The Real Deal on the Master Cleanse


The Master Cleanse (or Lemonade Cleanse) has been around for several years and its popularity gets resurrected every few years or so. This seems to be one of those years, so now is a good time to address what it is, why it’s so popular and why it is not a weight loss solution.

master cleanse

What is the Master Cleanse?

The Master Cleanse is simply a liquid diet that generally lasts for ten days. What you’re supposed to do is exist on nothing but the Master Cleanse concoction, which is a mixture of water, cayenne pepper, maple syrup and lemon juice. Sounds awesome, right?


Even though this is called a “cleanse”, please don’t be fooled. They call it a “cleanse” to make it sound more like a health thing and less like a quick weight loss fad, but there’s very little cleansing involved here. There is no fiber involved, which you need to really cleanse your digestive system of built-up wastes and toxins. What this is, pure and simple, is a quick weight-loss gimmick.


Why the Master Cleanse is So Popular

Every now and then, a celebrity will endorse the Master Cleanse and it soars in popularity. Beyoncé did it a few years ago and she lost 20 pounds, which made all kinds of people want to try it for themselves. What most people didn’t know, though, was that she gained all the weight back within two weeks.


Even without some celebrity publicity, the Master Cleanse continues to get interest because it appeals to our attraction to simple solutions. We’re all so busy these days and we love solutions that don’t require much time or thought. That’s a huge part of the sexiness of the Master Cleanse. Nothing could be easier than whipping up a batch of this drink and then drinking nothing but it for ten days or so. However, you could get the same results by drinking pretty much anything.


Different Drink, Same Results

You can lose weight on the Master Cleanse, but you could get the same results from drinking nothing but orange juice. Why?


250ml of orange juice (about a glass) is only about 110 calories. If you drink eight or ten glasses of orange juice every day for ten days and don’t eat or drink anything else other than water, you’re only going to be taking in about 880 to 1100 calories per day. Most people will lose weight doing this. The thing is, if you’re not taking in enough calories, you’ll lose weight, whether you’re drinking orange juice, tomato juice or some really nasty spiced lemonade concoction. But do you really want to do that?

Why Your Master Cleanse Weight Loss Will Be Very Temporary

Even though you will most likely lose weight after ten days on the Master Cleanse, there are several drawbacks to it that should make you think twice. Maybe four times.


First of all, as I said before, the weight loss will be very temporary and may not even last as long as the diet did. There are three reasons for this:


  • Once you go back to eating solid food, your calorie intake will go up.
  • And most of the weight lost on the diet was water and even lean muscle tissue. If you’re not taking in enough calories or enough protein, your body will catabolize it (get it from your tissue).

And that’s going to result in the loss of lean muscle. People will tell you that this process will work in your favor because your body will use stored fat, but that isn’t true. In fact, the diet itself will actually stimulate your body to hang onto your stored fat because of the next reason.


The Master Cleanse solution is loaded with sugar, as is any other fruit juice cleanse. All of that sugar is going to stimulate a huge amount of insulin being released into your bloodstream. That insulin will cause your body to go into fat storage mode, not fat burning mode.


Other Problems with the Master Cleanse

There are also other concerns with the Master Cleanse. The main one is the lack of nutritional value in the concoction that you are supposed to drink. Lemon juice and water are both good enough for you, but they are not going to supply any nutritional value.


Even when you are trying to lose weight and even when you are trying to cleanse your body, you still need protein, carbs and healthy fats.


A Better, More Long-Term Solution

Whether your goal is weight loss or cleansing (or both), you can achieve it through natural, whole foods. I have a cleansing program based on whole foods that you can check out here, or you can create your own. The essentials would be tons of water and lots of fibrous fruits and vegetables. You’ll lose weight and have a better chance of keeping it off, you’ll cleanse your digestive system and you won’t starve to death doing it.

We all love quick and simple solutions to our problems, but if they’re just a temporary fix, they’re not really a solution at all.

fruit and veg cleanse


  1. Yuri misses the primary flaw of the Master Cleanse. Without protein, your body cannot perform phase 2 detoxification and, in fact, you can become more toxic than you were before you began.


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