The Cabbage Soup Diet Dilemma

Many people looking for quick weight loss have tried the cabbage soup diet! This diet has gone in and out of popularity over the past few decades since the 1950’s!! Surprising?! Well, believe it or not, people are still fooled into thinking that the Cabbage Soup diet is a “healthy weight loss plan.”

The idea behind the Cabbage Soup diet: For breakfast and lunch, you eat a cabbage soup, which can be made from basic vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, and celery, and then consume a light meal for dinner. You may eat some fruit in the morning or drink unsweetened tea, cranberry juice, or water (only on the first day of the diet). On day five or six, you may add some beef and on day seven you may add ½ cup of brown rice and of course continue with vegetables and Cabbage Soup!

Is this Cabbage Soup diet your best bet?! Let me give you the reality….

The reality: Of course you will lose weight, but most of the weight is fluid related and does not result in long-term sustainable weight loss!! It is basically a fasting plan that does not include sufficient nutrients for cellular maintenance, muscular growth or mental acuity. Therefore, this diet cannot be maintained longer than about 1-1.5 weeks at most before the body starts breaking its own protein stores for energy. Most of the “water weight” that is lost in the first few days of this diet is usually regained once you return to a normal eating regimen.


  • Cabbage is low in fat and calories and is high in fiber, folate, manganese, calcium, riboflavin, thiamine, antioxidants, Vitamin C (50% of your recommended daily allowance) and Vitamin K (91% of recommended daily allowance in 1 cup).
  • Cabbage stimulates regular bowel movements and the amino acid glutamine in cabbage juice is cleansing to the digestive system – used for detoxifying, repairing ulcers, healing and regenerating.
  • Cabbage juice fresh from “juicing” has shown to be effective in preventing or treating cancers of the breast, colon, lung, liver and ovarian.


  • This diet is nutritionally unbalanced and offers little to no variety. It is void of protein, calcium and B vitamins, which are vital to normal body functions. There are no guidelines for exercise regimen or behavior modifications, so even if you lose weight, it will not be sustained without the proper lifestyle modifications.
  • In addition, cabbage can leave you feeling gassy, leading to an upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issues when eaten in excess.

So, I recommend you to eat some cabbage soup when you want it, but don’t rely on it as your soul source of energy. Because this diet does not provide enough protein, your body will have to start breaking down its own protein stores for fuel, which is NOT what you want!

Learn more about healthy eating and meal planning to suit your specific nutrient needs by scheduling an appointment with Courtney Walberg, RD, NASM-CPT today! Thanks and I look forward to helping you lead a healthier lifestyle!~