About Cabbage Soup Diet


The cabbage soup diet prescribes a seven-day meal plan that emphasizes ingestion of a homemade soup made from cabbage. In just one week, the diet promises up to 17 lbs. of weight loss. The origins of the diet are unknown, but it has become the quintessential example of the fad diet.

Soup Recipe

The soup recipe includes cabbage, scallions, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, packaged onion soup and the optional addition of carrots, mushrooms and vegetable juice. Every day, you are to consume multiple servings of the soup to encourage cleansing of the body.

Other Features

In addition to cabbage soup, you are directed to eat certain foods each day. Some days require just fruit and the soup, other days just vegetables and the soup. Near the end of the week, you may eat some protein. The food prescriptions seem to make very little sense. For example, on day one you may eat any type of fruit you like, apart from bananas; on day two, it’s vegetables and one baked potato; day three combines both vegetables and fruits (but no potatoes); and day four permits only bananas and skim milk. For the duration of the plan, bread, alcohol and carbonation are not allowed.


You may lose weight quickly because the diet does restrict calories and food choices. The soup offers some nutrition and ample servings of vegetables. Large servings of cabbage provide fiber and vitamins C, K, B6, folic acid, calcium, potassium and manganese, according to Nutrition Data. The diet discourages the consumption of processed foods.


The soup itself contains a high amount of sodium due to the inclusion of packaged onion soup, vegetable juice and canned tomatoes. While some people report liking the soup, others find it bland. Adding spices like chili powder or curry may improve the taste. The diet makes eating out difficult and may be challenging to stick to because of its very specific menu prescriptions.

Expert Insight

The American Heart Association does not support fad diets like the cabbage soup diet because it emphasizes only one type of food. This violates a basic dietary principle of following a varied, balanced diet. The American Heart Association also warns against the cabbage soup diet because it makes unrealistic promises and fails to encourage healthy eating principles.

About this Author

With degrees from Princeton and Columbia University, Andrea Cespedes is also a professionally trained chef and has focused studies in nutrition. With over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer.