Unlike many diet plans, which usually require lots of exercise and expect a long-term commitment to achieve results, the cabbage soup diet is short. Designed to last one week, it isn't intended to be a lifestyle change. It isn't high enough in nutrients or calories to sustain healthy body functions for longer than the designated timeframe. After completing the week, you should spend some time back on a normal diet before contemplating a return to the cabbage soup regimen.
No one person or institute claims credit for creating the cabbage soup diet, so there's no specific standard for dieters to follow. Through the years, multiple variations of the diet have surfaced. Although they differ a bit from one another, they're all quite similar.
For each of the seven days, you should eat at least two bowls of cabbage soup. And there are specific foods that you can eat almost without limit each day, though you're encouraged to try to quiet your hunger by eating the low-calorie soup whenever possible. Foods like bread, alcohol and soda are forbidden, although you drink as much water as you like. Here's the basic schedule:
- Day One: you can eat all the soup you want, as well as any fruit (except bananas).
- Day Two: soup, low-calorie vegetables and one baked potato with butter
- Day Three: soup, fruits and vegetables
- Day Four: soup, six to eight bananas and all-you-can-drink skim milk
- Day Five: soup, six tomatoes and 15 to 20 ounces of beef, fish or chicken. Make sure to take in at least six glasses on water this day -- if not more.
- Day Six: soup, beef and vegetables
- Day Seven: soup, brown rice, vegetables and fruit juice [source: Every Diet, Zelman]
Remember, after seven days, it's important to return to your normal diet.
So what might happen to you if you do decide to try the cabbage soup diet? Check out the next page to find out.