The Master Cleanse Detox Diet Dissected

Thursday, July 19, 2007 - 3:39pm

By Karen Crawford, MS, RD, CSP

The Master Cleanse Detox Diet, also known as the Lemonade Diet, has been around for quite sometime. The diet, originally made popular in 1976 by Stanley Burroughs, was re-released in 2005 in the form of Peter Glickman's book Lose Weight, Have More Energy, and Be Happier in 10 Days. Glickman gave the out-dated diet a new, more modern look and popularized it once again. The book includes information on the obesity epidemic, toxins in foods, and the detoxification process. Numerous testimonials have been included from those who have completed the diet; also included is a section on commonly asked questions concerning the diet. Glickman makes it very clear in the first chapter of his book that he is not a licensed health professional but rather an "average Joe" interested in solving his health problems in a natural way.

The Master Cleanse Detox Diet Plan

The diet plan is simple: Basically, you stop eating and start drinking. The day is started with a quart of salt water solution, and then six to twelve 8oz glasses of a homemade lemonade concoction. The detoxifier ends their day with an herbal tea laxative. The lemonade contains fresh squeezed lemons and water, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. The lemon juice is said to dissolve built-up waste in the colon; the cayenne pepper is for ridding the body of mucus; and the maple syrup is for energy. The herbal laxative is to aid the elimination process and the salt water acts as a colonic flush. Glickman recommends following the diet for a minimum of 10 days in order to fully benefit from the detoxification process but also says that the diet can be followed for up to 20 days.

Nutritional pros and cons of the Master Cleanse Detox Diet

The Master Cleanse Detox Diet will certainly result in weight loss if followed as directed. This is simply due to a lack of calories for an extended period of time. In addition to lacking calories from macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein), it is also lacking micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals). This liquid diet of limited nutritional substance does raise concern and could be harmful and dangerous to some readers. Anyone on prescribed medications or with any health problems should be very cautious when considering this diet and should consult with their doctor prior to starting it.

Is the Master Cleanse Diet a healthy diet?

Glickman's book sends an alarming but unsubstantiated message concerning our food supply in this country. He claims that our food is full of toxic material and when consumed, the toxins are stored in the fat cells within our body, making us obese. Unfortunately for Glickman, this claim cannot be backed by reliable scientific data. Further, he admits that the research he performed to evaluate this diet consists of only informal surveys, and his recommendations and evaluation of "success" are based on this feedback. I find it fascinating how society and the marketers within have twisted and convoluted sound nutrition knowns, and convinced the public there is a faster, easier way to be healthy which does not include eating a balanced diet and exercising. Glickman's book in my opinion is a perfect example of this. As a registered dietitian, I do not recommend this type of diet for anyone interested in losing weight or becoming healthier. Instead, focus on getting plenty of exercise and eating a well-balanced diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in added fats and sweets.

Glickman, P. Lose Weight, Have More Energy & Be Happier in 10 Days. 2nd ed. Clearwater, FL: Words & Pictures Press; 2005.