Master Cleanse (Lemonade Diet)

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

lemonade dietFads come and go – but this one just keeps on coming. Stanley Burrough’s “Master Cleanser” (aka Lemonade Diet) continues to garner attention from all over the place.

Recently BeyoncĂ© Knowles admitted to using a “Maple Syrup detox” (which led to a huge surge in popularity). Now the diet has even attracted the attention of the NY Times.

The Internet teems with testimonials to the cleanse, also known as the lemonade diet, claiming that it fights disease such as Candidiasis, clears the mind as well as acne, and increases energy. Bloggers chronicle their daily fasting. Master cleanse video diaries can be found on YouTube, and a cottage industry has developed with various companies peddling cleansing kits including all ingredients for the beverage except lemons.

The Master Cleanse appeared in a booklet by Stanley Burroughs in 1976. The booklet was called The Master Cleanser. The cleansing detox diet has always been popular due to word of mouth – but in 2004 was picked up and marketed by Peter Glickman.

The Master Cleanse

Indeed, the book states that at least 1/2 the weight will come back on after completing the diet. Many people incorrectly use this for fast weight loss. This is not what the diet is intended for.

Detox diets such as the lemonade diet are not for the faint-hearted. They are difficult to follow – typically because we are so addicted to food.

The Recipe

  • 60 oz spring water per day (spread over 6 10 oz glasses)
  • 12 tablespoons Organic Grade B Maple Syrup (or 2 tbsp. per glass)
  • 12 tablespoons freshly squeezed organic lemon juice (or 2 tbsp. per glass)
  • a little over half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or 1/10 tsp. per glass) or to taste

People experience varying degrees of success as their body begins to flush itself of toxins – but the first few days are hardest. Some only use the lemonade diet for 4-5 days, while others take it out to 2 weeks.

Lemonade Diet Kit

master cleanser diet

This kit includes everything you need to complete the lemonade diet or Master Cleanse.

  • All ORGANIC ingredients needed for the Stanley Burroughs’ Master Cleanse Diet (except lemons) including FREE BOOK: The Complete Master Cleanse by Tom Woloshyn
  • 32 oz Grade B Organic Maple Syrup (Bpa Free and Formaldehyde Free)
  • 8 oz Organic compliant Sea Salt- Selina Naturally
  • 90 capsules Certified Organic Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annum) – Oregon Wild Harvest (1 Bottle – 90 GF, vegan capsules)
  • 1 Box Organic “Smooth Move” Laxative Tea – Traditional Medicinals (1 Box of 16 tea bags) and 1 Box Organic Peppermint Tea – Traditional Medicinals (1 Box of 16 tea bags)

You can order the kit here.

A typical herbal detox will do the following

  • Dissolves and eliminates toxins that have formed in any part of the body
  • Cleanse kidneys and digestive system
  • Purifies the glands and cells
  • Eliminate waste and hardened material in joints and muscles
  • Relieves pressure and irritation in nerves, arteries and blood vessels

Possible Detox Reactions on the Master Cleanse

  • Rashes and skin eruptions
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Food cravings
  • Insomnia

The only other foods consumed is a laxative tea (“Smooth Move”) twice a day, and a saline (sea salt) wash. The laxative may be required due to the lack of fiber in the diet that may lead to constipation.

Breaking the Fast

The Lemonade Diet / A Master Cleanse CD
The Lemonade diet is
now available as an audio CD

This must be done gently, by easing your way back into solid food. Vegetable soup is a good starter, and fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be started until the second day out of the juice fast.

Before doing the lemonade diet, Stanley Burroughs book (see below) is a must-read.

Other Resources

Master Cleanse Coach

master cleanse coach bookThe Master Cleanse Coach is written by Peter Glickman, who has been referred to as a modern-day guru of the Master Cleanse.

Glickman has personally coached over 2,000 people who have undertaken this detoxification program.

This book gives you all the information you need to undertake the Master Cleanse.

However, it is also written as a guide for those who wish to coach others through the procedure.

Nutritionist’s Warning

The Master Cleanse or lemonade diet should only be used for a short period of time or serious health problems could arise.

NOTE: You can get the full details of the Master Cleanse here.

265 Comments

  1. Leopoldo Yballe

    Lemon oil may be used in aromatherapy. Researchers at The Ohio State University found that lemon oil aroma does not influence the human immune system, but may enhance mood.

    Reply
  2. Sabrina

    I’ve done the master cleanse before & lasted a whole week but I feel as if I gained all the weight back, therefore I am doing it again. However this time I can no longer hangin. Today is my 3rd day & I want to quit. Is it harmful to the body to quit so early? Please help!

