The Cabbage Soup Diet

The cabbage soup diet is a weight loss diet designed around heavy consumption of a low-calorie cabbage soup over seven days. It is generally considered a fad diet, in that it is designed for short-term use for weight-loss and requires no long-term commitment.

Are you thinking about being more active? Have you been trying to cut back on junk food and  less healthy foods? Are you starting to eat better and move more but having a hard time sticking with these changes?

Cabbage soup diet

Old habits die hard. Changing your habits is a process that involves several stages. Sometimes it takes a while before changes become new habits. And, you may face roadblocks along the way.

Adopting new, healthier habits may protect you from serious health problems like obesity and diabetes. New habits, like healthy eating and regular physical activity, may also help you manage your weight and have more energy. After a while, if you stick with these changes, they may become part of your daily routine.

This cabbage soup diet is not meant to be used long term, it’s more of a jump start or cleansing.

Did you know that the cabbage soup diet is also known as the Dolly Parton diet?  This low-fat, low-calorie diet can help you shed 5 pounds in a week.  You can eat unlimited quantities of this hearty soup while on the Cabbage Soup Diet.

What You Can Eat

Just like the name says, the bulk of this diet is fat-free cabbage soup, eaten two to three times a day with other allowed foods assigned each day. Here’s what you can add:

  • Day 1: Fruit, except bananas
  • Day 2: Vegetables like leafy greens (not starchy), but no fruit
  • Day 3: Fruits and vegetables
  • Day 4: Bananas and skim milk
  • Day 5: Beef (or baked chicken without the skin) and tomatoes
  • Day 6: Beef and vegetables
  • Day 7: Brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices, and vegetables


Recipe for Cabbage Soup

1 head of cabbage, chopped

3 onions, red or white, chopped

2 cans 28 ounces each of canned crushed or whole tomatoes

2 green bell peppers, chopped

4 stalks of celery, chopped

2 packages Lipton Onion Soup mix

1 can cut green beans or frozen bag

6 cups V-8 juice

6 garlic cloves, chopped


Your favorite herbs, fresh or dried, Add pepper and whatever herbs you like. Add fresh herbs (such as cilantro or basil) at serving times.

*Note: when the liquid gets low during the week you can add more water and a beef or chicken bouillon cube or two.

Eat as much of the soup as you like as often as you want.

How to make Cabbage Soup Diet Soup

Place all of the Cabbage Soup Diet ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, lower the temperature and simmer for one hour.  Serve & Enjoy!
The Cabbage Soup Diet is easy to follow.  You should not remain on the diet for more than 7 days and always check with your health care provider before starting any diet, fad or not.

To lose weight on the Cabbage Soup Diet, the suggestion is to eat this fat-free cabbage soup two or three times a day for seven days.  The first day allows for eating fruit (not bananas). On the second day you can have the soup and vegetables (not starchy), on the third day you can have the soup plus fruits and vegetables.  Keep going you’re almost there…on day four you can have the cabbage soup and bananas and skim milk, on day five you are able to include beef or baked skinless chicken and tomatoes and of course, the cabbage soup.  Only two more days to go…on day six enjoy beef and vegetables and soup, and finally on day seven you are able to include brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices, vegetables and cabbage soup.
Again, always check with your doctor before beginning any diet plan.   Good luck with your journey to lose weight!

What are cruciferous vegetables?

Cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. They also are a good fiber source.  

What is the best way to wash leafy greens?

Studies show that thoroughly rinsing fresh produce under running water removes some of the germs and dirt. No washing method completely removes all germs.

Check to see if your prepackaged leafy greens are labeled ready to eattriple washed, or no washing necessary. These leafy greens do not need to be washed again. Although prewashed greens aren’t guaranteed to be safe, the washing process should have removed most contamination. All other leafy greens should be thoroughly washed before eating, cutting, or cooking.

Follow the steps below for leafy greens you plan to eat raw:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before and after preparing leafy greens.
  • Discard outer leaves and any torn or bruised ones.
  • Rinse the leafy greens under running water and use your hands to gently rub the surface of the leaves.
    • Don’t soak leafy greens in a sink filled with water. They can get contaminated with germs in the sink.
    • Don’t soak leafy greens in a bowl filled with water. Contamination from one leaf can spread through the water to other leaves.
    • If you do not have access to safe tap water, rinse with other drinkable water (such as filtered, bottled, or distilled water).
  • Dry leafy greens with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Can I use vinegar, lemon juice, soap, or produce wash to clean leafy greens?

The FDA does not recommend washing vegetables and fruit with soap, detergent, or produce washes. Do not use bleach solution or other disinfectants to wash produce.

The FDA recommends using plain, running water. Kitchen vinegar and lemon juice may be used, but the CDC is not aware of evidence that they are any better than running water.

What should I look for in a weight-loss program?

To reach and stay at a healthy weight over the long term, you must focus on your overall health and lifestyle habits, not just on what you eat. Successful weight-loss programs should promote healthy behaviors that help you lose weight safely, that you can stick with every day, and that help you keep the weight off.

Safe and successful weight-loss programs should include

  • behavioral treatment, also called lifestyle counseling, that can teach you how to develop and stick with healthier eating and physical activity habits—for example, keeping food and activity records or journals
  • information about getting enough sleep, managing stress, and the benefits and drawbacks of weight-loss medicines
  • ongoing feedback, monitoring, and support throughout the program, either in person, by phone, online, or through a combination of these approaches
  • slow and steady weight-loss goals—usually 1 to 2 pounds per week (though weight loss may be faster at the start of a program)
  • a plan for keeping the weight off, including goal setting, self-checks such as keeping a food journal, and counseling support

Some commercial weight-loss programs have all of these components for a safe and successful weight-loss program. Check for these features in any program you are thinking about trying.

Although these diets may help some people lose a lot of weight quickly—for example, 15 pounds in a month—they may not help people keep the weight off long term. These diets also may have related health risks.

For people who are overweight or have obesity, experts recommend a beginning weight-loss goal of 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight within 6 months.  If you weigh 200 pounds, that would amount to a loss of 10 pounds, which is 5 percent of starting weight, to 20 pounds, which is 10 percent of starting weight, in 6 months.

Changing your lifestyle isn’t easy, but adopting healthy habits that you don’t give up after a few weeks or months may help you maintain your weight loss.

Good luck in your weight loss efforts!


Scroll to Top