Can you substitute maple syrup for honey in the Master Cleanse?


The Master Cleanse, also known as the lemonade diet or maple syrup diet, is a liquid fast that was originally created by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s. It involves drinking a lemonade made with lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water several times per day for a period of 10-14 days. The Master Cleanse has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years as a “detox” diet. Some of the purported benefits of the Master Cleanse include weight loss, eliminating toxins, boosting energy and improving focus.

The original Master Cleanse recipe calls for grade B maple syrup as the main source of calories and nutrients during the fast. However, some people wonder if honey can be substituted for the maple syrup, especially if they have trouble finding or affording grade B maple syrup. This article will examine whether substituting honey for maple syrup makes sense when doing the Master Cleanse.

Nutritional Comparison of Maple Syrup and Honey

Calories and Carbohydrates

Nutrition Facts Maple Syrup Honey
Calories 260 cals per 100 g 304 cals per 100 g
Total Carbohydrates 67 g per 100 g 82 g per 100 g

Both maple syrup and honey are high in carbohydrates and calories. Honey has slightly more calories and carbohydrates per gram than maple syrup. During the Master Cleanse, the carbohydrates come mainly from the maple syrup or honey, so the extra carbohydrates in honey could lead to more calories overall if substituting the same amounts.


Nutrition Facts Maple Syrup Honey
Sucrose 0.4 g per 100 g 1.3 g per 100 g
Glucose 33.1 g per 100 g 27.3 g per 100 g
Fructose 33.5 g per 100 g 38.5 g per 100 g

Honey contains more of the sugar fructose than maple syrup, while maple syrup has more glucose. Both kinds of sugars will provide carbohydrates and calories. Some studies suggest fructose may impact metabolism differently than glucose, but more research is needed on this. For the Master Cleanse, the type of sugars are unlikely to make a major difference.


Nutrition Facts Maple Syrup Honey
Manganese 0.7mg (32% DV) per 100g 0.2mg (8% DV) per 100g
Zinc 1.2mg (9% DV) per 100g 0.3mg (2% DV) per 100g
Potassium 212mg (6% DV) per 100g 52mg (1% DV) per 100g
Vitamin B6 0.1mg (3% DV) per 100g 0.1mg (3% DV) per 100g

Maple syrup contains more minerals like manganese, zinc and potassium than honey does. Honey contains only trace amounts of minerals. Both provide a small amount of B vitamins. Overall, maple syrup is likely the better source of micronutrients to include during the Master Cleanse fast.

Flavor and Texture Differences

Maple syrup and honey have very distinct flavors and textures that impact how they perform in recipes. Maple syrup has a more complex, molasses-like flavor compared to the sweet, floral taste of honey. Maple syrup has a thinner, free-flowing consistency compared to the thick, sticky texture of honey.

When making the Master Cleanse lemonade drink, the maple syrup blends easily into the water and lemon juice for a smooth consistency. The thinner texture also makes it easier to drink the lemonade quickly as needed to get adequate calories. Honey’s thick, sticky consistency could make the lemonade more difficult to stir together and drink down.

From a flavor perspective, some people feel the maple syrup provides a nicer balance of sweetness compared to honey in the Master Cleanse drink. The lemon juice has a sour, tart flavor that combines more pleasantly with the maple taste. Honey is very intensely sweet which can overpower the lemon juice.

Cost Differences

When comparing pure maple syrup versus honey, maple syrup does tend to be more expensive, especially when buying grade B maple syrup specifically.

Cost Comparison Maple Syrup Honey
Average price per ounce $0.68 (for grade B) $0.47
Typical quantity needed for 10 day Master Cleanse 12-24 ounces 12-24 ounces
Estimated total cost $8 – $16 $6 – $11

Based on average prices, you can expect to pay $2-5 more for the full amount of maple syrup needed to complete the Master Cleanse versus using honey. While cost alone should not dictate nutrition choices, the budget is something to keep in mind if doing a 10 day cleanse. Every dollar counts, so the extra cost for maple syrup may influence some people’s decision.

Potential Downsides of Maple Syrup

While maple syrup seems to be the better fit nutritionally for the Master Cleanse, there are a few potential downsides to consider:

– The flavor can become too sweet or cloying when consumed in high amounts multiple times a day. Some people can only tolerate smaller amounts.

