The Master Cleanse Diet: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

lemonade diet

The Master Cleanse is also known as the Lemonade Diet, the Lemon Detox Diet, the Lemon Cleanse, and the Maple Syrup Diet.

What is the Master Cleanse?

maple syrup cleanse

The Master Cleanse, or Lemonade Diet, is a liquid diet where you drink only 3 things for 10 days. You drink tea, saltwater, and lemonade made with maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice.

How Did the Master Cleanse Start?

The Master Cleanser

It all started with Stanley Burroughs’s book, The Master Cleanser, which was published in 1941. He originally started this regimen as an ulcer cure, but eventually applied it as a weight loss program and cure for other illnesses. Burroughs’ original text sounds very similar to the newer detox diets of today: the point of the Master Cleanse is to clean the body of toxins that had built up in the body from meat, dairy, medicines like antibiotics, pesticides, and unhealthy food and drink.

Peter Glickman, a modern advocate of the Master Cleanse, expanded on the original diet with his book, Lose Weight, Have More Energy and Be Happier in 10 Days, and his website.

The Master Cleanse went viral in 2008 when Beyonce shared that she used it to lose 20 pounds very quickly.

Will You Lose Weight on the Master Cleanse?

master juice cleanse

Yes, you will. It’s basically a juice fast and you will ingest about 650-1,200 calories a day. It’s a low-calorie diet with a colon cleaning component. Because of these two factors, you’ll probably lose both water weight and real weight. But critics point out that you should be careful you aren’t also losing essential muscle since you do not eat protein, fat, and other essential nutrients and minerals while on the diet.

Should You Try It?

lemon detox diet

The medical community does not endorse this diet, but most doctors seem to agree that a juice fast or detox can be done for a few days without serious harm. Since the Master Cleanse is 10 days, it falls on the higher side of what many scientists and doctors think is safe. Burroughs said you can follow the regimen for up to 40 days, but almost all nutritionists and doctor recommend against it.

Glickman recommends the Master Cleanse for people who are transitioning to a new diet or lifestyle. For example, some people use it to “reset” their taste buds before starting a raw food diet. Just like with other juice cleanses, some people do report that they have positive experiences with overcoming unhealthy cravings.

In addition to kick-starting a healthier lifestyle, Glickman cites better health, weight loss, detoxification, and more energy as positive outcomes to doing the Master Cleanse.

If you’d rather be safe than sorry, you might be able to modify the diet and still see benefits. Supermodel Heidi Klum shared that she was happy doing the diet for 5 days but then added in healthy whole foods like avocado and eggs for the last 5 days.

If You Want To Try the Master Cleanse, Here’s How:

Master Cleanse kit

1. Start every day with a saltwater flush.

How to Make the Saltwater Flush:
2 TSP of uniodized sea salt to a quart of lukewarm water.
Drink the entire quart on an empty stomach.

This makes you go to the bathroom, so stay close to one. Use less salt if things get a little bit too… explosive.

2. Throughout the day, drink at least 6 glasses of the Master Cleanse “lemonade”.

Experts of this diet recommend you drink just 6 glasses if you’re looking to lose a lot of weight quickly. But drink more if you are very active, you weigh a lot more than average, or if whole body detox is your goal.

How to Make the Master Cleanse “Lemonade”:
2 TBSP organic fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 TBSP organic maple syrup
1/10 tsp organic cayenne pepper
10 oz warm water

3. Every night, drink an herbal laxative tea.

For 10 days, you’re only allowed the saltwater flush, the “lemonade,” and an herbal laxative tea. You can’t have any solid food and you can’t drink alcohol.

After 10 days, you can gradually add foods back in, but only a few at first. Start with juice and soup and then move to raw fruits and vegetables. After this, the plan calls for eating very little meat and no dairy.


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