    Reply
  3. beth

    I did the master cleanse about 2-3 weeks ago, but only lasted 8 days. I did experience mental clarity, great weight loss and not feeling hungry. Now I have even WORSE eating habits than before I did the cleanse. Would it be a bad idea to do it again so soon? I have less responsibilities than I did a few weeks ago which would make it easier for me to stick to.

    Reply
  4. Taunya

    Thanks so much for your comment. I am on my 2nd day and my skin is already softer. The SWF makes me very sick and i almost threw in the towel this morning when I did it. My husband convinced me that once my system adjusted i would feel fine. He was right about an hour later i was back to myself. I needed to hear this support not the negativity from folk who have never done it and/or done any research. Thanks again. Motivated to do the full 10 days to feel better and more engergized.

    Reply
  5. Liz

    I couldn’t agree more! I am on the 7th day and I feel it is the best detox out there. It’s my next time in two years and it has helped me put things in better perspective..Whether it’s school, life, and what you’re really doing in your life. Of course, food is the reason i am here and can’t stress enough of the lack of healthy places t eat in the LA.. Not enough.
    P.s. I do look forward to a nice, healthy meal next week;)

    Reply
  6. kam

    Bringing God into a discussion doesn’t make someone Holier than thou. I think their point was that the Bible mentions fasting quite a bit. Jesus did fast for forty days.
    I think that was their point. Wishing that they get colon cancer is immature and mean.
    Try to be a little nicer.

    Reply
  7. Rafaelle

    I started doing this cleansing fast (notice I didn’t say “diet”) back in the 80s. I’ve done it several times, for different periods of time, with good results. The longest I did it was 14 days. I highly recommend you drink a lot of water with it so you don’t get dehydrated and experience hunger, headache, fatigue, or dizziness. I am currently on Day 7 and feel more energized than I have for months. I usually do this cleanse about once a year for 10 days. All of you who have made comments about detoxing not working don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. And yes, the cleansing fast has enough vitamins and sugar to keep you going for 10-14 days, but I would not recommend it for any longer than that. It is not a healthy diet and is not meant to be that. It is a detox cleanse. If someone wants to use it as a diet, you can lose a pound a day if you have slow metabolism; you can lose more than that if your metabolism is fast. I recommend that you not do heavy exercise or get very far from a bathroom facility. It is safe and effective for cleansing toxins out of your system. For weight loss, I would recommend a good healthy diet with moderate protein and lots of good fresh veggies and fruits. And drink plenty of water. As for regaining the weight, it doesn’t matter what diet you’re on. If you’re determined to eat the same crap you’ve been eating when you finish this fast, you’re going to gain the weight right back. And WW is not responsible for yo-yo dieting — people are.

    Reply
  8. victoria

    try a herbal store that’s where I found mine or a health food store

    Reply
  9. Shanetta

    Thank you! I was hoping that someone who read the book and knew the purpose of each ingredient would comment lol. Someone said that they only believe in fasting for religious reasons and I was thinking to myself “A fast is a fast no matter what the reason.” Use the fasting period to have a better spiritual connection with yourself if that’s important to you. I’m doing it to get a boost in my diet. I have been working out like a dog for two months and on a high protein-low carb diet but I slip when it comes to sweets. I’m really learning a lot about my eating habits that surprised me. Like, every time I get up off my couch I make a stop at the fridge to browse before sitting back down. I hate the Salt Water Flush part, though. My stomach couldn’t handle it today and I threw up. I’m on day 3 of the cleanse and I’m feeling really good! I’m shocked at how great I feel and I thought I might have had an issue with doing it for 10 days but I know the 10 days will be easy. Good luck everyone!

    Reply
  10. FMK

    Hi, Michael.
    I’m writing again to ask if you could let me know if you used the Salt Water Flush when you did the Cleanse? Also, what laxatives did you use (if any?) I would really appreciate your help because of similar life circumstances. Thank you!

    Reply
  11. FMK

    MIchael, I don’t know if this note will reach you as I just found this site when I did a search for “is the master cleanse safe for people on dialysis?” Your post came up and to my great surprise I read about someone doing the cleanse while on dialysis. I used to do it all the time. But since being on dialysis (2 years now) I lost confidence in doing anything like this …for many reasons. Your post inspires me. I’d really like to ask you a few more questions…privately, if possible. Is that possible? i.e. to get a personal email address to chat with you about these experiences?

    (I would like to do the cleanse again, like you, to rebuild my body…I am not trying to lose weight…in fact, I don’t really want to. So, would do the master cleanse for 3 days increments for the time being.) Kind regards, FMK

    Reply
  12. Mary

    I am on day 5 of the MC and I can’t find a happy balance of elimination. I did Smooth Move tea the night before starting, the next morning, that night, and the following morning I had to call my husband into the bathroom because I almost passed out. I think I was eliminating too fast. I felt AWFUL! This was the second time I’ve done the cleanse, and the first time around it was very different. I am only drinking 1/2 cup of the tea at night, but I only have 1 BM a day and it’s runny/flaky. What’s the deal?

