Is the master cleanse healthy?

To get the maximum benefit, and completely detox your body 10 days on the diet is what most people recommend.

Of course you should check with you doctor before starting this, or any other diet.

But if you’re just starting out going for just 2 or 3 days will work wonders.

But following the Master Cleanse can be a difficult task, especially when you’re watching TV and a juicy cheeseburger pops up on the screen. Avoiding these temptations is critical and requires a strong will and dedication to the diet. If you can make it through the diet you will be extremely proud of doing so and will be able to feel and experience all of the beneficial effects.

The purpose of the lemonade diet is listed in the following items:

– To dissolve and eliminate toxins and congestion that have formed in any part of the body.
– To cleanse the kidneys and the digestive system.
– To purify the glands and cells throughout the entire body.
– To eliminate all unusable waste and hardened material in the joints and muscles.
– To relieve pressure and irritation in the nerves, arteries, and blood vessels.
– To build a healthy blood stream.
– To keep youth and elasticity regardless of our years.

What this means is that the lemonade diet can be used by just about anybody who seeks any of the benefits mentioned above. Yes, that means just about everybody. However, the lemonade diet is especially useful for:

– Those with sickness that has developed – for all acute and chronic conditions
– Those with a digestive system that needs a rest and a cleansing.
– Those who’s weight has become a problem.
– Those in need of better assimilation and building of body tissue.

The diet can be used at any time and is generally recommended to be used a few times a year. In extreme conditions, such as when it is being used to help with certain illnesses, it can be used more frequently. Repeating the diet a few times yearly will do wonders with keeping the body running properly and in a healthy state.

In case you missed any of the other articles you can find them here:

About Detoxing
Secret to Succeeding on the Master Cleanse /Lemonade Diet
Recipe For Lemonade
Prevent Hunger While on the Cleanse

I’m a coach & advocate for quick, natural solutions to health problems. My Master Cleanse Book has been enjoyed by over 56,000 readers and was recently updated with special cleanses for beauty & weight loss. However, I am not a doctor. I care about your safety and encourage you to make sure you’re in good health before following the advice on this site. You can learn more about me here.
– Raylen Sterling, author, publisher

Does the Master Cleanse Work?

Does a nice tall glass of lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper sound appetizing to you? Whether or not it’s actually tasty, many people are swallowing at least two liters of the drink daily.

Why? Because the combination — known as the “Master Cleanse” — is touted as a great tool for weight loss and clearing toxins from your body. In addition, the Master Cleanse — also called the lemonade diet — is said to increase your energy.

The Master Cleanse: Fast Weight Loss?

The Master Cleanse is a liquid diet that has been around for more than 50 years. It was first developed by alternative health practitioner Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s to treat ulcers and other medical problems; he published it as a book called The Master Cleanser, which is still sold. The Master Cleanse, as it has become known today, has waxed and waned in popularity ever since.

These days, the Master Cleanse is enjoying resurgence because some big-name celebrities have said publicly that they have successfully used it to lose a lot of weight quickly.

The Master Cleanse: The Mix

Although the exact ingredients can vary, a popular version of the Master Cleanse consists of:

  • 14 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 14 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 liters of water

People on the cleanse are supposed to drink every drop of it every day and eat nothing else. Certain laxative teas and a salt-water flush are also sometimes suggested to eliminate toxins from the body. These cause frequent trips to the bathroom. The recommended amount of time to stay on the diet is three to 10 days.

The Master Cleanse: Safety First

“I’ve seen a number of people use the Master Cleanse, but it’s a short-term fix for weight loss,” says Valencia Porter, MD, director of women’s health at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, Calif. “The weight comes right back as soon as you’re done with the diet. If you want long-lasting weight loss, you really have to change your lifestyle.”

According to Dr. Porter, some fasts are useful for jump-starting a more balanced weight-loss program. “The Master Cleanse can be used this way for a few days,” she says.