– Quality grade B maple syrup can be difficult to source locally depending on where you live. Many standard grocery stores may only have lower quality maple-flavored syrup.

– Maple syrup supplies are dependent on climate and harvest seasons, which can impact availability and pricing at certain times of year.

– Some people have sensitivities to maple syrup leading to gastrointestinal issues or allergic reactions. This may influence the decision to use honey instead.

– Maple syrup adherence to strict Kosher dietary laws may be a concern for some who follow those traditions. Honey is generally considered Kosher.

So while maple syrup may be the ideal choice based on nutrition, logistics, cost or personal tolerance may make honey the better option for some people doing the Master Cleanse cleanse.

Potential Downsides of Honey

Switching to honey instead of maple syrup on the Master Cleanse comes with its own potential drawbacks:

– The thick, sticky texture of honey can be hard to stir into the lemonade and more difficult to drink quickly.

– The intensely sweet flavor of honey could become overpowering when consumed in high quantities multiple times a day.

– There are some minor nutritional advantages to maple syrup as discussed earlier.

– Honey supplies are also impacted by environmental factors and bee populations which can limit availability.

– There are some purity and quality concerns around mass-produced honey versus raw, local honey.

– People following vegan diets may want to avoid honey since it is an animal product. Maple syrup would be vegan-friendly.

So both maple syrup and honey have their pros and cons when doing the Master Cleanse. Some of the downsides may be avoided by only doing shorter 3-5 day cleanses rather than longer 10 day ones. The ingredients cost and availability will also be important practical considerations.

Recommended Grade of Maple Syrup

When purchasing maple syrup for the Master Cleanse, it’s recommended to get grade B rather than grade A. Here’s the difference:

Maple Syrup Grade Characteristics
Grade A – Lighter color
– Milder flavor
– Clear, free-flowing consistency
Grade B – Darker color
– More robust maple flavor
– Denser, more caramelized consistency

Grade B syrup is recommended because it has a stronger maple taste that stands up better to the lemon juice and cayenne pepper used in the Master Cleanse recipe. The darker color also indicates more minerals and antioxidants. However, both grade A and grade B will provide the calories and nutrition needed to get through the temporary cleanse diet.


Based on a comparison of nutrition, flavor, cost and availability, using grade B maple syrup in the original Master Cleanse recipe is ideal. However, honey can be an acceptable substitute if maple syrup is too expensive or difficult to obtain in your area.

When substituting honey for maple syrup in the Master Cleanse, you may wish to start with about 20% less honey than the maple syrup amount to account for the higher calories in honey. Then adjust the amount of honey to taste and consistency as you go. Keep in mind that honey will create a thicker, sweeter lemonade drink.

Some additional tips if substituting honey:

– Use a raw, unprocessed honey for maximum nutrition

– Stick to lighter colored honeys like wildflower or clover for a milder flavor

– Consider heating the lemonade drink slightly to help the honey dissolve easier

– Drink the lemonade immediately after mixing instead of letting it sit to prevent thickening

Either pure maple syrup or raw honey can be used successfully during the Master Cleanse program. Listen to your body and budget to determine the best option for your cleanse. And consult a doctor before starting any fad diet like the Master Cleanse to ensure it’s safe for your individual health conditions.


The Master Cleanse has regained popularity as a rapid weight loss and detox method. But there is debate over whether honey can successfully substitute for maple syrup in the classic Master Cleanse lemonade recipe. Based on a nutritional comparison, maple syrup may have some advantages over honey for this cleanse due to its lower calorie count, higher mineral content, thinner consistency and more pleasant flavor balance with lemon juice. However, honey works well for many people doing the cleanse, especially if grade B maple syrup is difficult to obtain or too expensive.

When substituting honey for maple syrup, use raw unprocessed honey and adjust the quantity to account for the increased calories and thickness of honey. Be aware that the intensity of honey’s sweetness can overpower the other flavors. Listen to your body and budget to determine which option may work better for you when attempting this restrictive liquid-only cleanse diet. Consult a doctor before starting the Master Cleanse or any other rapid weight loss program.

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