The Cabbage Soup Diet has been around for decades, promoted as a temporary, quick weight-loss tool. No dietitians or food historians claim to know exactly where it originated, but everyone does agree on this: It did not come from Sacred Heart Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, the U.S. military, or any of the other institutions to which it is sometimes attributed.
The diet is designed to last for one week only. While the Cabbage Soup Diet is not a well-rounded program, nutritionists say most healthy people can easily withstand it for a short period. And, it does encourage consumption of low-calorie, high-fiber, high-antioxidant vegetables and fruit.
The cornerstone of the diet is a bottomless pot of cabbage soup, which can be consumed anytime in any quantity. Aside from the soup, the eating plan is very restrictive.
Although there are several versions of the Cabbage Soup Diet — including some that add protein shakes to the mix — this is the diet most often circulated. At the end of the week, dieters have reported losing seven to fifteen pounds.
Cabbage Soup Recipe
Ingredients | Serves 12–14
- 6 green onions, trimmed and sliced
- 2 green bell peppers, cored and diced
- 2 (16-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 (10-ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes (optional)
- 3 carrots, trimmed and sliced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 3 ribs celery, trimmed and sliced
- ½ head cabbage, trimmed and chopped
- 1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
- 2 bouillon cubes (optional)
- 12 cups water (or 8 cups water and 4 cups V-8 juice)
- Herbs and seasonings as desired
Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 2 hours. Cool slightly before serving. Refrigerate or freeze any unused portions.
The Seven-Day Diet
All the fruit you want, except bananas. All the cabbage soup you want.
All the raw or cooked vegetables you want, with emphasis on leafy greens. Avoid dry beans, peas, and corn. All the cabbage soup you want. You may have 1 baked potato with butter for dinner.
All the fruit you want, except bananas. All the vegetables you want, except potatoes, dry beans, peas, and corn. All the cabbage soup you want.
Up to 8 bananas and all the skim milk you want. All the cabbage soup you want. No other foods.
Ten to twenty ounces of lean beef, skinless chicken breast, or fish and up to 6 tomatoes. All the cabbage soup you want. At least 8 glasses of water.
Up to 20 ounces of steak or skinless chicken (no fish) plus leafy green vegetables. At least 1 serving of cabbage soup.
Brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices, and nonstarchy vegetables. All the cabbage soup you want.
Tips for Success
Follow the diet exactly.
Drink 4–6 glasses of water daily, as well as unsweetened tea and no-sugar-added cranberry juice. Do not drink any sugar-sweetened beverages.
Take a multivitamin tablet daily.
Eat plenty of soup to stave off hunger.
Follow the diet for only seven days at a time. If you have more weight to lose, allow two weeks of moderate eating between Cabbage Soup Diet weeks.