The cabbage soup diet and the miracle soup diet are different names for the same fad diet that promises you can lose 10 lbs. in seven days by eating a fat-burning vegetable soup combined with a restricted daily menu. Although you may lose weight, it's not because the soup contains any magic fat-burning abilities; it's because the diet is very low in calories. Any reduction in calories will result in weight loss.
There are several variations on the soup recipe, but most include bouillon or dry soup mix, onions, pepper, celery, canned tomatoes, canned green beans and/or cabbage. Some recipes start with canned beef broth. The soup can be very high in sodium with the canned goods and bouillon flavoring, so use low-sodium versions if you're concerned about the sodium content. Use as much water as needed for your desired consistency -- use less water for a thicker, stew-like soup. You can eat as much of the soup as you care to, at any time.
The soup is the mainstay of the diet, but each day of the week you add food. The first day you can eat all the fruit you'd like, with the exception of bananas. The second day, you can eat all the vegetables you want, except for peas and corn. You can even have a baked potato at dinner. Day three you can eat any food from days one and two. Day four you may have skim milk and up to eight bananas. The fifth and sixth days are the only times protein is added -- you can eat up to 20 oz. of beef. You can also eat 6 fresh tomatoes. The last day of the diet you may have up to 2 cups of brown rice, fruit juice and vegetables.
The soup diet is too low in calories and doesn't provide adequate nutrition. Without enough calories, your body may not be able to produce enough glucose -- your body's primary source of energy. Low glucose levels, or hypoglycemia, can cause hunger, headache, dizziness, lack of focus, anxiety and fatigue. The only way to treat hypoglycemia is by eating; which makes this diet very hard to stick to. Because the diet lacks essential nutrients, your immune system may be compromised, making it harder for you to fight illness and infection.
Although you will lose weight in this diet, it's not true weight loss; instead of losing fat, you'll mostly lose water weight on the soup diet, which is easily regained after you finish the diet and go back to your normal eating habits. You may even lose muscle mass on this diet, because of the low-calorie and low-protein consumption. The lack of calories forces your body to use stored energy, which can come from stored fat, which leads to real weight loss, or from lean muscle tissue. Because of the inadequate protein intake on the soup diet, it's easier for your body to use muscle instead of fat for fuel.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.