    Reply
  13. shaudae

    I didn’t remove the pulp from my lemonade drink. What is the effect of that?

    Reply
  14. tina

    i did it i lost 10lbs in a week

    Reply
    • Tony 1 week ago

      How about you learn how to spell and I know your a kid cause you didn’t make it look professional.

      Reply
  15. Jess

    My husband also has two jobs and the salt water flush is difficult to swallow but he was able to drink it. It’s very fast and effective. Within 20 mins. he was clearing it all out and within 2 hours he was done. So just do it before bed then start the cleanse in the morning.

    Reply
  16. Jess

    My husband actually wanted to do this so I started it to support him. He quit on me after 24 hours but I just didn’t want to stop. I felt just as hungry and cranky with the headaches as he did but I knew if I fought my way through them I would reap much greater benefits and so far I have. By day three I had so much energy I was able to clean and organize my entire house, do yard work, take my kids and dog for a walk, and I didn’t even need my usual 6 cups of coffee to get through it. I’ll admit cooking for two kids and my husband and giving them snacks made me want to at least bite into a juicy pear but once I got over my psychological addiction of habitual eating I felt fine. Today is Easter and I am on day five of the cleanse. Singing at church made me feel a little faint but I think I just didn’t drink enough this morning. This evening I was able to sit at the dinner table with everyone eating their ham and mashed potatoes and felt no desire to eat it. I just drank my lemonade feeling such a sense of empowerment and pride. I definitely had “baby weight” of which I have lost 8 pounds of toxic swelling and feel and look incredibly healthy. I could instantly see it in my face, my skin, my legs, even my arms as well as feel sinus pressure be released. Honestly I will never allow myself to go back to unhealthy eating that makes me feel so lethargic and depressed. I have sang praises to everyone I know about this cleanse and will continue to do so.

    Reply
  17. Amica

    Eat less, eat raw, eat early.

    Otherwise known as Quantum Eating.

    Our bodies get overloaded with processed foods and there is usually not enough fibre – soluble or otherwise – to stimulate the peristaltic action essential for healthy colon activity.

    No wonder you’re bunged up!

    Reply
  18. Amica

    Those predisposed to eating disorders are not advised to fast.

    You can blame anything and everyone for your failings but if you really want the honest truth, it is staring at you in the mirror.

    It is often easier to blame external sources than being honest with oneself and looking inside for the hard facts.

    My first Master Cleanse was a life changing 28 days curtailed by bad planning prior to a holiday.

    This time it is being preceded by a parasite cleanse, liver cleanse and I will be making the most of the 40 wonderful days of intestinal rest. I can honestly say I am very much looking forward to ridding my poor body of the rubbish it has unwittingly been absorbing from this toxic environment of ours.

    Reply
  19. Angela

    Amber, I’m curious to know if the cleanse rid you of the parasite and candida overgrowth. Thinking about doing it for the same reasons.

    Reply
  20. Angela

    Amber, I’m curious to know if the cleanse rid you of the parasite and candida overgrowth. Thinking about doing it for the same reasons.

    Reply
  21. Nilda

    Don’t fall off the wagon, prepare ahead of time. I bought all the ingredients I needed for 14 days. I start my day with a cup of hot water and make a pitcher of the lemonade for the day. If I am going out I take a 20 oz water bottle filled with the lemonade and drink it when I am hungry. If I think I will be out longer I take 2 bottles. It’s my 8th day and I feel great! Another tip is to make sure you still have a little at the end of the day and when hunger strikes finish it off!

    Reply
  22. Nilda

    Try drinking a hot cup of water every morning. It works for me!

    Reply
  23. Nilda

    I agree totally. I am on the fast , my 8th day and I am feeling great, more energetic and a urinary infection I was battling is gone. I’ve dropped 10 lbs and will fight like mad to keep the weight off after the fast.

    I am currently writing a novel and my mind has never been clearer and the creative juices flowing…I can’t get away from the computer!

    Reply

References

  • Penniston, K. L., Nakada, S. Y., Holmes, R. P., & Assimos, D. G. (2008). Quantitative assessment of citric acid in lemon juice, lime juice, and commercially-available fruit juice products. Journal of Endourology, 22(3), 567-570. link
  • BLOOM, W. L., & AZAR, G. J. (1963). Similarities of Carbohydrate Deficiency and Fasting: I. Weight Loss, Electrolyte Excretion, and Fatigue. Archives of internal medicine, 112(3), 333-337. link
  • KATZ, D. L. (2003). Pandemic obesity and the contagion of nutritional nonsense. Public health reviews, 31(1), 33-44. link
  • Burroughs, S. (2014). The Master Cleanse. Manatee Media.