Can One Lose Weight On the Master Cleanse?


The Master Cleanse, a diet made from lemons, cayenne and maple syrup, will cause fast weight loss. However, this is not necessarily healthy or sustainable.

What is the Master Cleanse?

The Master Cleanse, sometimes known as the Lemonade Diet, is a liquid diet that has been in existence since 1941. A man named Stanley Burroughs came up with the diet for the purposes of weight-loss, improved health, and as a detox diet.

Claims that the diet can improve one’s health and rid the body of toxins have been the subject of much debate and skepticism from the mainstream medical community. However, the claims that Lemonade Diet will cause weight-loss are more straightforward. The Master Cleanse will almost certainly cause one to lose weight, but this weight-loss may not be healthy or sustainable.

How Does One Lose Weight on the Lemonade Diet?

Burroughs said that one should follow the Master Cleanse recipe exactly, and drink anywhere from 6 to 12 glasses a day. Burroughs also suggested drinking a laxative tea and undergoing a daily salt water flush, which will flush waste (and in theory toxins) out of one’s intestines. The Lemonade Drink will provide dieters with anywhere between 678 calories a day (if drinking 6 glasses of lemonade) to 1356 calories a day (if drinking 12 glasses).

Most healthy and active adults need around 2000 to 2500 calories to maintain a healthy weight, although adults who are short and/or sedentary may need less. At first glance the Master Cleanse does look like it can cause weight loss. A healthy adult who consumes 1356 calories or less per day on a regular basis will almost certainly lose weight, as they are not consuming enough calories to make up for the calories that their body needs to maintain their weight.

Master Cleanse Recipe:

2 Tbl organic lemon juice

2 Tbl organic grade B maple syrup

1/10 tsp ground cayenne pepper

10 oz filtered water

Combine ingredients and shake to mix. 1 serving contains:

113 calories, including 01.g fat, 29.6g carbohydrates, and 0.1g protein. Daily Values Include: Vitamin C 24%, Calcium 4%, Iron 3%, Vitamin A 2%.

What’s the Catch? The Seedy Underbelly of the Weight-Loss from the Lemonade Diet

While one will almost certainly lose weight from the Master Cleanse, this is not a healthy or even sustainable diet. The diet contains essentially no protein or fat; all of the calories are coming from simple sugars that will cause one’s blood sugar to surge and crash quickly. Other than ample amounts of Vitamin C, this diet is also lacking in important vitamins and minerals. People who stick to this diet for more than a few days may become nutrient deficient.

Doctors generally recommend advise people trying to lose weight not to consume less than 1200 calories per day unless under direct supervision from a physician. Consuming inadequate amounts calories can cause: a slowed metabolism (and subsequent slowing or cessation of weight-loss), nutritional deficiencies, and ravenous hunger and subsequent inability to follow the diet on a long term basis. In it’s lower levels, the Lemonade Diet only provides 678 calories a day to dieters, which is nowhere near enough to bring about safe and effective weight-loss.

Is the Weight Loss from The Master Cleanse Just Water Weight?

Furthermore, much of the initial weight-loss that dieters report from this diet is only water-weight. Dieters are not allowed to consume solid food while on the Master Cleanse, and they are also told to take laxative teas and salt water flushes on a daily basis.

People can lose five pounds of water and solid waste quickly – it often takes only a couple days – and imagine that actual fat has been lost. This is unfortunately not the case! Once the dieter goes off the Master Cleanse and starts to eat normally again, their bodies will immediately gain back a few pounds from the water and food that starts being processed again through their bodies.

In short? The Master Cleanse does cause quick weight loss, but it’s not a healthy or sustainable diet, and it does not contain all of the nutrients that one’s body needs to function properly. People who go on this diet should not expect to find it an easy way to lose weight, and they should not be surprised if the weight comes back immediately after they stop the diet.


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