What Makes The Cabbage Soup Diet So Concerning

People searching for a weight-loss diet may be tempted to try the cabbage soup diet, a restrictive eating plan that calls for cabbage soup to be eaten two to three times per day for a week. But there are some things to know before you embark on this plan, and they may not all be good news.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the diet lasts seven days and in addition to cabbage soup you can eat chicken, brown rice, beef, and some fruits and vegetables on specified days. Health Digest spoke with nutritionist, chef, and food writer Robin Miller, who urged people to be cautious about following the plan. "The cabbage soup diet is alarming because it's incredibly strict, with zero wiggle room. If you follow the plan, you'll likely consume around 1,000 calories per day, or half of the recommended 2,000 calories for most adults. That's a dangerous proposition, even under a doctor's supervision," she said.

Because calorie intake is so low it is likely you'll lose weight, but it may not be lasting. Miller said that water and fat could account for any loss, but it will likely be regained once you return to your normal eating habits. Additionally, you could lose muscle. "Muscle burns more calories at rest than all other tissues (including fat), so it's not something you want to squander if weight loss is your goal," she said.

It will leave you hungry for nutrients

The cabbage soup diet also leaves you lacking many of the important nutrients you get from a balanced diet. "Since the cabbage soup diet severely restricts the foods you can eat, you miss out on much-needed nutrients from a variety of food sources. The diet is devoid of complex carbohydrates (which fuel the body and brain), protein, vitamins, and minerals," Miller said.

Any diet plan intended to promote weight loss should also include exercise, which Miller said is "an important part of any weight loss plan." But since the cabbage soup diet is so low in calorie consumption it may leave you too fatigued to work out anyway.

Overall, the cabbage soup diet will help you drop some pounds quickly, but they'll likely to be due to water loss and will come back. "The most effective diet plans set you up for a lifetime of success because they offer realistic lifestyle changes, not one week of calorie deprivation," Miller said.