Can I do the Master Cleanse for 5 days?

The Master Cleanse, also known as the Lemonade Diet, is a liquid fast that involves drinking 6-12 glasses per day of a lemonade-like concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water for a period of 10 days to 2 weeks. Some people choose to do a shorter version, like a 5-day Master Cleanse, to reap some of the benefits without committing to the full program.

Doing the Master Cleanse for just 5 days can still provide benefits, but it also comes with risks and may not be the best idea. Here is a look at what you can expect if you try the Master Cleanse for only 5 days.

Benefits of a 5-Day Master Cleanse

Some potential benefits of doing a shortened 5-day Master Cleanse include:

  • Quick weight loss – You may lose 5-10 pounds in just a few days due to the very low calorie intake.
  • Detoxification – Eliminating solid foods allows the body to clear out toxins and gives the digestive system a rest.
  • Increased energy – Some people feel more energized without heavy solid foods weighing them down.
  • Breaking unhealthy eating habits – A liquid cleanse can help break poor dietary patterns for a reset.
  • Willpower boost – Completing a 5-day cleanse takes commitment and discipline which can boost self-confidence.

Additionally, a short cleanse is a good way to test out the Master Cleanse without having to commit to the full 10+ day program. You may enjoy the benefits enough to want to attempt a longer cleanse down the line.

Downsides of a Shortened Cleanse

While a 5-day Master Cleanse may provide some advantages, there are also some potential downsides to be aware of, including:

  • Increased hunger – The lemonade drink has very few calories. Hunger and food cravings often get more intense after the first couple of days.
  • Withdrawal symptoms – Quitting caffeine, processed foods and sugar cold turkey can cause headaches, fatigue and irritability for the first few days.
  • Nutrient deficiencies – Consuming only lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for nutrition provides zero protein, healthy fats, fiber or complex carbs.
  • Metabolic slowdown – Severe calorie restriction slows the metabolism to conserve energy, making it easier to regain weight later.
  • Temporary results – Losing weight rapidly through a liquid cleanse often leads to gaining it all back once you start eating again.

Additionally, 5 days may not be long enough to get fully into “cleanse mode” before it’s time to start eating again. Many experts recommend a 10-day minimum cleanse to really allow the body to detox and reap the full rewards.

Is 5 Days Long Enough?

While there is no set rule for how long to safely do a Master Cleanse, most nutritionists and health professionals agree that 5 days is on the short side, and 10-14 days is likely a better goal. Here is a comparison of a 5-day vs longer Master Cleanse:

5-Day Cleanse 10-14 Day Cleanse
– Quick detox and weight loss – Deeper level of detoxification
– Hunger and cravings persist – Body adjusts to lower calories
– May still have withdrawal symptoms – Caffeine and sugar cravings subside
– Minimal rehydration benefits – Cells fully rehydrated
– Unlikely to reset metabolism – Metabolism slows to conserve energy
– Quick weight rebound likely – Longer term weight loss possible

As you can see, while a short Master Cleanse has some benefits, a longer cleanse of 10-14 days allows the body to fully enter into a detoxification state for maximum results.

Tips for a Successful 5-Day Cleanse

If you decide to try the Master Cleanse for only 5 days, here are some tips to help you make the most of the experience:

  • Plan your start date – Pick a 5 day period where you have minimal social, work or family obligations to make sticking to the cleanse easier.
  • Stock up on supplies – Get everything you’ll need ahead of time – lemons, maple syrup, cayenne, straws, a blender or juicer, etc.
  • Drink enough fluid – Shoot for a minimum of six 16-ounce servings of the lemonade drink per day to stay hydrated.
  • Get rest – The low calorie intake may leave you feeling tired, so plan for 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
  • Supplement if needed – Adding a multi-vitamin or essential fatty acids can help make up for nutritional gaps.
  • Manage cravings – Be prepared for hunger, mood swings and cravings, especially on days 3-5. Drinking herbal tea can help.
  • Break the cleanse gently – Slowly transition back to solid foods starting with broths, smoothies and gentle proteins.

Paying close attention to your body and having a plan will help you get through the 5 days as comfortably as possible.

Who Should Not Attempt a 5-Day Cleanse

While some people may be able to complete a shortened 5-day Master Cleanse without issues, it is not recommended for everyone. The Master Cleanse may be dangerous for those with certain medical conditions or a history of disordered eating. Here are some people who should avoid a short cleanse:

  • Children or teenagers
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Anyone with diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease
  • Those with a history of eating disorders
  • People who take prescription medications that must be taken with food
  • Anyone underweight or malnourished

It is always wise to consult your physician before attempting any type of liquid cleanse or crash diet, especially if you have chronic health conditions or nutritional concerns.

The Risks of Doing a Master Cleanse for Only 5 Days

While the Master Cleanse is sometimes touted as safe and harmless, there are some risks to be aware of, especially when only doing a 5-day version. Potential dangers include:

  • Dehydration – Drinking the minimum 6 glasses may not provide enough fluid for some people.
  • Hypoglycemia – Blood sugar can drop dangerously low when consuming zero carbohydrates.
  • Electrolyte imbalance – Laxatives and diuretics are sometimes misused to increase weight loss.
  • Gallstones – Rapid weight loss can increase the risk of gallstones that get lodged in bile ducts.
  • Nutrient deficiencies – Essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients are completely lacking.
  • Eating disorder trigger – Strict rules and deprivation behaviors may provoke or worsen disordered eating.

Proceeding with caution, medical guidance and a longer cleanse duration can help minimize these risks that are more likely to occur during a short 5-day cleanse.


While the Master Cleanse is designed to be followed for 10 days or longer, some people choose to do a shortened version, sticking to the lemonade drink for just 5 days. There are some potential benefits to a mini Master Cleanse, like quick weight loss, detoxification and increased energy. However, 5 days on a very low-calorie liquid diet comes with risks like nutrient deficiencies, gallstones, dehydration and disordered eating patterns.

If you want to attempt the Master Cleanse but start small, it may be wiser to aim for 10 days than just 5. This allows the body to fully adjust and enter a fasting state so you can reap more rewards. Be sure to carefully monitor your health, supplement where needed and transition slowly back to regular eating after ending your cleanse. While the Master Cleanse may not be right for everyone, consulting your doctor and planning ahead helps minimize the risks.

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