The Truth About The Cabbage Soup Diet

Maybe you're curious about the Cabbage Soup Diet because you have memories of your mother living on a giant pot of vegetable soup the week before her high school reunion — and then looking like a million bucks in a dress a full size smaller than the other items in her closet. Or perhaps you love anything vintage and just want to know more about this one-week, quick-weight loss plan that grew popular in the 1980s and went by several different names, according to The Washington Post.

The OG version of seven-day Cabbage Soup Diet — there have been various spins on it — is unlimited cabbage soup with a non-cabbage soup food each day. The first three days, that food is a vegetable or fruit, and over the last four days, you get to introduce skim milk (once), a meat, and finally on the last day, you live it up with some brown rice and fruit juice (per WebMD).

This menu may sound ... tedious? Grueling? Still, dieters who are desperate will give it a go. "My husband's work do was coming up, and I wanted to fit back into a slinky black dress I'd had for years. I put off dieting until I only had a couple of weeks to go then suddenly panicked! The cabbage soup diet seemed a good way of losing weight fast," Caitlin Fitzgerald, a 54-year-old, told Good To Know. She reported losing four pounds.

The Cabbage Soup Diet isn't a healthy or sustainable way to lose weight

Health experts don't think much of the Cabbage Soup Diet. The diet has been panned for its lack of protein and healthy fats, as well as the concern that losing weight so dramatically could slow your metabolism (via Everyday Health.)

"Weight loss is temporary and most people will regain any lost weight quickly," personal trainer and fitness coach Scott Laidler told Marie Claire. "Because the Cabbage Soup Diet has such a low calorie intake and virtually no protein, almost all weight lost on this diet will be water 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."

While the Cabbage Soup Diet may continue to be the go-to option for some dieters who are willing to live on vegetable broth and a little brown rice for a week just to fit into a certain outfit, others regret that they gave up a week of their lives for this plan. "I did that diet back in the late 90s. Your house will stink, you [will] have the worst gas and you will not lose that much weight," commented a bride on Wedding Wire. "It's really not worth it — you're better off just eating clean, drinking lots of water, and exercising."