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Master Cleanse

The Master Cleanse detox diet, also known as the Lemonade Diet was created by Stanley Burroughs in 1941 and made popular by Peter Glickman through his book Lose Weight, Have More Energy and Be Happier in 10 Days, which promotes Burroughs' regimen to a modern audience.[1]

The diet

Although the recipe varies from source to source the ingredients are generally the same. The Master Cleanse involves eating no solid food. Instead, you drink a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, water and Cayenne pepper.

This mix can be taken cold, as a cordial, or hot, as a tea. The mix contains some essential vitamins and minerals, and some sugars—avoiding the ketosis experienced on the Atkins diet or from pure water fasting. The Cayenne is used primarily for its effect of promoting metabolic activity.[citation needed]

As solid food is not eaten it is necessary to help the digestive system eliminate material and avoid constipation. This is achieved in two ways: laxative tea is taken every night, and in the morning, a large volume of lukewarm brackish water serves as a top-down enema. The salt in the water is salt-balanced compared to the blood; ie, the salt level sufficient that the water is not easily absorbed by the intestines[citation needed], yet not salty enough to make one gag as it is drunk or suffer from excess salt symptoms.[citation needed] This passes through the digestive system extremely quickly—30-60 minutes.

The diet is for a recommended minimum of ten days, although it is not uncommon for people to stay on the cleanse for longer periods of time.

Fasting for such long periods requires careful breaking, as intestinal cultures 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. This fast break is an ideal time to add probiotics to re-establish a healthy intestinal culture. [2][3]

The Master Cleanse is said by Stanley Burroughs and later authors to eliminate toxins and congestion that have built up in the body.[2] It is a fast, not a diet - it is not a complete source of macro-nutrients. It should instead be considered as another form of fasting.

Supporters of the Master Cleanse have credited it with helping them lose weight, increase energy, and even alleviate some chronic diseases.[3]

Some in the entertainment industry have misunderstood fasting as a weight loss diet. Recently, the cleanse received media attention as a result of being embraced by some celebrities. The singer/actress Beyoncé did it for 10 days and lost 22 lb (9 kg) for her role in the 2006 movie Dreamgirls.[1] 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 [1][4]


Some critics point to lack of essential nutrients in this fast, citing a deficiency of protein, vitamins, and minerals.[5]

As a result of these deficiencies, individuals on the diet may experience dizziness, delirium, and fainting in the short term, with possible damage to the body occurring in longer-term applications.[5] Dr. Joel Fuhrman attributes these effects to detoxification, which he says passes after the toxins are eliminated.[6]

Many authors assert the benefits of fasting are related to its lack of nutrients, particularly macronutrients.[6][7][8][9]

Dr. Ed Zimney has asserted that, while toxins (such as mercury from the ingestion of fish) do accumulate over time, lemon juice and maple syrup could "not in any possible way eliminate any of these toxins." [10].

People with intestinal conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome may experience added discomfort while on the cleanse. However note that this is in fact one of the treated conditions of the fast.[citation needed]

There is a risk that the saltwater "flush" may remove both beneficial and harmful bacteria from the body[5]. 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 fast painful. These are the important reasons to follow the fasts' instructions correctly.

Medical authorities say that those who try the Master Cleanse to lose weight will gain it back in time.[4] 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."[1] Proponents of the cleanse do not recommend it solely for weight loss, instead focusing on its alleged detoxifying properties.[3] Dr. Sunil Patel of Halifax's Queen Elizabeth Health Centre and other medical professionals have suggested that the cleanse operates as a placebo and has no other health benefits.[1][10]

Others have claimed that one benefit of the Master Cleanse is that it helps patients re-examine their lifestyle and embrace healthy eating.[5]


Glickman, Peter (2005), written at Clearwater, Florida, , Peter Glickman, Inc.. Burroughs, Stanley (1976), written at Reno, Nevada, , Burroughs Books.

  1. ^ a b c d Patriquin, Martin (2006-09-11). "Star loses 22 lb. on maple syrup diet!". Maclean's 119 (36/37): 73. Retrieved on 2007-02-15.
  2. ^ a b Burroughs, Stanley (1976). The Master Cleanser. Burroughs Books, 16-22. ISBN 0963926209. 
  3. ^ a b c Glickman, Peter (2005). Lose Weight, Have More Energy & Be Happier in 10 Days. Peter Glickman, Inc.. ISBN 0975572229. 
  4. ^ a b "Experts skeptical of 'Master Cleanse' detox diet", Associated Press via CNN, 2007-05-02. Retrieved on 2007-05-02. 
  5. ^ a b c d Clarke, Jane. "The nutritionist's view:Lemon aid", The Times (London UK), 2006-01-24, pp. 4. Retrieved on 2007-02-15. 
  6. ^ a b Fuhrman, MD, Joel (1998). Fasting & Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor's Program for Conquering Disease. St. Martin's Griffin, 221. ISBN 0-312-18719-X. 
  7. ^ Cousens, MD, Gabriel (2004). Conscious Eating. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1556432852. 
  8. ^ Anderson, ND, NMD, Richard (1998). Cleanse and Purify Thyself, Book 1.5. Triumph Business. ISBN 1880170035. 
  9. ^ Bragg, Paul (2004). The Miracle of Fasting. Health Science. ISBN 0877900396. 
  10. ^ a b Zimney, Ed. Master Cleanse = Master Scam. Retrieved on 2007-07-10.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Master_Cleanse". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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