The Stewardess diet is a fad diet also sometimes called the cabbage soup diet, the Sacred Heart Hospital diet or the Mayo Clinic diet. It is a very low-calorie diet that dates back to at least the 1950s. Although you may lose some weight on this diet, it doesn't provide enough nutrients, and the weight loss isn't likely to last once you go back to eating your normal diet. Talk with your doctor before starting this or any diet.
The key component to this diet is cabbage soup. The first day you eat as much soup as you want, along with water, unsweetened tea, cranberry juice and any fruit but bananas. The next day, you eat the soup along with nonstarchy vegetables and a baked potato with butter. Day three involves eating just soup, fruits and vegetables. Day four you eat up to eight bananas along with soup and skim milk. The fifth day you eat up to six tomatoes, 10 to 20 ounces of beef or skinless chicken and at least one bowl of soup. The sixth day you eat meat along with nonstarchy vegetables, and the final day you can only eat soup, unsweetened fruit juice, nonstarchy vegetables and brown rice.
You shouldn't stay on this diet for more than one week because of the very limited number of calories and the lack of essential nutrients. If you don't want to gain back the weight you lose during the week, you'll need to transition into a healthier reduced-calorie diet that provides enough calories so you have the energy to exercise.
Weight Loss Potential
You're likely to lose some weight on this diet if you can manage to stick with it, but that won't be due to any magical properties of the cabbage soup. It's because the diet is extremely low in calories. Although the exact number of calories on this diet varies based on how much of the allowed foods you eat each day, the Stewardess diet is usually classified as a very low-calorie diet. These diets typically contain 800 calories or fewer per day. Most of what you lose will most likely be water weight, not fat, so once you go back to eating normally it will come right back. A healthy weight-loss diet provides at least 1,200 calories per day for women and at least 1,800 calories per day for men.
Side Effects and Considerations
The low calorie content of the Stewardess diet may cause you to have difficulty concentrating and make you feel weak and lightheaded. You'll also most likely be hungry. You'd be better off choosing a healthy and safe weight-loss program. Look for a diet that doesn't exclude any food groups, promises no more than 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week, includes both diet and exercise recommendations and incorporates a maintenance phase to teach you the diet and lifestyle changes you need to make to keep the weight off once you lose it.