But be careful not to fast longer than several days, warns Ken Fujioka, MD, director of the Center for Weight Management and of nutrition and metabolic research at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif.

“Since you’re not eating any protein, after a few days of fasting your body will start to break down its own muscle tissue to provide the protein it needs for fuel,” Dr. Fujioka says.

Another unhealthy side effect of staying too long on the Master Cleanse is a reduction in your metabolism. “Obviously you will lose weight on the Master Cleanse because you are eating fewer calories than you normally do,” says Fujioka. “But your body will eventually believe it is starving and slow down your metabolic rate to survive.” A lower rate of metabolism allows the body to survive on fewer calories.

“After the cleanse ends, your metabolism will be lower than expected and your body will want to store more fat,” Fujioka says. “Any weight you have lost will be regained quickly.”

The tried-and-true method for long-term weight loss: Eat less and move more. You can’t drink six glasses of it daily, but it’s a great recipe for lasting results. Furthermore, there is no clear evidence that the Master Cleanse removes harmful toxins from the body.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Weight Center.

I’d gained 10 pounds over the holidays and I was feeling fat, sluggish, and gross.

Obviously I needed a good cleanse. But which one? A juice cleanse? The Green Monster cleanse? The banana cleanse?

I must come clean here and admit that I’ve never done a cleanse before. I eat pretty healthily, and I like to think all the red wine keeps my system chugging along well enough. I don’t like to follow health trends in any case. Gluten-free, my butt.

Yeah, my butt. Bigger than it used to be, by the way. Hence the need for a nice, easy way to lose some weight quickly.

So I asked my massage therapist—okay, my girlfriend who happens to be a massage therapist and is the go-to gal for all things food and woo-woo. She didn’t miss a beat.

“Try the Master Cleanse,” she said. “It’s been around for a long time and it’s the mother of all cleanses.”

Strangely enough, even I’d heard of it, which makes it practically a legend. Created in the 1940s by nutritionist Stanley Burroughs, it became a fad in the ’70s with the publication of his book, The Master Cleanser, and has been enjoying a digital-age resurgence.

The Master Cleanse is a liquid diet that involves drinking nothing but a sweet lemonade-type drink for 10 or more days. And it promises the world: Detox your body! Lose weight! Feel better! Be happy!

You also start every morning with a salt flush, which amounts to chugging 32 ounces of warm, salted water and staying very close to your bathroom. This, according to the dogma, will help detoxify your body.

But main billing goes to the “lemonade,” which consists of 10 ounces room-temperature water, 2 tablespoons fresh organic lemon juice, 2 tablespoons organic Grade B maple syrup, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Tastes like sweet lemonade. It’s actually surprisingly filling, too. The syrup provides some protein.

Proponents of the Master Cleanse sing its praises. Critics, including most doctors and nutritionists, point out that you lose weight because you’re starving yourself, and you’ll gain it all right back, especially since you’re likely to binge on doughnuts the moment your cleanse is over.

Also, the actual science doesn’t back up the many claims made by fans of the cleanse. “It’s a classic quick-fix approach that appeals to the need for immediate gratification,” says Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Center and founder of the National Exchange for Weight Loss Resistance. “There’s no real lasting value. It’s a gimmick.”

As far as the “detoxing” element of cleanses, science doesn’t really cotton to that, either. The kidneys, liver, and GI tract do a perfectly good job of detoxing our bodies as long as we take care of them, Katz assures. “The idea that we can use a program to detox our bodies is mostly nonsense made up by people with something to sell.”

Ouch. Okay, I get it—quick fix. But I was still interested in trying. I’m an essentially thin woman, just with a little extra paunch in the middle due to overeating during the holidays and normal, age-related metabolism changes. Wouldn’t a “quick fix” work for me? I thought it might. And trying the Master Cleanse didn’t require me to buy any equipment, a book, or cartons of special $8 drinks. I could do it at home for the price of some organic lemons and maple syrup. Simple and cheap. What did I have to lose? Besides those 10 pounds, I mean.

