The Master Cleanse: What You Need To Know

The Master Cleanse was developed in the year 1940 by Stanley Burroughs as an alternative attempt to cure stomach ulcer, promote weight loss and help in curing “every kind of disease” according to him. Burroughs who was born in New York in the year 1903 spent most of his childhood in Detroit, Michigan before he later moved to Portland in the early 1930s. In the course of his life, he lived in Hawaii, California and Oregon. He was an ardent nudist as well as a vegetarian who devoted his life to discovering and studying alternative health practices in order to fine tune his knowledge.

Although Burroughs created as well as advocated for alternative health practices that would help people live a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle, his most prominent work till this day is “The Master Cleanse” or “The Lemonade Diet’’. Although Burroughs’s practice has received a lot of criticism right, it has still managed to gain popularity and garner disciples among the masses; garnering attention from regular everyday people to celebrities. Celebrities who have used the diet include Beyoncé Knowles Trina, Jared Leto and a host of others. Burroughs believed that The Master Cleanse was the key to ridding the body of major toxins and in doing so, resetting the body as well.

What exactly is The Lemonade Diet or Master Cleanse and why is it so controversial?


It is basically what some would call a juice fast, and people who have undergone this cleanse suggest that to see maximum results, a person would have to be on the diet for no less than ten days, although fourteen days tends to be the primary benchmark. The cleansing period allows for no food, but replaces solid food with laxative teas (this can either be herbal or green tea), warm salt water and a mixture that consists of lemonade, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Through its ingredients, it provides for a healthy amount of calories that are aimed towards cleansing toxins from the body, resting the digestive system as well as giving the body a chance to restore and heal itself naturally.


The exact recipe for the Master Cleanse is as follows:

  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of organic maple syrup
  • 1/10 Teaspoon of organic cayenne pepper powder – or to taste (as much as you can humanly stand)
  • 8 ounces of water
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  1. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a glass.
  2. Add in organic cayenne and maple syrup. Stir until there is a uniform consistency.
  3. Add in water to your desired taste.
  4. Drink a minimum of six to 12 glasses throughout the day when hungry.
  5. The salt water mixture can be taken in the morning, and the laxative tea, taken before bed for maximum results.

The main purpose of this cleanse is to meet short-term weight loss and detoxify the body. Although there are no scientific proofs to confirm just how effective this weight loss measure is, people who have tried it have confirmed that it has worked to temporarily reduce bloating and clear the skin. Due to lifestyle changes as well as changes in diet, people indulge in this cleanse to give their bodies resets.

Life can be stressful, people gain weight for a variety of reasons. From stress, to pregnancies to injuries, there are very many instances that cause a person to suddenly pile on pounds. The persistent pressure from society (and Hollywood) to have a perfect body can often supersede the intent to be healthy for one own’s sake, therefore driving people to go through extreme measures to quickly lose the weight. It is important to make sure that you’re participating in the cleanse for all the right reasons, and for a better you overall. With that being said, if you are planning to try the Master Cleanse because you want to boot-start your weight loss journey, that is great, but there are some cautionary measures that you do need to take, and they are as follows:

Make Sure You Are Mentally Ready


Weight loss, and everything affiliated with it is a daunting process; A journey that begins with the first step. In order to fully succeed you absolutely need to be mentally ready. There are days when you will be halfway through your cleanse, but will crave a crunchy taco from taco bell (granted, they are so good), but you have to hold it all in, because there are no such things as cheat days, or “off” days. The 10-14 day cleanse is meant to give your body the boost it needs to kick-start your new lifestyle.

You Will Lose Weight, But Might Gain It Back

In 2006, Beyoncé went on the master cleanse for her role in the movie Dreamgirls, and as a result, lost a whooping 20 pounds for her starring role as Deena Jones. Her sudden bodily transformation has been the topic of many debates ad nauseam in many blogs, health magazines and TV shows since then, and as a result, has given the master cleanse more fans. It is true that with the cleanse, you will lose weight, but it is very temporary. When food is reintroduced after the diet, the pounds slowly pile back on, and even increase based on what exactly you eat.

Frequent Bathroom Visits

Because this diet is strictly liquid based, you’ll experience a lot of spontaneous trips to the bathroom as your body tries to flush out the toxins stored within. Do not fret when it happens a little too often. We vary in the ways that our bodies respond to different things and so it is advisable to bear that in mind through the Master Cleanse process and the outcomes that will come along with it.

Advantages Of The Master Cleanse

Weight loss

There are many advantages linked to the master cleanse. It is effective for temporary short-term weight loss. This would be an effective way of losing weight if you needed to prepare for a major event such as an award show, a wedding or performance.

Colon Cleanse

The absence of solid food coupled with laxative herbal tea and warm salt water (which are the only other liquids allowed during the cleanse) make sure that there is ample bowel movement within the body so that unwanted toxins are flushed out of the body in the form of stool. Some of the laxatives are so powerful that they tend to produce stool within an hour. The laxative teas and warm water do a great job of keeping the colon consistently clean.

Disadvantages Of The Master Cleanse

Minor Hazards

For the first few days, people who are under the master cleanse diet tend to experience symptoms of dizziness, fatigue and nausea. This is mostly due to the absence of certain nutrients in the body which cause the body to go into starvation mode.

Major Hazards

According to late Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld who was a New York based cardiologist, the Master Cleanse has the ability to damage the human heart if it is done continuously. According to Rosenfeld, A crash diet once or twice won’t hurt. The problem ultimately arises when it becomes a continual thing. Crash dieting, according to Rosenfeld increases the risk of heart attacks and can cause wear and tear on the heart.


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is great, and the master cleanse may be a good way to jump-start your journey towards a healthier and more vibrant lifestyle, however it is important to weigh the pros and the cons to make sure that you’re making the decision that is specifically tailored to your health needs.