Side Effects Cabbage Soup Diet

One popular diet which has been around since the 1990s is the cabbage soup diet.  The diet was originally developed by hospitals for cardiac patients who needed surgery in the near future, but were overweight.  This severe diet would cause the patient to lose 10-20 pounds in one week, thus making them better surgical candidates.  The diet then became popular in the general population.

The ingredients in the cabbage soup diet include celery, onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, chicken broth and, of course, cabbage.  You can substitute or add spinach and zucchini to the soup if you wish.  Regardless, the final soup is extremely low in calories and carbohydrates.  One cup of cabbage soup has about 66 calories.  You are allowed to drink tea and/or coffee with this diet as long as the beverage is unsweetened.

You are allowed to eat fruit and vegetables during the first three days of the diet.  Bananas are to be avoided as they have a high glycemic index.

It is acceptable, however, to add bananas and skimmed milk to the diet on day four.

Proteins are added on days five and six.

Day seven allows the introduction of some carbohydrates like rice.

Certain foods like desserts, pasta, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and bread are prohibited.

The diet should only be followed for a week, and no more than two weeks.  It is important to note that this diet is a starvation diet.  The cabbage soup allows you to have a full stomach so that you don’t feel hungry, but you are drastically restricting your calories.  Most of the weight that is lost on this diet comes from water and muscle.  Some fat is also lost, but you are mostly losing muscle mass.

Not surprisingly, moodiness is a common symptom on this diet.  It’s hard to feel happy when you are starving.

Fatigue is a big problem as you are not getting the necessary nutrition.  Your body is shutting down, and trying to conserve calories.  Another bothersome side effect is fainting.

Gas disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract are quite common as is frequent urination.

As I have discussed on previous posts, the best diet is the diet that you can maintain for a long period of time if not for the rest of your life.  As I have mentioned above, this diet cannot be followed for more than two weeks at the most.  Like most calorie restrictive diets, you are likely to experience rebound weight gain at the end of the diet.  Rebound weight gain is the phenomenon where the person gains the weight back and then some.  We all know people who have experienced this situation, and perhaps it may even have been us.

The consequence of being heavier after stopping the diet for a time goes beyond the physical.  It also exerts an emotional toll where the recent dieter feels that nothing seems to work, and depression/disappointment now sets in.  The dieter feels like a failure and there is a tendency to eat all of the previously prohibited foods.  The general attitude seems to become, “What do I have to lose?  Nothing seems to work anyway”.

I am not a big fan of starvation diets, and the cabbage soup diet is another of these diets.  I urge you not to waste your time, and possibly endanger your health by following this starvation diet.  This diet is not the answer.  You will lose the weight quickly with this diet, but you will gain it back just as fast.

The cornerstone of weight loss and maintenance remains exercise, and eating wisely.  Severe diets like the cabbage soup diet will fail in the end.  Wishing you continued success with your weight loss and management.  Pablo