So despite the experts’ advice, I decided to try the Master Cleanse. I’m stubborn like that.

Katz did say that a temporary fast can help reset your eating habits, like rebooting a computer. “It’s a potential fresh start, but the only value lies in what happens afterward. Will it result in more thoughtful, disciplined eating?”

Well, yeah, because I eat pretty healthily already. And not very much in any case. If I could drop a few pounds quickly, I could probably manage to keep them off.

I already knew I couldn’t go 10 days on a liquid diet. As a stick-figure-skinny high school student, I would try to fast for 12 hours in solidarity with my more bounteous girlfriends, then unfailingly end up shivering on my bed with a crushing headache. My dad, the giver of my tall and thin genes, would hand me orange juice and lecture me gently. “You can’t do that sort of thing, Jules. You don’t have the body fat.”

Of course, now I have some body fat to work with. Nevertheless, I told myself I’d try the Master Cleanse for one week. Scratch that. Five days.

Did I do it?

Ahem. First, my cogent observations.

First and foremost, when in Hades does anyone find the time to do a cleanse?

Scheduling five days during which you do not eat food or drink alcohol is like trying to nail down a lunch date with President Obama, e.g., next to impossible unless you move mountains. I quickly realized that entire weeks of my life were taken up by various social engagements that revolved around food and/or drink.

Successfully adhering to the Master Cleanse would mean temporarily shutting down my social life. Eek.

My next observation: How do you fight temptation when you are surrounded by food?

It’s not like I’m a monk on some remote mountaintop, where I might simply be able to lock away my one bowl and one spoon and drink nothing but lemony water for 10 days. I’m a mom with teenagers.

That effectively means I have two kids plus all of their friends, their friends’ friends, and one or two others who have snuck in with the crowd. I have 12 boxes of breakfast cereal on my kitchen table, there in constant service to the ravaging appetite of my 13-year-old, 5-foot-11-inch boy-man. My daughter’s friends wander into my kitchen, grinning happily, waiting for me to offer them food, which of course I do. And when they leave, it’s as if the African ants have stripped my kitchen to the studs.

In other words, my life is about food and the feeding of people. My pantry is full. My fruit bowl overfloweth. My refrigerator is the hardest-working appliance on my block.

And I work from home, probably four steps away from this kitchen. Not eating its food requires a certain discipline and willingness to deprive oneself that I don’t normally embrace.

My third and final observation: Who are these people who claim to successfully live on nothing but lemony water for 10 days or more?

There might be one or two totally disciplined, absolutely unwavering sorts who can sit around the dinner table and fight their hunger pangs. But I don’t think most of us are that rigid. Or at least I’m not.

I tried to start the Master Cleanse three times, and three times, I failed.

My first attempt lasted until 5 p.m., at which point scheduling issues got in the way.

It was game night with a bunch of other parents. We play Cards Against Humanity, eat, drink, and shriek with laughter while our kids huddle upstairs looking for the number of Child Protective Services. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through the evening without a sip of wine, and that booze would knock me down after not having eaten all day. I also knew that with wine, my resolve to ignore the bounty of temptation on the table would vaporize. So I preemptively nibbled a slice of cheese and a cracker… and then ate the whole round.

Attempt two: I fell to temptation. My walking buddy showed up at the door that morning bearing coffee. What was I going to tell her? Thanks for buying me that coffee for nothing because I can’t drink it? No. That would be uncivilized.

Third attempt. See: all of the above. I got up, made the kids breakfast, drove my daughter to school, went about my errands, made the lemony drink, and sat down to work. Then I remembered the yogurt in the fridge. And the blueberries. And the walnuts I’d splurged on because they’re so healthy for you. I mean, superfoods abound.

And I thought, This is stupid. I’m starving. All I want is a little dish of yogurt. Is that going to kill me? I also noticed that my increased exercise regimen was starting to work ever so slightly— as indicated by how slightly easier it was to button my pants—and I resolved to toss this Master Cleanse idea on its ear.

