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Cabbage Soup Diet: Negative Side Effects and Alternatives

The cabbage soup diet is a short-term weight loss diet which has been around for decades. As the name implies, this extreme plan involves eating almost nothing but cabbage soup for seven days and claims to leave those who complete it around ten pounds lighter.

Why is the cabbage soup diet so popular?

Of course, the cabbage soup diet is so popular because it promises quick weight loss, though any nutrition expert will discourage it.

What is the cabbage soup diet?

This diet involves a strict regimen, which goes as follows:

  1. Day 1 -- cabbage soup and fruit (no bananas)
  2. Day 2 -- cabbage soup, vegetables, and one baked potato with butter
  3. Day 3 -- cabbage soup and as many fruits and vegetables as you like (no bananas or potatoes)
  4. Day 4 -- cabbage soup, unlimited bananas and skimmed milk
  5. Day 5 -- cabbage soup, ten ounces of beef, and up to six tomatoes
  6. Day 6 -- cabbage soup, beef, and vegetables (no potato)
  7. Day 7 -- cabbage soup, vegetables, brown rice, and unlimited sugar-free juice

Throughout the diet, no tea, coffee, or any other beverages are allowed -- only water and unsweetened fruit juice on fruit days.

Negative health effects of the cabbage soup diet

While the cabbage soup diet can help you shed weight quickly, most of what you do drop during the diet is water weight, not fat, and will return almost immediately when the week is up. Weight fluctuations aside, here are some of the more severe health effects of the cabbage soup diet:

  • Excess sodium intake -- if you make the soup using canned vegetable juice
  • Inadequate caloric intake -- it's likely that you'll suffer from weakness, fatigue, and dizziness, meaning you won't be able to exercise properly for the week
  • Inadequate protein intake -- unless you take a protein supplement, your protein intake will be particularly low, so you could lose a lot of the lean muscle mass that keeps you looking toned
  • Nutritionally inadequate -- you won't get all the nutrients you need without supplements

Other negative effects of the cabbage soup diet

As well as negatively impacting your health, the cabbage soup diet can cause:

  • Flatulence
  • Irritability
  • Loss of concentration
  • Discomfort

Cabbage Soup Diet Alternatives: How to Lose Weight Healthily

There are plenty of alternatives to the fad cabbage soup diet which allow you to lose weight healthily and quickly, without starving yourself. If you're looking to drop a few pounds in a short period, try the following:

  1. Cut back on sugar and carbohydrates

Reduce the level of sugars and carbohydrates you get from your diet. When you cut out sugar and carbs, you'll find that your hunger levels start to diminish, and you'll need far fewer calories to feel satisfied.

  1. Eat plenty of protein, fats and vegetables

Try to ensure all your meals include a protein source, a fat source, and plenty of low-carb vegetables. Protein sources like meat, fish, eggs, tofu, quinoa, and buckwheat help maintain muscle and leave you feeling fuller for longer.

  1. Lift weights

To really enhance your weight loss, start lifting weights two to three times a week. If you're new to weight lifting, you can ease yourself in with lighter free-weights until you get used to the movements. Lifting weight not only burns calories effectively but raises your metabolism and keeps it running at a higher rate, long after your workout is complete.

If you're struggling to lose weight, fad diets aren't the solution. Combine proper nutrition with a steady cardio and weight lifting routine to ensure the changes you make are healthy. For more advice and if you want to learn more about nutrition, why not come and speak with one of our personal trainers? Visit us today or find a gym near you to start your new fitness adventure with PureGym!

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