For at least 10 days, no solid food is consumed, and the only source of calories and nutrients is a homemade sweetened lemon beverage. This is the essence of the Master Cleanse, also known as the Lemonade Diet.
Let’s take it one step at a time and look at what the Master Cleanse diet is all about, how it works, how to do it, and what are the benefits and drawbacks of this short-term liquid fast.
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What is the Master Cleanse Diet?
The Master Cleanse diet, also known as the Lemonade Diet, is a modified liquid fast that promises significant weight loss and claims to detoxify the body.
The cleanse, created by Stanley Burroughs in 1941, resurfaced in 2004 with the publication of Peter Glickman’s book “Lose Weight, Have More Energy, and Be Happier in 10 Days.”
Although the diet was not designed to be a weight-loss diet, the high-profile celebrities who have lost weight on the Master Cleanse diet are helping to make it one of the most famous weight-loss fads. (Beyonce is said to have used it to lose weight for her role in “Dreamgirls.”)
The core of the cleanse is drinking a lemon beverage with maple syrup and cayenne pepper for at least 10 days. A saltwater solution and herbal laxative teas are also included in the daily regimen.
How the Master Cleanse diet works
The Master Cleanse diet must be properly followed over a 3 to10-day period. Say farewell to solid foods.
Water with squeezed lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper are your new best buddies for at least 10 days (recipe below). A saltwater flush (recipe below) is consumed each morning, followed by additional cups of cleansing lemonade throughout the day.
It is up to the individual when to drink the cleansing lemonade, as long as they drink 6 to 12 glasses per day. The day is then finished with a cup of laxative-based herbal tea.
After at least ten days, you will gradually return to solid foods with soup and fruit juice.
Master Cleanse drink recipes
Here are the instructions for making cleansing lemonade and a saltwater flush. They’re really simple to make, won’t cost you much, and you simply combine the ingredients in a glass for both drinks.
The Master Cleanse Lemonade recipe
- 2 tbsp. freshly sqeezed organic lemon juice (NOT lemonade or concentrate)
- 2 tbsp. pure organic grade B maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup, NOT imitation maple syrup)
- 1/10 tsp. of ground cayenne pepper
- 10 oz. (295 ml) of purified or spring water
The Saltwater Flush recipe
- 1 quart (1 liter) of warm water
- 2 teaspoons of non-iodized salt
How to do the Master Cleanse diet
This diet is pretty easy to follow and is divided into three phases: Ease In, the Master Cleanse, and Ease Out.
Preparenig for the master cleanse “Easing In”
“Easing In” to the master cleanse allows your body to prepare for the fast. Because consuming a liquid-only diet is a drastic shift for most individuals, it is best to ease into it gradually over a few days.
- Day 1 and 2: Eliminate processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, meat, dairy, and added sugars. Consume raw, whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables.
- Day 3: To prepare your body and mind for the upcoming days, switch to a liquid diet. Consume smoothies, pureed soups and broths, and fresh fruit and vegetable juices to become accustomed to a liquid diet.
- Day 4: Throughout the day, drink several glasses of organic, freshly squeezed orange juice. If you want to make the juice more filling, add a spoonful or two of maple syrup.Drink a lot of water as well.
- Day 5: Your body is now more prepared for the cleansing! Begin your Master Cleanse Lemonade Diet.
The main Master Cleanse phase
The Lemonade Diet phase is the most important part of the Master Cleanse.
During this phase, all of your calories will come from a homemade lemon-maple-cayenne beverage. This beverage should be consumed 6 to 12 times a day, or whenever you feel hungry.
This main phase of the diet consists of a saltwater flush in the morning, 6 or more glasses of lemonade throughout the day, and a cup of senna-based herbal tea (laxative) at the end of each day. The Master Cleanse’s authors recommend following the diet for at least 10 days, however, there is no evidence to back up these claims.
The “Ease Out” phase
When breaking a fast, such as the Master Cleanse, it is critical to gradually go back into your normal diet to avoid significant digestive issues.
- Day 1: Orange juice only. Throughout the day, drink several glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice.