You try it and send me pictures to prove you’ve actually done it. I won’t believe you anyway.

For now, I’m back on the exercise routine I let go of during the holidays—interspersing six-mile walks with flow yoga. It’s not a quick fix, but science says that combined with healthy eating, I should be able to lose those 10 pounds and keep them off. So much for the Master Cleanse.

I can vouch for the saltwater flush though.

Does the Master Cleanse diet work?

First, let’s clarify what this “cleanse” is:

What is the Master Cleanse?

The Lemonade Diet, also called the Master Cleanse, is a liquid-only diet consisting of three things: a lemonade-like beverage, salt-water drink, and herbal laxative tea. The claim is simple: Give it 10 days (or more) and you’ll drop pounds, “detox” your digestive system, and feel energetic, vital, happy, and healthy.

Second, let’s clarify what you are actually DOING to your body with this. You are NOT taking in any actual nutrition to support your body. If you’re going to cleanse, you need to take in specific herbs to SUPPORT your vital organs. With this cleanse, you are simply depriving your body of calories, which causes the weight loss, but also flooding your body with sugar, and depriving it of the fiber that would restrain the sugar uptake. Also, you are ingesting a laxative because…guess what, again, you’re not taking in fiber to keep things moving….you have to use something to go to the bathroom.

Stay away from this.

The Master Cleanse Diet (Lemon Detox Diet)

What Is the Master Cleanse Diet?

The Master Cleanse diet is a liquid diet used to detoxify the body and promote weight loss. Stanley Burroughs created it in 1941. He proclaimed that the liquid cleanse was a healthy and natural way to flush the body of deadly toxins, pesticides, and other impurities. It was originally intended to treat ulcers and act as a detox. The cleanse became popular again after Peter Glickman’s book “Lose Weight, Have More Energy, and Be Happier in 10 Days”was published in 2004.

The Master Cleanse diet must be followed strictly over a three- to 10-day period. It’s broken up into three phases: Ease In, the Lemonade Diet, and Ease Out. The Ease-In section isn’t technically required, but it’s recommended as a way to prepare your body for the rest of the diet. This first phase is divided into three days:

  • Day 1: living foods, such as vegetables and whole grains
  • Day 2: soup broths and fruit and vegetable juices
  • Day 3: orange juice

The Lemonade Diet phase is the main component of the Master Cleanse. During this phase, you consume only a special “lemonade,” which is meant to be drunk six to 12 times per day, or whenever you’re hungry.

The Master Cleanse lemonade is made up of:

  • 2 tbsp. of organic lemon juice that must be freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp. of organic grade B maple syrup (not imitation maple syrup, as it contains additives)
  • 1/10 tsp. of ground cayenne pepper
  • 10 oz. of filtered water

During the Lemonade Diet phase, you must also take either a nightly herbal laxative, which you can buy at a drug store, or a morning saltwater flush made up of water and sea salt. These are meant to induce daily bowel movements.

The Ease-Out phase is essentially the Ease-In stage in reverse:

  • Day 1: orange juice
  • Day 2: soup broths and fruit and vegetable juices
  • Day 3: living foods

Once the Master Cleanse has been completed, it’s important to wait at least 60 days before going on another cleanse.

The diet is also sometimes referred to as the Lemon Detox Diet or the Maple Syrup Diet.

The Promise

The Master Cleanse Diet claims to help the body become healthier and more energized. Throughout the cleanse, toxins will naturally be removed from the body and weight will subsequently be lost.

Pros and Cons

Due to the low caloric intake, people will lose weight on the Master Cleanse Diet. However, the diet only includes 600 to 1,200 calories per day, which is well below the recommended 2,000 calories for an average adult. In addition to being extremely low in calories, the cleanse is deficient in vital nutrients, such as:

  • protein
  • carbohydrates
  • essential fats
  • fiber
  • vitamins
  • minerals

There’s also no scientific evidence supporting the claim that the cleanse helps to clear toxins out of the body. In fact, the body is designed to eliminate toxins on its own through the kidneys, liver, and lungs. This means people don’t necessarily need to go on cleanse diets to detoxify their bodies.

