If you’re looking for a quick solution to lose a few extra pounds, the ‘Lemonade Diet’ or ‘Master Cleanse Program’ could work for you. With celebrities like Beyonce to Angelina Jolie claiming to have lost weight quickly with this diet, it has managed to stay in the spotlight. The Lemon Detox is a stringent diet consisting of an all-liquid fast where a person is only supposed to drink a homemade lemon beverage for 10 to 14 days and not consume any solids.
The program claims that it helps you quickly lose weight and detoxifies your body from toxins and chemicals. However, another viewpoint warns against this diet as it has a high sugar intake and can cause nutritional deficiencies. It can work as a quick-fix solution, but it can’t be adopted as an excellent long-term solution for weight loss.
So, before you decide to jump on the bandwagon, let’s read about its benefits and flaws.
What is Lemon Detox?
The ‘Master Cleanse Program’ was originally developed by the alternative health practitioner Stanley Burroughs in 1940. He published a book ‘The Master Cleanser and Healing for the Age of Enlightenment’ in 1976, which added to the diet’s popularity. Burroughs claimed that this diet causes weight loss, has cleansing benefits, and flushes out harmful toxins from the body, especially from the colon.
This is regarded as a very extreme form of weight loss diet, in which solid food is completely banned for 10 days. Every time you feel hungry, you can only drink a special beverage made from lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water.
How to Prepare the Lemon Detox?
To prepare the classic ‘Master Cleanse’ recipe, you need only four items:
- 2 tablespoons of lemon/ lime juice (around 20 to 30 ml, freshly squeezed)
- 2 tablespoons of organic maple syrup (around 20 ml)
- 1/10th teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 10 ounces of pure distilled water (around 250 ml; hot or cold as per the preference)
- Mix all the above ingredients and drink it whenever you’re hungry. At least six servings are recommended in a day.
In addition to the lemonade drink, one quart of warm salt water is consumed every morning to stimulate bowel movements. Herbal laxative teas are also permitted.
The Master Cleanse program is recommended to be followed for at least 10 days and can last up to 40 days. Burroughs recommends that a fresh lemonade drink should be prepared every time, but if it doesn’t work for you, prepare a big batch and store it in the fridge.
Put all the four ingredients in a jar and shake well so that they blend. Drink it hot or cold as per your preference. While preparing a big batch of lemonade, make a concentrate by combining lemon juice with maple syrup and store it in a dark container in the refrigerator. Mix cayenne pepper and water with 4 tablespoons of this concentrate and consume.
Easing in and out
The Lemon Detox is a very radical diet, and once you decide to give it a try, it is recommended that you ease in and out of it slowly.
- On days 1 and 2, start by cutting out all processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, meat, dairy, and added sugars. Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables. Switch to a liquid diet of smoothies, juice, and soups from day 3 and gradually cut these out too.
- By day 5, you should be strictly on the lemon water.
- Follow the same transition towards the end of the diet. Gradually, add juice and soups to your liquid diet. Later, add fruits and vegetables and proceed to your regular diet. However, stay away from processed food and eat a healthy diet even after the diet duration.
How to Follow it?
A typical day in ‘The Master Cleanse’ program follows a strict pattern. Start your day with a drink made by mixing one quart of warm water with 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Afterward, whenever you feel hungry, drink Master Cleanse lemonade. As many as six servings of this lemonade are allowed in a day. Have a cup of herbal laxative tea just before bed. You can skip it also.
Does Lemon Detox Diet Help Lose Weight?
As this diet drastically cuts down the consumption of calories, it will lead to weight loss in the short term. There is a simple logic followed here. The normal recommended daily calorie intake for a man and a woman is 2,500 and 1,600, respectively, but the Lemon Detox diet restricts this intake to only 600. Because of this, our body starts burning stored fat, causing weight loss.
Apart from this, cayenne pepper also plays a crucial role in burning the calories from the fat tissues. It has been found that people can lose up to 2 lbs of weight in a day via this diet. It also helps us cut down unhealthy fats and trans fats as junk, and processed food is restricted. However, the effects are short-term, and you may go back to your previous body weight once the program is over.
Benefits of Lemon Diet
The top pick here is weight loss, but the lemon diet also has several other benefits. (1)
- The Lemon Detox diet is straightforward to follow and requires minimum effort.
- This is a very inexpensive diet to follow as all four ingredients are readily available at home.
The ingredients of detox water are helpful in many ways:
- Lemon/ Lime – Being rich in vitamin C, lemon juice helps improve your immunity. It also enhances the quality of your skin.
- Maple Syrup – Being a good source of nutrients, maple syrup helps in detoxifying the body while adding sweetness to the drink.
- Cayenne Pepper – It has detox properties and improves bowel movements. It also contains carotenoids and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
While the Lemon Detox diet can lead to rapid weight loss, it has its flaws. Experts believe that this diet is highly unscientific. Here is a list of the side effects of the Master Cleanse program. (2)
- This diet doesn’t provide enough fiber, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals required by the body.
- It also has a very high sugar content because of maple syrup, much higher than recommended by the World Health Organization. It is advised that less than five percent of your daily calories should come from added sugar (roughly 25 grams/day). But a single serving of this lemonade contains 23 grams of sugar, and six servings will give you around 138 grams in a day.
- Because of all the restrictions, the Master Cleanse Program can be challenging to adhere to. This can cause a lot of stress.
- Starvation can also cause certain short-term effects like nausea, fatigue, constipation, and dizziness.
- This diet can cause nutritional deficiencies and also puts you at risk of loss of muscle mass.
- People with certain conditions should strictly stay away from this diet, such as pregnant and breastfeeding women and those with heart ailments and eating disorders.
A Word of Caution
Apart from weight loss, the Lemon Detox diet also claims to have several health benefits, such as removing toxins from the body and rejuvenating it. However, experts believe that there is no scientific study or data available to back these claims. It is even believed that our body doesn’t need any detoxification. So before starting with this diet, it is advisable to consult your doctor.
The Lemonade Diet or Master Cleanse Program is an all-liquid fast that helps you lose weight quickly. It usually lasts for 10 to 14 days and those following it are not supposed to have any solid food for this duration. They are only allowed to drink a homemade beverage made from lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. The downsides are high sugar intake and a lack of important nutrients. The Lemon Detox diet is not recommended for everyone and can have an adverse reaction in some people.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best way to make detox lemonade?
Mix lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water in the recommended proportions and drink it fresh. But if that doesn’t work for you, prepare a big batch and store it in the fridge.
Can you do your daily activities while on this diet?
Yes, you can. But some people may experience extreme tiredness and loss of energy from this diet.
Can you exercise while following the Master Cleanse?
Yes, but stick to gentle walks and yoga and stay away from any heavy exercise.
What diet routine should be followed after the detox?
Go slow on your dietary pattern once the detox is over. Stick to juice, soup, salads, and light vegetarian meals for a few days.
- “Master Cleanse (Lemonade) Diet: Does It Work for Weight Loss?” – healthline.com
- “What to know about the lemon detox diet” – medicalnewstoday.com