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.