Exercise isn’t mentioned as part of the Master Cleanse. However, doing physical activity would probably be very difficult on such a low-calorie diet. People often suffer the following while on the cleanse:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • diarrhea
  • nausea

What Healthline Says

The Master Cleanse is a crash diet that isn’t safe or sustainable. The cleanse is deficient in essential nutrients and calories, which puts the body in a state of starvation. This can reduce muscle tissue and destroy healthy bacteria that aid digestion and boost immunity.

There’s also no scientific evidence that shows that the Master Cleanse actually removes any toxins from the body. People can lose weight on this diet. However, they’ll most likely gain the weight again after this type of weight loss. Repeated periods of weight loss and gain can severely stress your body, particularly your cardiovascular system. There are much healthier and more effective ways to lose weight that don’t involve long-term health risks.

Read more diet reviews “


Would a doctor recommend cleanses or detox diets? Why or why not?


It depends on how the doctor defines the term “cleanse.” One definition suggests it’s a quick, typically unsustainable, nutrient-deficient detox diet. Medical doctors rarely promote this type of cleanse or detox diet because supporting research is significantly lacking. A different definition of a “cleanse,” refers to cleaning up your diet and environment. It might include removing potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals from your home, emphasizing fruits and vegetables, and reducing junk foods, sugar, and empty calories. This approach may be recommended to help people feel the difference when they clean up their life, which can be motivating and a way to jumpstart long-term change for some people.

Natalie Butler, RDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.mady70/iStock/Getty Images

There are minor dangers and majors dangers associated with the Master Cleanse Diet. There also is no reason for anyone to try the Master Cleanse Diet, since it is based on theories about detox and cleanse diets–both refer to diets that aim to “cleanse” your system of toxins — that have no basis in fact. Such restricted calorie diets have been in the news in 2010 and 2011 because of their use by Hollywood stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Beyonce Knowles, who lost 20 pounds for her part in the movie Dreamgirls. However, Knowles warned people not to emulate her. “I would never recommend it to anyone unless you are doing a movie and it’s necessary and you have proper help. There are ways to lose weight healthily if you want to lose weight.”


YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

The Master Cleanse Diet is based on the 1976 book The Master Cleanser, written by Stanley Burroughs. Also known as the Lemonade Diet, you mix fresh lemon juice with water, add maple syrup and cayenne, and drink at least six to 12 glasses per day. No food is allowed. You can also drink decaffeinated herbal tea. In addition, you take laxatives to “flush out” your system. The Diet lasts from three to 10 days. Although the Master Cleanse Diet originally was intended to be a detox rather than a weight loss diet, it is now being used for both purposes. However, it doesn’t work for either purpose, since weight-loss mostly consists of water weight, which you will gain back when you return to your normal diet.


Matthias Brenner/iStock/Getty Images

In theory, detox or cleanse diets such as the Master Cleanse Diets are designed to remove toxins from your body. Many cleanse diets rely in part on fasting or on eating on particular food, such as grapefruit. All of them are counter-productive in terms of detoxing the body. “There’s little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body,” says Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky. “Most ingested toxins are efficiently and effectively removed by the kidneys and liver and excreted in urine and stool.”

Minor Dangers

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Some of the common side effects of detox or cleanse diets are — dehydration, fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Such side effects are typical of a semi-starvation diet such as the Master Cleanse. If you stay on such a diet for too long, your body will react by going into ketosis, a starvation mode that leads to muscle breakdown. You will suffer from a deficiency of necessary nutrients as well. Plus, taking daily laxatives ensures that you will spend much of your time in the bathroom.

