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The cabbage soup diet is a special kind of diet designed to have an effective and rapid weight loss for special occasions. This diet can only be used for seven consecutive days and it was never intended for long-term adherence.

In a study published by The Pharmaceutical Journal in July 2002, it was mentioned that the cabbage soup diet is another form of fad diet that can result into rapid, nevertheless, temporary weight loss. It owes its effectiveness in its recommended caloric intake of 800 to 100 kcal per day.

As a consequence of very low caloric intake, the body mobilizes its stored fats and converts these into usable energy source.  As a result, weight loss is achieved.

This soup diet is mostly composed of a variety of high fiber, very low fat and very low calorie-containing ingredients such as vegetables added into an onion soup. Other foods allowed in this kind of diet are natural fruit juices and fruits.  Potatoes and beef can be eaten sparingly.

However, there are certain dangers associated with cabbage soup diet.

1. Most cabbage soup recipes are usually bland.  This may be due to the absence of fat, a usual contributor of taste and palatability to foods. As a consequence, people who try using these recipes compensate the lost fat flavor with more salt. And as a result, the originally bland cabbage soup becomes a little more salty than it is designed to be.  This added salt makes it unhealthy particularly to patients with hypertension and compromised kidney function.

2. Prolonged use of the cabbage soup diet can cause a decrease in the iodine levels in the body. The cabbage soup diet was originally designed for seven days only but there may be those who want to use it for longer periods of time because of its effectiveness.  This prolonged use can result into a potentially dangerous decrease in the level of iodine, a trace mineral used by the thyroid gland to produce hormone. This may lead to the development of goiter, the enlargement of the thyroid gland caused by the decrease in iodine levels. This decrease in iodine level can trigger unwanted consequences in the development of the unborn baby of pregnant patients – it can result into cretinism, a congenital mental retardation caused by iodine deficiency.

3. Cabbage soup diet can cause yoyo phenomenon or weight-cycling.  It’s true, cabbage soup diet is really quite effective in producing rapid weight loss.  However, according to a study presented by the International Journal of Obesity, short term weight reduction solutions, such as the cabbage soup diet, can trigger the body to undergo weight loss cylcing, a phenomenon that can be described as on and off weight loss and weight gain. As stated in this study, yoyo phenomenon can cause much psychological stress that may push a person to have episodes of binge eating and overeating.  Furthermore, weight cycling has also been associated with the progression of atherosclerosis, a health condition that causes fatty deposition within the blood vessel walls.

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