The Master Cleanse Diet is an extreme weight-loss and juice-only diet that lasts for 10 days. The diet only allows drinking a homemade, sweetened lemonade for the duration of the “cleansing” period.
Read on to learn more about what the science says about the Master Cleanse Diet, if it works in promoting weight loss, and if you should give it a try.
The Master Cleanse Diet – How Does It Work?
The Master Cleanse Diet is a type of juice fast that promotes rapid weight loss. It is also known as the Lemonade Diet, as participants can only drink homemade lemon juice during the 10-day fast. Absolutely no solid food is allowed during this period.
According to proponents of the Master Cleanse Diet, the lemonade-only fast will cleanse the body by getting rid of toxins and melting away fats, thereby leading to weight loss.
It’s important to slowly ease into the liquid-only diet. It is recommended that you take a few days to gradually cut out solid foods and increase the intake of liquid foods, such as pureed soups, broths, smoothies, and fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
Your pre-Master Cleanse Diet should look like something like this:
- 1st day. Do not eat any processed foods, meat, and dairy products. Consume only fruits and vegetables.
- 2nd day. Cut out alcohol and sugary beverages. Start drinking fresh smoothies and juices made from fruits and vegetables. Most of your calories should come from pureed soups and broths.
- 3rd day. Stop drinking coffee. Your diet should only include liquid foods: smoothies, juices, soups, and/or broths.
- 4th day. Only water and freshly-squeezed orange juice are allowed. You can add maple syrup to your drinks for sweetness and additional calories. Your last drink before bed should be a laxative tea.
- Day 5. You will begin the Master Cleanse Diet.
For the next 10 days, all of your calorie needs will come from a homemade lemon juice. The juice recipe is as follows:
- Mix together:
- 2 tablespoons of freshly-squeezed lemon juice; you will use about half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
- A pinch of cayenne pepper; adjust according to your preference
- 8 – 12 ounces of purified water/spring water
- You need to drink at least 6 servings of the Master Cleanse lemon juice per day; take it whenever you get hungry or drink every 2 – 3 hours.
- You should also drink water with salt every morning and an herbal laxative tea at night.
According to the creators of the Master Cleanse Diet, you can stay on the diet for a minimum of 10 days and up to a maximum of 40. However, such a prolonged period of severe calorie restriction poses a lot of health risks.
When you have completed your 10-day Master Cleanse Diet, you also have to gradually ease back into a regular diet. On the first day after your liquid-only fast, drink just water and freshly-squeezed orange juice. You can start eating vegetable soup the next day, plus smoothies/juices. On the third day, eat small amounts of fruits and vegetables throughout the day; every 2 – 3 hours should be okay. On the 4th day, you can start slowly introducing other solid foods – preferably whole foods and only small amounts of minimally processed foods.
Because your body has already adjusted to very little food intake, you can take advantage of this and continue following a diet plan of small meals throughout the day.
Does the Master Cleanse Diet Work?
As a modified type of fasting and given the extreme calorie restriction, the Master Cleanse Diet can lead to weight loss.
Several studies have also found that a short-term juice fast that only includes a lemon beverage can result in lowered triglyceride levels and less inflammation.
To date, there are still no studies that support the claim that detox diets such as the Master Cleanse Diet eliminate toxins from the body. Experts maintain that the body’s liver and kidneys perform their function of filtering and removing ingested toxins efficiently enough.
As for weight loss, studies have also shown that extreme diets do not result in sustained and healthy weight loss. Sooner or later, the weight is gained back because it is difficult to stick to the extreme restrictions of the diet. The metabolism also slows down eventually during the course of the Master Cleanse Diet. So when you go back to your regular diet, you will be burning fewer calories than you consume.
The Master Cleanse Diet – Final Thoughts
As with most fasting diets, the Master Cleanse Diet is straightforward enough; however, this does not mean that it is easy to follow. Giving up solid foods for at least 10 days will be very difficult. You will feel constant hunger, and your cravings for certain foods may even become stronger.
You will also experience “withdrawal symptoms,” which include hunger, fasting headaches, weakness, nausea, vomiting, irritability, and other aches and pains. Because it is a liquid-only diet, you should also expect to go to the bathroom more frequently throughout the day.
Trying the Master Cleanse Diet once may be okay if you’re already healthy overall. But experts advise against doing an extreme juice fast such as this for a prolonged period and repeatedly as you will be risking nutrient deficiencies, heart and kidney problems, and a compromised immune system, among many other serious health conditions.
Fasting does offer health benefits when you do it right. You can try other fasting methods that are healthier and backed by science.