Major Dangers

ARICAN/iStock/Getty Images

A crash diet or cleanse diet right before your 20th high school reunion won’t damage you in the long run. But if you frequently use the Master Cleanse Diet, you could be setting yourself up for severe health consequences. Cardiologist Isadore Rosenfeld specifically singles out the Master Clease Diet as an example of a detox diet that can damage your heart. “A crash diet once won’t hurt your heart,” Rosenfeld told CNN Health. “But crash dieting repeatedly increases the risk of heart attack.” Nutrition professor Linda Bacon states that such calorie restrictive diets can lead to heart muscle loss and damaged blood vessels. “All that shrinking and growing causes micro tears that create a setup for atherosclerosis and other types of heart disease.”

Like many concepts that have been around for generations, the Master Cleanse is shrouded in intrigue. Bring it up as a topic of conversation, and reactions range from loathing to gratitude. While the experience will be different for everyone, the key to success is knowledge. Follow the directions precisely, and the joy of radiant health will be yours.

In 1976, Stanley Burroughs put into book form what he considered the finest knowledge in healing: the lemonade diet, or as he termed it, the master cleanser (The Master Cleanser with Special Needs and Problems, Burroughs Books, 1976). Based on a fasting and cleansing regimen that Burroughs himself created in 1940, the book gathered 36 years of research into a simple, doable system-one that, in his words, accepts no limitations on the ability of the body to heal itself.

What’s in the Cleanse?
The cleanse consists of 6-12 glasses daily of homemade lemonade, a cup of herbal laxative tea each night before bed, and a quart of salt water first thing in the morning. You can also drink as much purified or spring water as you like, as well as an occasional cup of mint tea. To sustain a 10-day cleanse, you’ll need about 80 large lemons, three 32-ounce bottles of grade B organic maple syrup, a half pound of non-iodized sea salt (try light grey Celtic sea salt), cayenne pepper, senna tea (pure or in combination with milder herbs), and at least eight gallons of purified water.
The morning salt water flush comprises 2 level teaspoons of non-iodized salt to one quart of spring or purified water. Start your cleanse with one cup of senna tea the night before and complete each day with it.

The ingredients in the lemonade form a complete balance of nutrients that work together. The lemon juice begins to break down layers of waste in the colon. The maple syrup contains not only the sugar needed for energy but also a wide variety of minerals-sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorus, sulfur, and silicon-and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and pantothenic acid (B5). Cayenne pepper breaks down mucus, contains B and C vitamins, and dilates the blood vessels, which warms the body. As for the other elements, the laxative tea each night prompts the intestines to contract, causing elimination. The quart of salt water first thing in the morning flushes out the waste that’s been loosened during the night. Finally, the chlorophyll in that occasional cup of mint tea neutralizes body odors released during the cleansing process.

Dealing with Cravings
Peter Glickman, author of Lose Weight, Have More Energy & Be Happier in 10 Days, has been researching the Master Cleanse since 2004. In his book, he notes that three out of four people on the cleanse experience no hunger pangs. But many think they do-in the form of cravings. That hankering for pizza? It’s just part of the detox process. Make it past the third day, Glickman says, and you’ll begin to experience the positive effects. “Finishing the cleanse is not about will power,” he adds, “but about knowledge.” Glickman presents the lemonade diet exactly as Burroughs created it, but he also addresses detox symptoms. Knowing what to expect is half the battle.

In addition to cravings, detox symptoms include irritability, aches and pains (including caffeine headaches), lethargy, and eliminations that burn. Many of the symptoms disappear the next day. After day three, most people experience no more detox symptoms until day seven or eight, and then it’s smooth sailing. Other than on symptom days, people report having unusual energy, strength, and clarity that continues throughout the cleanse.

is it worth it?
Definitely. The Master Cleanse not only rids the body of toxins and enables it to shed pounds, it helps people look and act younger. The benefits cross the entire realm of human experience: physical, mental, and spiritual. “Essentially, the Master Cleanse presses the body’s reset button,” Glickman says. Jeanette Ryan, DC, a doctor of natural medicine in Santa Monica, California, agrees. “The Master Cleanse resets our insulin receptor sites. It clears all saturated fat on the cellular level.” Having the receptor sites open, she explains, takes the level of insulin resistance-a key factor in weight gain-down. And the cleanse promotes absolute detoxification on the cellular level.

