Here’s everything you need to know about the cabbage soup diet

Cabbage Soup Diet is designed to help shed fat fast. Whatever your feelings are on a diet comprised predominantly of cabbage, there’s little doubt this week-long plan will help you slim.

Similar to the extreme, yet less-well known weight-loss plan known as the Cambridge Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet has been popular with hardcore dieters for years, mainly because it’s a quick fix and can cause people to lose 10 pounds in a very short period of time.

But, as with all strict diets, there are health risks to consider. Here is everything you need to know about the Cabbage Soup Diet here (warning: it’s not for the faint-hearted)…

Cabbage Soup Diet

What is it?

It’s quite self-explanatory. You spend a week, and no more, eating unlimited amounts of low-calorie cabbage soup, which you cook yourself at home. The cabbage soup makes up your staple diet for the week but you are also allowed a small selection of other foods (such as some fruit, or a baked potato), all designed to help you shed fat fast. People claim to have lost 10lbs in a week on this quick-results diet plan.

How does the Cabbage Soup Diet work?

It’s a very low-fat, yet high-fibre diet. The cabbage soup has virtually no calories in it so by eating pretty much only that you lose weight. It’s as simple as that.

The pros of the Cabbage Soup Diet:

The cabbage soup diet is super-cheap and a great quick fix for a special event, with many people working it into their wedding plans, or trying it just before they go on holiday. You only have to stick to it for one week to see good results and so it’s easy not to stray. Cabbage itself is also teaming with health benefits. Nutritionist Lovisa Nilsson, says: ‘Cabbage is healthy, as it contains plenty of fibre and antioxidants such as vitamin C.’

The cons of the Cabbage Soup Diet: 

Critics believe that you are in fact losing water, rather than fat, on the plan which can result in you gaining weight again very quickly once you go back to a normal diet. Personal trainer and fitness coach Scott Laidler says: ‘Weight loss is temporary and most people will re-gain any lost weight quickly. Because the Cabbage Soup Diet has such a low calorie intake and virtually no protein, almost all weight lost on this diet will be water and muscle, not body fat. This is a real shame because gaining all that weight back can be crushing psychologically, which can lead to comfort eating and loss of motivation to exercise which in turn leads to more weight gain.’

The lack of calories can also leave people feeling lightheaded. Scott said: ‘Without being used to this level of restriction, most people will experience a lack of energy, headaches and even dizziness, so doing serious exercise whilst on the diet would be out of the question.’

All in all, the Cabbage Soup Diet is in no way a healthy choice in the long-term. Lovisa Nilsson, nutritionist at Lifesum, says: ‘Cabbage soup is nutritionally unbalanced as a meal, and it is vital we consume essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins B and even healthy fats. By following this diet for a lengthily period of time, you are depriving your body of the nutrients it needs and thus defeating any long-term health benefits and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.’

If you are determined to give the diet a go, Lovisa recommends: ‘Supplement the soup with, for example, rye bread and some form of protein. You may also find that you get bored of eating cabbage for your meals every day, so I would suggest adding and changing flavours to make each meal more interesting.’

The Cabbage Soup Diet recipe:

6 large onions, chopped
2 green peppers, diced
2 cans of tomatoes (diced or whole)
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch celery, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 or 2 cubes bouillon (optional)
 Salt and pepper
For added flavour: Cayenne pepper, curry powder, mixed herbs or any other seasoning.


1. Use spray oil to sauté the chopped onions in a large pot.
2. Add the green pepper pieces and heat for a minute.
3. Add the chopped cabbage leaves, sliced carrots, celery and mushrooms.
4. Sprinkle over a little cayenne pepper or curry powder.
5. Add 12 cups of water and any additional stock cubes.
6. Cook over a medium heat until the soup is the vegetables are tender and the soup is the right consistency.

The Cabbage Soup Diet meal plan:

Day 1: Unlimited cabbage soup and fruit (excluding bananas). Water and sugar-free fruit juice to drink.

Day 2: Cabbage soup and additional vegetables. One jacket potato with butter for dinner. No fruit at all.

Day 3: Unlimited cabbage soup plus any fruit and vegetables you choose (excluding potatoes or bananas).

Day 4: Unlimited cabbage soup and skimmed milk. Plus up to eight bananas.

Day 5: Unlimited cabbage soup and 565g of beef and 6 tomatoes. Drink 6-8 glasses of water today to flush extra uric acid from your body.

Day 6: Unlimited cabbage soup and limitless beef and vegetables (excluding potatoes).

Day 7: Unlimited cabbage soup with a little brown rice, vegetables and sugar-free fruit juice.

We’re not sure if it’s for us, but if it sounds like your thing – good luck!