The Master Cleanse
, also known as the Lemon Cleanse
and the Maple Syrup Diet
, was created by Stanley Burroughs
in 1941 and later popularized by Peter Glickman in his book
(2005). Lose Weight, Have More Energy and Be Happier in 10 Days
. . Burroughs states that it is a detoxification program
that aids in the removal of harmful toxins
from within the body
, as well as a reducing diet for loss of weight, and a cure for ulcers
and "every kind of disease," resulting in "the correction of all disorders."
The Master Cleanse claims to be a way to cleanse the body of toxins and remove the cravings associated with drugs
, and eating junk food
, and various cola
drinks, as habit-forming beverages, also lose their appeal through the marvels of the lemonade diet." The cleanse involves drinking only lemonade made from fresh lemon
or lime juice
, Grade B maple syrup
and Cayenne pepper
. No solid food is eaten for the entire cleanse. The master cleanse is technically not a "fast" and proponents say it is more gentle on the body because it does contain some essential vitamins
. According to proponents it is recommended to be on the cleanse for a minimum of ten days, but some people stay on the cleanse for longer periods of time, even as long as 45 days.
Since there is no intake of solid food, special precautions are taken to avoid constipation. Senna tea is taken every night, and in the morning warm saline is required. This passes through the digestive system extremely quickly, usually causing defecation in 30-60 minutes.
It is essential to go off of the cleanse slowly. The lack of solid foods for such long periods, requires careful breaking, as gut flora need to re-develop and mucus linings re-build. This usually involves drinking "full strength" juices for a day or two, while slowly adding in soups, then fruit, vegetables and nuts before resuming a regular diet.
Some individuals have returned to their healthy diet the following day after stopping the program without any problems, but this is rare and not recommended, especially for first timers.
Stanley Burroughs and other authors say that The Master Cleanse will eliminate toxins (pesticides
, prescription drugs
, chemical fertilizers
, heavy metals
) and congestion that have built up in the body. For people in perfect health, the body is designed to eliminate normal everyday toxins from itself through the lungs
, and other eliminator organs. Supporters of the Master Cleanse have credited it with helping them lose weight, increase energy, and even alleviate some chronic diseases
and increase sexual stamina but there is no empirical peer-reviewed
evidence that it achieves anything other than weight loss
. Some people who sell the products for the diet are also doctors, and say that they've seen positive health effects such as the disappearance of acne
, clearer vision
, increased energy, the disappearance of dark circles around eyes
Some critics point to lack of essential nutrients in this program, citing a deficiency of protein, vitamins, and minerals in the regimen although dietary deficiencies in protein may not lead to the individual showing signs of protein deficiency if it is followed only for a short time.
As a result of these deficiencies, including far less calories than the recommended amount for health and optimum functioning, individuals on the diet may experience headaches and a variety of other symptoms in the short term. Dr. Joel Fuhrman relates these effects to detoxification, which he says passes after the toxins are eliminated.
Many authors assert the benefits of fasting are related to its lack of nutrients, particularly macronutrients. It could be dangerous if followed in the long term.
Some critics of the cleanse state that the saltwater "flush" may remove both beneficial and harmful bacteria from the body. A no-food diet may cause the gut to stop passing food, resulting in constipation, or may make the consumption of food immediately after the cleanse painful. People with intestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome may experience discomfort while on the cleanse. Some people who have followed the cleanse feel that a 14-day regimen of the program will eliminate that condition altogether; however, this may be a manifestation of the placebo effect, as there is no peer reviewed scientific evidence of this possible outcome.
Used for weight loss
Many proponents of the cleanse do not recommend it solely for weight loss, instead mentioning its detoxifying properties; although, as with detox diets
, there is no peer-reviewed
scientific evidence of any positive effect from detox. Dr. Sunil Patel of Halifax's QEII Health Sciences Centre
has suggested that the cleanse operates as a placebo
and has no other health benefits.
When following the Master Cleanse, people will certainly lose weight.
Some people in the entertainment industry have used this fast for rapid weight loss, leading members of the public to follow their example and use what has been described as an extreme fad diet
as a crash diet
. In 2006, the cleanse received media attention as a result of being embraced by some celebrities. The singer/actress Beyoncé
did it for 14 days and lost 22 lb
) for her role in the 2006 movie Dreamgirls
. Other celebrities include rapper Trina
who did this liquid diet for 13 days and Howard Stern
's cohost Robin Quivers
claims to have lost 73 lb using the Master Cleanse. Similarly, Jared Leto
says he lost the weight he gained to play 'Mark David Chapman
' (he gained 62 lb) all from the master cleanse.
Medical authorities say that those who try the Master Cleanse to lose weight will gain it back in time. Beyoncé denounced using the cleanse as a weight-loss program, stating, "I wouldn't recommend it if someone wasn't doing a movie ... there are other ways to lose weight."
The Master Cleanse is not recommended by most mainstream doctors, who don't recommend detox diets, considering them unnecessary and potentially dangerous.