As a reducing diet, the cleanse can’t be beat. According to Burroughs, “Fat melts away at the rate of about two pounds per day for most people, with no harmful effects.” But the Master Cleanse is much more than a reducing diet. It’s a master catalyst for healing mucus diseases, from asthma and hay fever to sinus and bronchial problems. Diseases that accompany calcium deposits in joints, muscles, cells, and glands, as well as cholesterol in the veins and arteries, are dissolved and flushed away. Skin disorders disappear. As toxins are eliminated, every type of infection goes with them-and so do cravings for drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. The cleanse brings down blood pressure, reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, and can even improve mental illness.

Enhance Your Cleanse
Although the 10-day regimen sounds severe, there are ways to enhance it. Ryan emphasizes the importance of a liver flush a day before, or a month before, to open the detox pathways. Adding food or supplements while on the cleanse defeats the purpose, but she encourages the use of 5-HTP to help counteract the drop in serotonin that occurs while fasting. Taking 50 milligrams one or two evenings decreases irritability. And if you extend the Master Cleanse beyond two weeks, she recommends whey isolate for protein. The most important factor, Ryan says, is to think of the lemonade as an intravenous drip and sip it-“not gulp it”-every 15 minutes throughout the day to stabilize the blood glucose level.

You can judge for yourself the appropriate duration of the cleanse-just check your tongue. During detoxification, the tongue becomes fuzzy and coated. When it’s a healthy, clean pink color, the coast is clear. This usually occurs around the tenth day, but if it doesn’t, continue the diet a few more days.

Seeing a pink tongue, of course, doesn’t mean your cleanse is over and you can safely gorge on food. Breaking the fast properly is critical; the body must gradually adjust to processing solid food again. Burroughs outlines two methods to ease off the fast, one geared to vegetarians and one to everyone else.

For two days after the cleanse, sip several 8-oz. glasses of fresh orange or grapefruit juice throughout the day, and extra water. On the third day, have the juice for breakfast, raw fruit for lunch, and a raw vegetable or fruit salad for dinner. Begin eating normally on the fourth day.

Processed-Food Eaters:
As with vegetarians, it takes four days to safely return to a normal diet. Sip several glasses of orange or grapefruit juice and extra water for the first two days. For dinner on the second day, enjoy homemade vegetable soup broth, just a few vegetables, and, if you like, rye wafers. On the third day, it’s freshly squeezed juice for breakfast, more of the soup for lunch, and vegetables, salads or fruit for dinner. Begin your normal diet the next day, but start with Master Cleanse lemonade or fruit juice for breakfast.


one glass

2 Tbs. lemon or lime juice, freshly squeezed, preferably from organic lemons

2 Tbs. grade B organic maple syrup

¹⁄10 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

8 oz. spring or purified water, medium hot (or cold)

Get Shoppging!

garden of life raw cleanse features uncooked, untreated and unadulterated ingredients designed to support your body’s natural digestive and detoxification systems and activate the entire digestive tract-try before the cleanse.

nature’s way 5-htp It is recommended to take 5-HTP with the Master Cleanse to combat decreased levels of serotonin. This 5-HTP is enteric-coated and gentle on the stomach.

paradise herbs and essentials orac-energy protein greens One scoop contains 22 gm of pea protein and the equivalent of 24 servings of fruits and veggies-great before or after the cleanse.

natural factors whey factors (Unflavored) Low in lactose, Whey Factors is 100% nonhydrolyzed whey protein that’s easy to digest-use if you are doing a longer cleanse.

renew life first cleanse Formulated using whole herbs (gentler on your system), First Cleanse is ideal for first-time cleansers or those with sensitive digestive tracts-use before the cleanse.

