ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Testing the Cabbage Soup Diet: Day 4

Updated on January 30, 2008

With Day 4 on the cabbage soup diet I've found a bit of a dip in energy again. This explanation of the cabbage soup diet (which I'm pretty sure is one of the first - it's the one I remember seeing many years ago) says that at this point the body needs a burst of carbohydrates and other things to lessen the craving for sweets, which seems about right for how I've felt. Fortunately as a consequence today's additional food is bananas and milk!

The plan allows you 8 bananas and as much skimmed milk as you can drink (or 8 glasses according to another page). To be honest milk doesn't really agree with me all that well (I think I may be mildly lactose intolerant - it always makes me feel bloated and a bit nauseous although I love the taste and texture) so I've replaced all but the first two glasses with unsweetened soy milk, which is a bit grim but in a banana smoothie (which is how I'm drinking it all today) is almost undetectable. So all day I've been enjoying delicious ice-cold banana smoothies. Not a bad diet this!

And tomorrow it gets better. Tomorrow I get my first meat since Sunday - up to 20 ounces of beef. I'm salivating (and planning obsessively) as I type this.

I've been doing a fair amount of background digging on the cabbage soup diet, and the debate around it is quite fascinating (and often quite depressing in the sheer level of stupidity and poor argument). There really doesn't seem to be an "original" version of the diet, although there are several cash-in books (which I'm not going to link to because I'm not going to give them the support) including "The New Cabbage Soup Diet" and "The Ultimate Cabbage Soup Diet". There is however a sizeable body of testimonials, on all sorts of pages and from different sources, from people who have used it and found positive results.

Most of these are detailed enough to be fairly convincing - and in any case, who would try to artificially boost impressions of the diet's effectiveness if no-one really owns it and most people use a free online version? The only one of these which I found mildly worrying was an article from Weight Loss at Families.com (now sadly unavailable), in which the writer calculated (with pretty convincing figures) that she lost a significant amount of lean muscle mass as well as fat. This is not an effect I've found investigated anywhere else, so there's no verification from other sources.

The amazing thing is how many articles there are debunking or attacking the cabbage soup diet, and all of them poorly written, based on a bunch of assumptions and unverified statements, and often massively inaccurate. I've found over 20 so far (I'm not going to link to them, you can find them all on Google and they're not worth the effort), all based largely on the same set of straw man arguments:

"It's not a longterm weight loss solution" - of course it's not, it lasts for 7 days!

"It doesn't provide all the things the body needs" - which is why you don't do it for long.

"Weight loss will be entirely from water and lean muscle tissue" - then prove it! This oft-repeated statement is completely unsupported by any research!

"If you come off the diet and stuff yourself all the next day then you'll put the weight right back on" - yes, and if you come off the diet and then stab yourself in the brain, you will die.

A handful of these articles lead into a final conclusion of "So you should use MY diet, available for only $29.99!", which at least explains why they're rubbishing this one. But a fair number are independent bloggers and writers. The only conclusion I can see is that a diet of this kind is an easy target with which to fill an article without doing any real research because "it's just a fad" and easy to knock down. Maybe I shouldn't complain; let's face it, modern journalism and particularly internet journalism usually errs strongly on the side of less critical thinking (just ask Ben Goldacre). But this isn't smart critical journalism, it's cheap and easy hit work based on a total absence of solid facts. Depressing.

Hopefully keeping a reasonably complete written record of my experiences on this diet (and after) will provide a slightly more accurate impression of its effects. Unless I drop dead tomorrow from malnutrition, of course.

Mark Hewitt is an English foodie, cook, philosopher, geek, shaman and writer. At the start of 2007 he sold or gave away almost all his possessions and left on a backpacking journey round the world, the purpose being (at least in part) to figure out why he would want to do such a thing. You can follow his journey and find other articles at: Seeking An Extraordinary Life.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)