Is the The Master Cleanse Good for You?

There is a myriad of diet fads out there, some that work and some that may do more harm than good for the body. A popular diet that has become all the rage is the liquid cleanse, which involves consuming only liquids for a specific number of days. This sort of detoxification method or liquid cleanse is also referred to as a lemonade detox or the Master Cleanse.

What Is Detoxification?

Detoxification (detox) is the process of ridding the body of various toxins that accumulate in our body. Our kidneys and liver are natural detoxification agents but when the number of toxins in the body increases over the years, these organs may become sluggish.

Studies show that we tend to ingest various chemicals through the food we eat, water and other liquids we drink, and even from the air that we breathe. Common toxins include pesticides from fruits and vegetables, hormones in different food products, chemicals used in household cleaners, pollution, and cigarette smoke. As the body runs its detox process, diets like this one are often suggested to support the natural process.

What Is the Master Cleanse?

The Master Cleanse or the lemonade diet was created by Stanley Burroughs, a practitioner of alternative medicine, in the 1940s. His book, The Master Cleanser was published in 1976. In it, Burroughs claims that healthy individuals and those with any chronic ailments should consider doing the Master Cleanse, to rid the body of toxins.

From celebrities to regular people like us, hoping to lose weight, millions around the globe have tried this diet and have reported their success stories, providing it the label of being one of the most successful diets of its type.

The Master Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 oz. water

Stir to mix well and drink 6-18 glasses of this concoction throughout the day, as and when you feel hungry

The Diet Plan

The recipe looks simple enough, right? Now let’s look at the plan. The book recommends following the five steps involved in the detox diet, for best results. They are:

  1. Ease-in to the diet.

    Ease the body into the diet by preparing it for what is to come.

  2. Start the 10-day cleanse.

    Make large quantities of the lemonade, store it in your refrigerator and get started on the 10-day diet. Detox is a natural process but an additional push could increase the body’s ability to flush out more toxins. It is recommended to either do a salt water flush or have a detox tea for better bowel movement while on the plan.

  3. Ease-out of the diet.

    This may be more important than easing into the diet because the body has been through 10 days of an intense liquid-only diet and will need time to adjust to regular foods. It is also recommended to start taking probiotics to help the digestive process to get back to normal.

Is the Master Cleanse Worth the Trouble?

While vegetarian, pescatarian and even keto diets provide the body with essential nutrients while helping you lose weight gradually, does the Master Cleanse really help with long-term weight loss?

If you enter the 10-day detox with only weight loss in mind, it may not be the right route for you. Detoxification is known to flush out toxins, but when followed for longer periods of 10 days or more, it may harm the body more than benefitting it.

Dieticians and other experts who have studied the detox plan are of the opinion that rapid weight loss has never helped anyone and poses more chances of a bounce back.

Even though lemons and maple syrup may provide vitamins and minerals, the diet does not provide all the nutrients that your body needs. And because your only intake is lemonade, you may see weight loss happening right away but, with it, you will also be losing muscle mass, which is not what you want.

Experts recommend following a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise for healthy weight loss and weight management. So before you consider hopping on the bandwagon of fad diets, make sure you take a look at all its pros and cons and make an informed decision.


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Wong, C. (n.d.). What to Know Before Trying the Master Cleanse. Retrieved from

The Lemonade Diet/ Master Cleanse. (n.d.). Retrieved from