No less than superstar Beyonce is reported to have gone on the Master Cleanse diet, an extreme detox diet which is said to have enabled her to drop 20 pounds in the span of two weeks. Given the highly restrictive cleanse, it’s no surprise that one of the benefits of Master Cleanse is rapid weight loss. So, how do you do it? And more importantly, should you even try?

What is the Master Cleanse Diet?

Master Cleanse, a.k.a. the Lemonade Diet, is a modified juice fast that doesn’t allow any food and only allows the consumption of a drink made of lemons, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. Not only does this juice fast push you to drop pounds, fast, but proponents claim it gives you the benefits of fasting and also rids the body of toxins. (Doctors, on the other hand, stress that the human body is already equipped with a natural detoxifying system, made up of your liver and other organs, so anything that “detoxes” should be taken with a grain of salt.)

How It Works

Master Cleanse comes in three main phases:

Ease-In. This is done three days before the actual Lemonade Diet to help prep your body for the highly restrictive main event. It’s not mandatory to ease yourself into the diet but Master Cleanse advocates recommend it to keep you from shocking your system. It’s said that it also makes it easier to stick to the Lemonade Diet when you’ve sufficiently prepared for it.

The official Master Cleanse website outlines the Ease-In phase:

Day 1 – Regular diet, but try to eat “live foods,” such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. Avoid processed food, meat, and dairy.

Day 2 – Fruits and vegetables

Day 3 – Fruit and vegetable juice, or broth

Day 4 – Three liters of fresh orange juice, which may be mixed with two tablespoons of maple syrup per liter

Make sure you also drink lots of water.

The Lemonade Diet. You can do this for 10 days or more, drinking 6 to 18 glasses per day. To make the elixir, mix together 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 8 to 12 ounces of purified water—the official website warns against using distilled water. (You can find these ingredients at Healthy Options.) You can drink another cup of water as a chaser but make sure you don’t drink more water than lemonade per day.

Ease-Out. Just as the Ease-In phase prepares your system for the restricted number of calories, the Ease-Out phase prepares your body for the re-introduction of food. It’s just the Ease-In phase done in reverse:

Day 1 after Lemonade Diet – Orange juice

Day 2 – Fruit and vegetable juice, or broth

Day 3 – Fruits and vegetables

Day 4 – Regular diet

While the Ease-In isn’t necessary, the Ease-Out phase is. In his book The Complete Master Cleanse, Tom Woloshyn explains that easing out is an important transition from lemonade to food, preparing your digestive system for more complex foods. He writes, “Just as you wouldn’t try running a marathon after being a couch potato for three years, you wouldn’t brake a cleanse by launching into full-feasting mode. You want your digestive system to get a well-deserved brake so that your body can start back on the right track.”

Daily Detox Teas and the Salt Water Flush are also part of the Master Cleanse—you can take a detox tea at night and have an optional Salt Water Flush in the morning to help your bowel movement along—after all, you won’t be getting any fiber while on the Lemonade Diet so these two things can keep you from getting constipated.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Master Cleanse

Do stick to a schedule. Space out your drinks throughout the day instead of waiting until you get thirsty to make yourself some Master Cleanse lemonade—thirst is already a sign of dehydration.

Don’t scrimp on the maple syrup and go for Grade B. Grade B maple syrups are darker and are said to contain more nutrients. And don’t think of skipping maple syrup altogether as this provides you with much-needed calories on this calorie-deficient diet.

Do consider starting the Lemonade Diet on a long weekend as you’ll likely be going to the bathroom numerous times.

Don’t look to the Master Cleanse diet for permanent weight loss. While it can help you hit a goal weight for an event or a beach trip, keep in mind that you’ll easily gain all the weight back once you start eating normally again.

The bottom line: There are healthier ways to lose weight but you’ll need more time and patience. If you need to lose weight fast, you can give the Master Cleanse a try but make sure you ease yourself in and out, and consult your physician if you have any existing health conditions.

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