Cabbage Soup Diet Review - Is The Cabbage Soup Diet Safe And Does It Work?

The Cabbage Soup Diet is quite a popular sort of crash diet (a crash diet is not necessarily a bad diet, by the way). Today, I would like to analyze this one as it is described on the number one spot on google,

Here is what I'm going to look at in my review:
  • The basic premise of the diet
  • Common misconceptions about it
  • A walkthrough - 7 days of dieting
  • Is this diet safe?
  • Pros and cons
  • Conclusion

And off we go!

What is the basic principle of the Cabbage Soup Diet?

Image courtesy of ponsulak /

According to the website that promotes this diet, the idea behind it is that you can achieve rapid weight loss success for the short term, for example when you have a special occasion coming up or when you just want to kick-start a weight loss attempt.

During the 7 day meal plan, you are allowed to eat as much cabbage soup as you want, with no limit. This is supposed to save yourself from cravings and cheating. On top of that, there are several food-related instructions for each of the seven days. That means that the following foods are also present during the diet:

  • All fruits the dieter wants to eat, especially bananas
  • Any vegetables, especially green leaves
  • Cranberry juice
  • Baked potato with butter
  • Skimmed milk
  • Beef
  • Tomatoes
  • Broiled fish or chicken instead of beef
  • Brown rice

One thing that immediately catches my attention is the fact that some foods are allowed on some days (like up to 8 bananas in one single day!), while on other days, these foods are strictly forbidden. This routine of sometimes allowing a baked potato or a banana (or more), and other times completely forbidding the same food, seems a little schizophrenic to me. But okay, let's move on.

Preconception and prejudice against the cabbage soup diet

Before we look closely at this diet, I would like to talk about many opinions that people quickly come up with. This goes not only for this diet but diets in general that promise more than one pound of weight loss per week.

The common misconception is: You only lose water if the diet says you can lose more than one pound.

This is, of course, nonsense. While it is true that a lot of water is often lost while losing weight, also fat and muscle tissues are reduced. Why would a person only lose water, especially when, as in this case, a lot of water is consumed in the first place?

Also, isn't it understandable that, when a person downsizes (losing fat and muscle and becoming a slimmer person), also water will go down? Why would a person who loses weight keep all that water? Also, only losing water while not giving your body enough energy is energetically impossible!

Another thing: The health issue. People say that your approach to losing weight is unhealthy for whatever reason. Often, this has to do with the restricted nature of the diet. But I would like to ask one thing: Is there anything healthy about eating burgers, spaghetti and ketchup, fries with mayonnaise and all the other foods we often eat nowadays?

The truth is: A human being can, more or less, survive on bad food. It is the calories that matter the most. The body wants to keep itself from starving. And honestly, when entering a diet that somehow involves at least some vegetables, we are already in the healthy zone, with vitamins and minerals involved.

A walkthrough - 7 days of dieting

The beginning of the week seems promising. The diet only lasts for seven days anyway, and this makes the whole instruction comprehendible and easy to follow. On the first day, you are only supposed to eat fruits (all except for banana) alongside your soup, which sounds reasonable, since it's a good way for former fast food eaters to get used to a low carb diet. On every day of the week, we are supposed to eat the soup that gives this diet its name as often as we like, and we should do so at least once a day.

On the second day, it goes on with raw vegetables, and like the day before, banana is strictly forbidden. Then, as a "reward", you can eat a baked potato with butter in the evening. Although this practice goes against the principles of Losing Weight In Your Sleep, I guess one potato is at least better than a bowl of noodles with ketchup.

On the third day, we have to atone for our sins from the previous day and completely skip the whole baked potato. All fruits and vegetables are allowed, though. Bananas are not mentioned, so I suppose that lovers of the yellow boomerang fruit are now going to feast on it.

Day four: As if there haven't been enough bananas already the day before (oops!), we are now explicitly requested to eat bananas and milk. It is explained that today is going to decrease our appetite for sweet foods, which is hard for me to understand since we were already on a good way until bananas were brought into play.

The fifth day: Finally something different. We get to eat beef and tomatoes. I really love this combination, it's low carb and delicious. Fish or chicken can be used as a replacement for beef but, God forbid, fish only on one of the days when beef is allowed.

