Fat Burning Cabbage Soup Diet Review (From a Nutritionist)

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: April 1, 2024
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If you’re like me, you are tired of constantly hearing about the same diets, and you’re looking for something a bit different.

Fat-burning cabbage soup is a delicious vegetable soup that can help you lose up to 10 pounds in just one week.

As a certified personal trainer and experienced nutritionist, I will explain how it works and what the benefits are, and you’ll get a special day-by-day meal prepared just for you. See why this diet may be your perfect option.

Quick Summary

  • This diet focuses on rapid weight loss through a low-calorie meal plan primarily consisting of cabbage soup.
  • It includes a mix of cabbage soup, fruits, vegetables, beef, and brown rice, with specific foods allowed on different days.
  • The cabbage soup diet starts with an intake of 1,000 calories or less in the initial days, gradually increasing to about 1,200 calories per day, as noted in a review on ResearchGate.
  • As a nutritionist, I find the diet effective for quick weight loss but not sustainable for long-term health goals.

How Does A Cabbage Soup Diet Help You Lose Weight?

bowl filled with vegetable soup

The cabbage soup diet aids in weight loss by significantly reducing calorie intake, making it an effective short-term, low-calorie eating plan.

When I first tried the cabbage soup diet, I was skeptical about its effectiveness. However, after a week of following this low-calorie plan, I noticed a significant decrease in my weight. It's all about restricting your calorie intake, which I found challenging but ultimately rewarding.

The cabbage soup diet is an eating plan that is designed to help you with weight loss. First of all, it is important to mention that you need to be prepared for a low-calorie diet. It is best to use it for only seven days in a row.

According to one of the reviews on the ResearchGate website, you only eat 1,000 calories or less during the first few days of the cabbage soup diet [1]. Throughout the rest of the week, you gradually increase your calories to about 1,200 calories per day.

What Do The Experts Think It?

a nutritionist giving a thumbs up while holding up vegetables, and a gym instructor giving a thumbs up

Personal trainer and fitness coach Scott Laidler says:

“Weight loss is temporary, and most people will regain any lost weight quickly. Because the Cabbage Soup Diet has low-calorie intake and virtually no protein, almost all weight lost on this diet will be water weight 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.”

There’s no denying that cabbage itself is packed with health benefits. A nutritionist at Lifesum, Lovisa Nilsson, explains:

“Cabbage is healthy, as it contains plenty of fiber and antioxidants such as vitamin C.”

Health Benefits Of The Cabbage Soup Diet

woman wearing gym clothes with her both arms flexing

During my week on the cabbage soup diet, I not only lost weight but also felt an increase in my overall energy levels. The high fiber and antioxidant content of the soup, especially from ingredients like cabbage and tomatoes, contributed to this positive change in my health.

Very low-calorie diets help you lose weight quickly, and this soup diet is one of those effective diets. When you eat cabbage soup, you detox your body from unhealthy eating habits. 7 days of this low-calorie diet help you detox completely.

A preliminary study found on the PubMed website on the effects of red cabbage consumption in obese mice found decreased cholesterol for eight weeks [2].

In addition to this, according to the September 2017 review in Functional Foods in Health and Disease, certain ingredients in cabbage are anti-inflammatory.

The cabbage soup diet may help in managing blood sugar levels, considering that a fasting blood glucose level above 126 mg/dl or a post-meal level above 200 mg/dl is indicative of diabetes, as noted by the ADA [3].

Cabbage Soup Recipe

stack of carrots, cabbages getting sliced, and a jar of tomatoes

I remember the excitement of starting my cabbage soup diet journey. Finding the right recipe was key, and after trying a few, I settled on one that was not only effective but also delicious. Here's the best cabbage soup diet recipe that worked wonders for me:


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


  • Use oil spray to sauté the chopped onions in a large soup pot or a slow cooker.
  • Add the green pepper pieces and heat for a minute.
  • Add the chopped cabbage, sliced carrots, celery, and mushrooms.
  • Sprinkle a little cayenne pepper or curry powder.
  • Add 12 cups of water and any additional stock cubes.
  • Cook over medium heat until these fat-burning vegetables are tender and the soup is the right consistency.

What Can You Add To It And What Should You Avoid?

According to EverydayHealth [4], you can eat certain foods while following your cabbage soup diet plan and some that you should avoid if you want your soup diet to be successful.

This healthy diet plan can help you achieve your perfect healthy weight.

Be careful, however, not to do this very low-calorie diet (that is also referred to as a restrictive diet) for more than one week at once.

Foods That Are Allowed With Your Cabbage Soup Diet:

fresh brown rice in a bowl, a bowl of soup with spoon, and a basket of apple
  • Cabbage soup! (as much cabbage soup as possible)
  • Vegetable broth (and almost any leafy greens or all the vegetables excluding potatoes)
  • Beef
  • Brown rice
  • Unsweetened fruit juices
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Skimmed milk (only on one of the days to have a balanced diet)
  • Olive oil

Let’s conclude this list with unlimited cabbage soup again!

It is a great idea to include a daily multivitamin too.

