In the present scenario – busy lives and hectic schedules – we all look for quick returns in all aspects and the same is applicable to a weight loss program. Considering the fact that our daily chores leave us with little time to devote to rigorous workouts and fitness regimes, the demand for short term diet plans has been increasing steadily.
Cabbage soup diet is one such diet plan that has been designed to cause short term weight loss. As the name suggests, cabbage soup is the main component of this diet that covers a period of seven days. In fact, it claims to cause a weight loss of about 10 pounds i.e. 4.5 kg within a week. Thus, if you are looking to lose weight quickly for any upcoming occasion, cabbage soup diet might be the answer.
Now the question may arise as to how this diet works. This diet is based on the principles of low sodium, low calories and high fiber that enable you to get into shape fast before you try a more moderate long term eating plan. This diet works by restricting the intake of calories and energy by the body, thus forcing it to use its backup energy source i.e. fat.
Carbohydrates in the form of fruits and vegetables known as high glycemic carbs are included in this diet which will spike your blood sugar levels and then force them down very quickly. Since the cabbage soup diet dangerously restricts your caloric intake, it should not be continued beyond seven days.
The Cabbage Soup Diet Chart:
There are several versions of the cabbage soup diet plan that have been around for years. The cabbage soup diet is a strict chart regarding what to eat during the 7 day time period. Cabbage soup is the main item that is complemented with other foods to fulfill the nutritional requirements.
Day 1: Only Fruits
On the first day, eat only fruits except bananas and have as much cabbage soup as you want. You can have apples for breakfast, cabbage soup and fruit salad for lunch, and cabbage soup and lemon salad for dinner. To curb hunger, snack on fruits throughout the day including frozen berries, grapes and watermelon. For drinks, you can have black coffee, unsweetened tea, cranberry juice and water.
Day 2: Only Vegetables
On this day, eat fresh raw or vegetables of your choice. You can eat as many vegetables as you want along with the soup, except dry beans, peas, sweet corn and other starchy vegetables. It is advisable to have green leafy vegetables. At dinner you can give yourself a treat of big baked potato with butter along with broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage etc. Do not eat fruits on this day.
Day 3: Fruits and Vegetables
You can have as much fruits and vegetables except bananas, corn and other starchy vegetables. Have as much cabbage soup as you want but no baked potatoes.
Day 4: Bananas and Milk
On this day, you can have only bananas and milk/yoghurt. You can eat as many as eight bananas and drink as many glasses of skim milk as you want along with your soup. This will curb your desire for sweets.
Day 5: Beef and Tomatoes
On this day, you can have about 300-500 grams (10-20 ounces) of fresh beef and as many as six tomatoes. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water to flush out uric acid from your body. If you do not like beef, you can have broiled or baked skinless chicken. You can also substitute broiled fish for beef but cannot have both.
Day 6: Beef and Vegetables
This day is dedicated to protein and veggies. You can have all the vegetables except tomatoes. You can have as much beef and vegetables as you want. You can even have 2 -3 steaks along with leafy green vegetables. Try a salad seasoned with olive oil, spices and veggies. Have your soup at least once a day. Baked potato is not allowed on this day.
Day 7: Brown rice, Vegetables and Unsweetened Fruits Juices
You can have as many vegetables as you wish along with brown rice and unsweetened fruit juice. Have as much cabbage soup as you want but have it at least once.
Beyond Day 7
As stated earlier, cabbage soup diet is a short term weight loss program and hence, should not be extended beyond 7 days. Thus, it is advisable to maintain a normal balanced diet in order to compensate for the loss of nutrients experienced during the diet period.
Cabbage Soup Recipe
As already mentioned, cabbage soup is the main component of the cabbage soup diet. This soup is consumed with different foods on different days. Given below is a simple recipe to prepare the cabbage soup needed for the diet.
- ½ head cabbage, chopped
- 250 grams chopped mushrooms
- 1 bunch chopped celery
- 2 cans of diced or whole tomatoes
- 6 large onions, chopped
- 3 sliced carrots
- 2 diced green peppers
- 1 or 2 bouillon (optional)
- 1 package dry onion soup mix
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cayenne pepper, curry powder, mixed herbs or any other seasoning for added flavour.
- Saute the chopped onions in a large pot using spray oil.
- Add diced green peppers and cook for 5 minutes.
- Then add the chopped cabbage leaves, mushrooms and celery, and sliced carrots.
- Sprinkle some cayenne pepper or curry powder and add 12 cups of water and other additional stock cubes.
- Cook over medium heat until the vegetables become tender and the soup obtains the right consistency.
Benefits of the Cabbage Soup Diet
In spite of covering a short span of seven days, cabbage soup diet has proven to be effective in causing rapid weight loss. This is due to the fact that it involves a drastic cut in calories. Since cabbage is a negative calorie ingredient, your body needs more calories to digest this vegetable than it provides. Moreover, the other veggies such as mushroom, tomatoes, celery, green onions, green pepper and carrots are all low in calories that are unlikely to cause any weight gain. Thus, in spite of being considered a fad diet, it does offer the following benefits.