- Day 2: Orange juice and organic vegetable soup (no canned soup).
- Day 3: Orange juice, vegetable soup, veggies, salad, fruits.
- Day 4: You can now eat on a regular basis, focusing on whole, minimally processed foods.
What can you eat?
The Master Cleanse is a liquid-only fast.
During the diet, the only meal allowed is a homemade spicy lemonade drink. Warm saltwater in the mornings and herbal laxative tea in the evenings can help induce bowel movement.
Other meals or beverages are not allowed during the main Master Cleanse phase.
Pros of the diet
It’s easy to follow and relatively inexpensive
There is no need for cooking or calorie counting. Because the Master Cleanse allows just fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, salt, tea, and water, food costs are kept to a minimum.
However, because this is a short-term diet, this benefit will only continue as long as you stay on the cleanse.
Quick weight loss
People will lose weight on the Master Cleanse diet because of the minimal caloric intake. Six glasses of spicy lemonade each day supply around 650 calories. The majority of people will consume fewer calories than their bodies burn, resulting in short-term weight loss.
Adults who drank lemon water with honey while fasting for four days dropped an average of 4.8 pounds (2.2 kg) and had considerably reduced triglyceride levels, according to a 2016 study.
While the Master Cleanse diet does result in short-term weight loss, the weight you lose will be mostly water and muscle mass, leading to reduced metabolism and possibly excess weight gain in the future.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “There isn’t any convincing proof that detox or cleansing regimens truly remove toxins from your body or help your health. Weight loss on a detox diet could be due to the fact that these diets are typically low in calories.”
Downsides of the diet
It’s not a well-balanced diet
Drinking simply lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper does not offer your body enough fiber, fat, protein, minerals, and vitamins.
The cleanse is low in necessary minerals and calories, causing the body to starve. This can cause muscular tissue to weaken and the loss of beneficial bacteria that promote digestion and enhance immunity.
While the plan’s recommended 10 days may not have long-term health consequences, repeating the diet or living on it for a longer period of time may increase your risk of vitamin shortages and related medical complications.
It can be stressful and difficult
Calorie shortage and hunger frequently result in crankiness, irritability, and fatigue. Going more than a week without solid food can be quite tough, both mentally and physically.
You might not have the strength to exercise or take on demanding activities at work. Furthermore, limiting your calorie intake can be stressful on the body and temporarily raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which has been related to weight gain over time.
The laxative tea you should drink at the end of the day, along with the diuretic effects of salt water and lemon juice, causes you to use the bathroom more frequently than usual.
Some people may experience unpleasant side effects
The Master Cleanse is a very low-calorie diet that can cause side effects in some people. Headache, irritability, bad breath, weakness, nausea, and poor cold tolerance are the most frequent complaints. Constipation is another typical problem, owing to the fact that no solid food is consumed throughout the cleanse.
It is also not suitable for everyone. Women who are pregnant or lactating should NOT do the Master Cleanse. It is also not suitable for people who have a history of eating disorders.
Note* – Consult your doctor before beginning the lemonade diet cleanse, especially if you are taking long-term medications. There are a variety of side effects you should be aware of before starting this detoxing lemonade cleanse.
Is the Master Cleanse a good diet for you?
If losing weight is your goal, the Master Cleanse diet may be effective in the short term. You will lose weight anytime you restrict your food consumption, especially if you do it drastically. However, once you resume your normal eating habits, you will most likely gain the weight back quickly.
The restricted nature of this diet emphasizes deprivation rather than establishing vital skills such as healthy and nutritious planning and preparation, which can contribute to long-term weight loss success.
The Master Cleanse is a drastic change from a regular diet with no clinical proof or evidence that it works. If you’re still unsure whether the cleanse is good for you, the first step is to consult with your doctor or a certified nutritionist. They can advise you on whether a restrictive diet like this one is appropriate or bad for you.
If your main goal is losing weight, it is best to do so gradually with a well-balanced diet that ensures you obtain all of the nutrients you need.
Disclaimer: All the information on this website is for educational purposes only. Nothing on this website should be considered as health or medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or trusted health professional before following any dietary, nutritional, or herbal recommendations.