Revive Reviews: The Cabbage Soup Diet

This diet is an anonymously written, low nutrient, very low calorie diet that has countless variations. All of which include the consumption of cabbage soup on a daily basis promising rapid weight loss of 10-15 pounds in just one week!

The regimen includes includes a small list of vegetables, fruit, skim milk and meat.

The cabbage soup itself is a boiled variety of low starch vegetables like onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and plenty of cabbage with some added bouillon or soup mix. Two bowls of cabbage soup are to be consumed each day give or take servings of skim milk or lean meat depending on which version of the diet you look at.



Cabbage itself is a healthy vegetable that is low in calories, high in vitamin K and vitamin C, and a good source of fibre. Including a variety of low calorie nutritious vegetables each day is essential component to a balanced diet. Keep in mind that the nutrients coming from vegetables are best utilized when there is a sufficient amount of energy and nutrients from coming from other important food groups.

Weight loss can also be viewed as a benefit to this diet; unfortunately the loss will be short lived. As soon as the next week of regular eating rolls around, your energy intake will increase, and so will your weight.



This amazing rate of weight loss is not related to any “magical” components in the cabbage soup, but is a direct result of the extreme energy deficit inflicted upon your system if you able to follow the diet for a full 7 days. Initially your body will dip into its glycogen reserves (a storage form of carbohydrate in muscle and liver cells). As glycogen is broken down for energy, a significant amount of body water is also released and excreted in your urine. This is where the majority of the weight loss comes from (not from losing fat mass).

The caloric value of the diet is restricted to approximately 800-1050 calories per day, a level that fails to provide adequate nutrients and energy to support health in the long term. Since this diet is unsafe for the human body to continue as a realistic lifestyle change, it is considered a short lived “quick-fix” for weight loss.

After returning back to a regular diet, it is likely that your weight will rebound right back to where it was, and then some. Extremely low calorie diets (below 1200 calories) physiologically induce an unnecessary starvation mode, where the body slows its metabolic rate in attempt to preserve its energy reserves to maintain function. The reality is that today we are surrounded by profuse opportunity to acquire food in a short period of time with very little effort and there is no real danger of famine. Thus slowing our metabolism is certainly not something we require to survive in our current environment.

The cabbage soup is high in sodium, but low in fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Deprivation of these nutrients will only lead to an increase in cravings for the foods that are not permitted on the 7-day diet. Individuals with diabetes may also have a difficult time managing blood glucose levels due to the low amounts of carbohydrates and protein. Not surprisingly, people who have been on the cabbage soup diet often report feeling fatigued, and lightheaded.


Beyond Cabbage Soup:

Cabbage is diverse vegetable with applications outside of being boiled up in a boring soup. Here are some creative ideas to search that include cabbage as part of a healthy, balanced diet!

  • Fish tacos with a citrus cabbage slaw over top
  • Asian cabbage slaw with kale and a spicy peanut dressing
  • Cabbage grilled on the barbeque with a lime dressing
  • Caramelized cabbage and green onion stir fry
  • Sauerkraut- bought or homemade (added bonus: probiotics for a healthy gut!)
  • Kimchi- bought or homemade (also full of probiotics!)


Revive Wellness is a team of passionate and evidence-based Registered Dietitians specialized in nutrition and wellness coaching for the Edmonton area.

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