There are many variations of the recipe for the cabbage soup diet, but most use black pepper with either a bit of salt, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar to spice up the dish. Some recipes use dried onion soup mix or fresh herbs to give the soup flavor.
Most variations of the cabbage soup diet promise a loss of 10 to 17 pounds over the course of a week. The strict regimen lets dieters eat unlimited quantities of the soup during that time but only a very limited selection of other foods on specific days. The soup normally contains cabbage, tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, peppers and chicken stock or bouillon.
The Mayo Clinic cautions those who are considering the diet and recommends that participation last no more than one week. It concedes that dieters might see significant weight loss due to the drastically limited calories but warns that they might lose lean tissue or water weight instead of burning off fat calories. When the diet ends, it's probable that dieters will see the weight come right back. There may be other side effects that come along with the diet. The amount of cabbage consumed may cause excess flatulence, and the lack of proper nutrition may cause weakness and fatigue.