Rumor has it Beyoncé used the Master Cleanse, also known as the Lemonade Diet, to get ready for her role in Dreamgirls. The detox has been around since the 1940s and millions of people have used it, making it one of the most well known cleanses around.
The promise: This cleanse claims to provide a healthy number of calories and nutrients while resting the digestive system, flushing your body of toxins and allowing the body to heal naturally. Followers say you can lose up to 20 pounds in less than 2 weeks, and banish cravings. They claim that the process gives you more sense of control over what you eat which motivates you to keep going (even when your stomach is shouting Feed me!!!).
The basics: For 10 straight days you drink nothing but 6 – 12 glasses of a lemonade mixture (water with fresh lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper). The cleanse also requires daily use of either an herbal laxative tea or a “salt water flush.” Yes, you read that right. No. Solid. Food. There is also a 3-day ease in and ease out period, during which you eat more “live foods” (vegetables, grains, fruits, and broth). Exercise is not recommended while you’re on the Master Cleanse.
Does it work? No doubt you will see the scale drop. After all, you’re basically drinking lemon water for over a week. Unfortunately, because the diet is so low in calories, you’ll also be losing muscle mass and bone. And the diet is severely lacking in nutrients.
As for flushing toxins? Well, you’ll certainly be flushing something with the once-a-day laxatives the Master Cleanse requires. Most of all, you’ll probably be miserable with a capital M. Side effects include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea. You might also be so exhausted and starving when you’re done, that on day 14 you’ll eat everything you can get your hands on, including, possibly, your fingers.
Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
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