The Lemonade Diet (Master Cleanse Diet)
The Lemonade Diet: What it is
The Lemonade Diet has been around for more than 50 years. Its popularity soared several years ago after Beyonce announced she'd lost 20 pounds on the diet for the movie Dreamgirls.
The late Stanley Burroughs developed the Lemonade Diet, which is also known as the Master Cleanse or Maple Syrup Diet, as a detoxification and fasting program. It's now also touted as a quick weight loss plan.
The severe plan involves drinking a lemon juice concoction, and not eating any food, for up to two weeks.
Of course, weight loss is inevitable when you stop eating and drink very few calories. But this kind of diet can also be dangerous to your health. Nutritionists point out that the Master Cleanse Diet plan is lacking in all the essential nutrients: calories, vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat.
Lemonade Diet: What You Can Eat
No solid foods are allowed, nor are any supplements. You consume only the Master Cleanse elixir to keep you hydrated.
The plan calls for you to drink 6 or more servings daily of the lemonade drink. The only other options are a "salt water flush" of 2 teaspoons salt mixed in a quart of water in the morning, and an herbal laxative tea at night, if needed.
A single serving of the Master Cleanse drink consists of:
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons grade-B organic maple syrup
- 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 10 ounces filtered water
After following this fast for 4-14 days, dieters are urged to slowly ease back into eating solid food, starting with items such as vegetable soup, followed by fruits and vegetables.
Lemonade Diet: How It Works
You will lose weight on the Lemonade Diet because the fast creates a serious calorie deficit. But chances are, what you'll lose is water weight and muscle, not fat.
During the fast, you can expect to feel hungry and may get headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sluggishness, diarrhea, nausea, or constipation.
As for detoxification, your liver already does that. There is no medical evidence that fasting or "cleansing" diets actually rid the body of any toxins not otherwise discarded in bodily waste.
Dietitian Melinda Johnson, RD, doesn’t see anything positive about this diet plan.
"There is no scientific evidence that you need anything like this or any other detox program to cleanse your body or help you lose weight," she says.
She suggests staying away from smoking if you want to avoid toxins. Otherwise, trust your liver to do its job.
Experts agree that such unbalanced plans are not only ineffective, but are also potentially dangerous, depending on how long you stay on them. Fasting can rob your intestines of healthy bacteria that aid digestion and boost immunity.