On the sixth day, we can eat beef again, this time with any vegetables we like, preferably green leaves. This sounds totally acceptable to me and is absolutely in line with a low carb philosophy. Today, potatoes are strictly forbidden again. Strange, I hadn't even heard about them in the previous days.

The final day of the diet: I feel a little uncomfortable, but we are supposed to stuff ourselves (!) with brown rice and vegetables, while drinking unsweetened fruit juices. So do I get this correctly: We eat brown rice, a slow-carb but quite starchy alternative to white rice, and drink juices that naturally contain high amounts of sugars? Okay... although I'm a little scared this might destroy a lot of the results I hoped for when stepping on the scale. Maybe it's supposed to be the day we break the fast?

Now that the seven days are over, we are supposed to find our own long-term diet. Alright. 

Is the Cabbage Soup Diet safe?

In order to evaluate how safe the Cabbage soup diet is, let's analyze some of the steps that are recommended on this diet:

+Safety advice: The cabbage soup diet is designed as a 7 day diet, and you are supposed to only follow it for seven days, with at least a 14 days break until the next time you repeat the diet.

+Variety: As opposed to what most people would think, the diet does not solely rely on cabbage. You are encouraged to eat fruits, vegetables and even meat throughout the day, which is also mentioned in the 7 day plan.

+Natural: The 7 day plan includes organic foods such as vegetables and fruits, and advises you only to take a multivitamin supplement, but no crazy medication. This leads me to believe that there is no risk involved.

-Lack of protein: Even though milk and beef are briefly mentioned on some of the days for the 7 day plan, protein is sadly not very present in this diet. This is a shame since the body would really like to adapt to the changes by building enzymes for fat burning processes. But without much protein, these enzymes can't be made as much and as quickly as needed. Also, the lack of protein can cause loss of muscle tissue, which will slow down the diet in the long run (or subsequent diets that follow this one).

-Amount of carbs: I was surprised that up to eight bananas on a single day were allowed. Also, Friday seems to be the stuffing day that, strangely, may ruin the whole success. Or am I wrong? Brown rice with the recommendation to "stuff, stuff, stuff yourself" seems a little awkward.

Final verdict: Although the soup has some flaws, those are not threatening in any way. The most important aspect is the clear reminder not to see this diet as a long term weight loss method. It is designed only for seven days at a time. Considering that no artificial medication is recommended and there is a safe amount of all needed nutrients, this diet can be considered absolutely harmless and safe, although not optimal.

What are the pros and cons of the Cabbage Soup Diet?


  • This diet is a weakened form of low carb diet, not too strict and not too effective at the same time, and helps people who really need to slowly turn away from starchy fast food
  • This diet relies on the principle "fill your stomach", which includes water and soup
  • A lot of water is involved, which, per se, is a good thing in any diet
  • Cravings are reduced and converted by feeding on sweet fruits instead of candy
  • The diet is only designed for 7 days and not marketed as a long-term solution, which increases its credibility
  • The diet is safe if the rules are being followed - most of all the rule not to continue after 7 days


  • Too little protein, even with the few exceptions mentioned
  • Possibly monotonous, since a lot of cabbage and other vegetables may not be to everyone's liking
  • Too many carbohydrates, considering that it's supposed to kick-start further dieting efforts
  • Restrictions and permissions to eat or not eat certain foods seem arbitrary


The cabbage soup diet, the way it is described on, has too many flaws in my opinion. If, on the other hand, you followed the literal cabbage soup approach, the way most of us would imagine it to be (only cabbage soup all day long), it would be too unbalanced and might cause muscles to shrink. If followed for less than 7 days, perhaps one or two days, it would basically be the same as Fasting For Weight Loss, which leaves us with the question: Why cabbage soup?

If I was to set up a meal plan for the cabbage soup diet, it would look like this:

  • Eat pure cabbage soup any time you want
  • Eat regular meals consisting of a bowl of salad and chicken or beef every four hours
  • Drink a lot of water

But then again, it wouldn't really be a cabbage soup diet, because I would tell people that they can eat any No Carb Soup they wanted.

The driving force that makes this unusual diet so famous is that it relies on people's hope that a single food source could create magical weight loss results. At the same time, people always long for some kind of crash diet that is unusual and will deliver quick results unlike ordinary diets that have so many rules to follow. Although I must say that 6 Rules are not that much, are they?
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