Of course, with every diet, there are some dietary restrictions.

Foods That You Should Avoid During Your Cabbage Soup Diet:

fresh bananas and a bowl of potatoes, and a man doing an avoid sign in the middle
  • Bananas (there is only one day in which you are allowed to eat up to eight bananas)
  • Potatoes (yes, even a ‘baked’ potato)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Whole- or reduced-fat dairy products
  • Everything else that is not listed in the first list

Many people asked us ‘’Does the cabbage soup diet work?’’ and our answer is ‘’Follow this cabbage soup diet plan, and you’ll lose a few pounds.’’

Some people even reported bigger weight loss changes, but be careful with how much salt you use.

If this diet is too strict, but you still want to follow it in a way, you can try adding baked chicken or lean meats on one of the days.

But the most important tip we have for you, even if you’re following your regular diet or trying out some other diets: Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

A Day-by-day Meal Plan To Follow

plate of vegetables with notebook, calculator and measuring tape on the table

As promised, we bring you a special day-by-day meal plan to follow to lose weight fast.

  • Day 1 - Just the soup and fruits. Bananas aren’t allowed on the first day.
  • Day 2 - Cabbage soup and other vegetables (cooked or raw, except for potatoes)
  • Day 3 - Cabbage soup plus raw fruits and vegetables
  • Day 4 - Along with the cabbage soup, you can also have a maximum of 8 bananas and skim milk on this day only.
  • Day 5 - Eat beef and tomatoes along with your cabbage soup. (You can eat 2 to 20 ounces (oz) of beef, twenty oz of beef [contains] 160 g protein, which is roughly 100g more protein than most people need!)
  • Day 6 - Unlimited beef and vegetables along with the cabbage soup (except for potatoes)
  • Day 7 - In addition to the cabbage soup, you can have brown rice and unsweetened fruit juice.

Who Shouldn’t Try The Cabbage Soup Diet For Weight Loss?

man holding his chest in pain, and a pregnant woman holding her belly and a thumbs down

From my perspective, having gone through the cabbage soup diet, I realized it's not suitable for everyone due to its strict nature. Particularly, certain groups should steer clear of this diet for health reasons.

The diet may also be harmful to people with diabetes because it can destabilize blood sugar levels. It is also not recommended for women who are pregnant and those who are planning pregnancy. This type of diet also isn’t intended for people with chronic illnesses, like heart disease and problems with blood pressure.

People who have particular dietary needs may be harmed by the restricted caloric intake and food limitations. If you are one of these people, try dieting with foods such as different veggies and fruit, and most likely, you’ll still lose a few pounds and stay healthy.

As this diet is super restrictive, be careful if you decide to do it for an extended period because it can do more harm than good if not done in the right way.

"Like other very low calorie diets, the Cabbage Soup Diet will likely cause temporary weight loss. But people who follow it tend to regain most of the weight lost unless they make other permanent changes."

- Jerlyn Jones, MS, MPA, RDN, LD, CLT, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist


What Is the Historical Background of the Cabbage Soup Diet?

The Cabbage Soup Diet originated as a quick weight loss plan with unclear origins, often attributed to being used in hospitals for rapid weight loss before surgery. It gained widespread popularity in the 1980s and 1990s as a fad diet for fast weight loss.

How Does the Cabbage Soup Diet Compare to Other Fad Diets?

The Cabbage Soup Diet is similar to other fad diets in its promise of rapid weight loss and restrictive nature, but it differs in focusing primarily on a single low-calorie soup. Unlike diets like Keto or Paleo, it doesn't emphasize protein or fat but relies on high fiber and low calories for short-term weight loss.

What Are the Psychological Impacts of Following Short-Term Diets Like the Cabbage Soup Diet?

Short-term diets like the Cabbage Soup Diet can lead to a temporary sense of accomplishment due to quick weight loss, but they often result in yo-yo dieting and a distorted relationship with food. This approach can lead to unhealthy eating patterns and psychological stress related to body image and weight management.

What Is the Detailed Nutritional Breakdown of Cabbage Soup?

Cabbage soup, central to this diet, is low in calories but rich in dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and satiety. It typically contains vitamins and minerals from ingredients like cabbage, tomatoes, and other vegetables but lacks protein and essential fats, making it nutritionally imbalanced for long-term consumption.

Special Precautions And Warnings

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warns that fad diet and low carb diets can cause: [5]

  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation and flatulence
  • Loss of concentration
  • Muscle loss, which can occur when your body goes into “starvation” mode from not consuming enough calories
  • Gallstones

Now when you’ve read everything we prepared for you, we hope you’ve found what you were looking for. Save the recipe and cook your first cabbage soup!

And if you decide to try this, remember that even though a cabbage soup diet is an eating plan which is ideal for a quick weight loss and detox, it is intended to last no longer than 1 week at a time. Happy dieting!


  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327028063_Functional_Foods_in_fad_diets_A_review
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27933986/
  3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/type-2-diabetes-management/blood-sugar-uncontrolled-pictures/
  4. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/cabbage-soup-diet.aspx
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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