbage Soup Diet

Some of the disadvantages of the cabbage soup diet are as follows −

  • Lack of versatility − The diet has many food restrictions and has very little room for variety. People may get bored with the diet and after seven days may indulge in some foods that can result in weight gain.

  • Severe calorie restriction − Weight loss is a combination of eating a balanced diet, doing physical exercises and incorporating some healthy lifestyle changes. Eating fewer calories per day may lead to eating disorders, malnutrition or in the worst case, some serious health conditions. The diet allows only 1000 to 1200 calories per day for a week which is relatively less as compared to other balanced diets.

  • No Scientific Evidence − This diet claims to reduce at least 10 pounds of body weight in a week, but is not backed by any scientific evidence. Cabbage may be high in fibre and low in calories, but it does not have fat-burning properties.

  • Not for long-term weight management − This diet cannot be a long-term solution for weight management or weight loss. When you stop the diet, you may go back to your old habits and gain weight.


The Cabbage Soup Diet has never been studied by healthcare experts and hence, its effectiveness cannot be scientifically confirmed. Although this diet may help you in weight loss, most of that weight may come back as soon as you stop the diet. Calorie restriction may help in weight loss but can also affect your metabolism. In a nutshell, this low-calorie diet may result in temporary weight loss, provided you stick with it.

Updated on: 09-Mar-2023


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