1. Rapid Weight Loss:
As stated earlier, cabbage soup diet can cause rapid weight loss in a short span of time. By following this diet, you can lose up to 10 lbs in just 7 days. In fact, the proponents of this diet claim that it causes three to five times more weight loss than other diet in the same period. Off course, individual results vary from person to person. This diet is particularly suitable for those who want to lose weight fast for a special occasion. Moreover, the diet is extremely low in saturated fat and devoid of cholesterol. It can be a great kick start to a more moderate weight loss regime by making you habituated to a more nourishing diet or healthier eating as a lifestyle choice.
2. No Hunger Pangs:
This diet enables you to have as much soup as you wish along with unlimited amount of fruits or veggies as well as meat on specific days. You can even have baked potatoes. Thus, you are less likely to suffer from hunger pangs during the day.
3. Provides Energy:
Initially the cabbage soup diet might make you feel weak, light headed and tired because of the toxins and processed foods leaving your body. But these effects vary individually and eventually, they will subside. By the fourth day of the program, you will experience a significant increase in your energy levels.
4. Supply of Nutrients and Vitamins:
This diet ensures a healthy supply of nutrients and vitamins. It is centered round the cabbage soup which is packed with healthy nutritious vegetables. Besides, you are also allowed to have unlimited fruits as well as meat that can give your body a significant boost in vitamins. Furthermore, tomatoes and other fruits such as dark berries are rich in antioxidants.
5. Simple and Inexpensive:
The cabbage soup diet is relatively simple and inexpensive to start. It does not involve complex meal plans or expensive nutritional bars, snacks, shakes, dietary supplements or appetite suppressants. It does not take much of your time since there is no exercise routine involved. All you need to do is consume healthy fruits and vegetables along with cabbage soup during the seven day time period. Unlike other diets, it does not require long term commitment. Thus, not only you feel great by losing weight and cleansing your body of toxins and processed foods, you are also able to save money.
Side Effects of Cabbage Soup Diet
In spite of the fact that the cabbage soup diet has yielded positive results in terms of weight loss, it is not recommended by experts and health practitioners for long term weight loss. Like most fad diets, this diet is not without its serious side effects that almost outweigh the benefits it provides.
1. Causes Starvation:
When you follow this diet, you get restricted to consuming cabbage soup and vegetables on a particular day. Thus, you are most likely to feel hungry. Healthy fats and complex carbs are needed to satiate your appetite and keep you feeling full which are excluded
2. Causes Flatulence:
While following the cabbage soup diet, you are most likely to experience flatulence. Excess consumption of cabbage and other vegetables like broccoli can cause gas and make you feel bloated.
3. Risk of Fatigue:
This diet involves a drastic reduction in caloric intake which will cause your energy levels to drop and you are likely to experience fatigue. Carbohydrates and healthy fats are your body’s sources of energy and exclusion of these vital nutrients from your daily consumption can make you feel sleepy and lazy throughout the day. You might suffer from lack of energy to work out and for other activities.
4. Inadequate Nutrition:
The main defect of the cabbage soup diet is that it has not been set up in a nutritionally balanced way neither is it based on the proven principles of weight loss. It does not allow too much intake of proteins and carbohydrates and hence, you are likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies while following this diet. No doubt, it lasts for just seven days.
5. Frequent Urination:
Consumption of too much soup and water in this diet can cause you to urinate more than usual. Moreover, cabbage is a natural diuretic which means that it promotes the secretion of water from your body. Other fruits and vegetables can also cause frequent urination as the natural produce is packed with water.
6. Causes Faintness:
Faintness is another side effect of this diet. You might end up feeling lightheaded due to the low intake of calories. Lack of carbs and fat in your diet can cause your body to get fatigued to the extent of fainting. This faintness and dizziness can only be cured by increasing the intake of calories.
7. Can Cause Moodiness:
Due to the lack of vital nutrients in the course of the diet, you are likely to become moody and irritable. Lack of proper nourishment for your body can make you suffer both physically and emotionally. Though you will succeed in losing weight, you might experience migraines, light headedness and mood swings in the course of the diet and eventually you become slower which will affect your work.
8. Poses Health Risks:
It is not a natural weight loss program since 90% of the weight lost is water weight and not fat. Not only is this unhealthy, but the extra fat held by your body before the diet will still be there. Moreover, the side effects given above may lead you to more serious long term effects such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, kidney diseases and heart diseases. Being low in nutritional value, this diet will put your body in a state of starvation and energy saving mode, thus lowering metabolism and causing the reverse effect of actually gaining weight.
Thus, after analyzing the pros and cons of the cabbage soup diet we realize that it is effective in causing weight loss on short term basis. You can try it if you need to lose weight quickly for any occasion. But it is certainly not advisable for long term weight loss and it might cause adverse effects on your health. Hence, it is advisable to follow a balanced diet coupled with proper exercise for weight loss in the long run rather than resorting to this plan.
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