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How many cups of Master Cleanse per day?

The Master Cleanse, also known as the Lemonade Diet, is a fasting diet that involves drinking 6-12 cups of a lemonade-like beverage throughout the day for a period of 10 days or more. Determining how many cups to drink per day requires an understanding of the purpose of the cleanse, the ingredients in the lemonade, and how to adapt consumption to your individual needs.

What is the Master Cleanse?

The Master Cleanse was created by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s and has seen periodic popularity ever since. It involves drinking a lemonade-like beverage made from lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water while consuming no solid foods. The purpose is to detoxify and cleanse the body while providing minimal calories and nutrients to sustain you through the fasting period.

The Master Cleanse is intended to:

  • Detoxify the body by flushing toxins
  • Provide complete rest to the digestive system
  • Cleanse and rejuvenate organs
  • Alkalize the blood pH
  • Balance energy and strengthen the immune system

The lemonade contains no fiber, fats, or proteins so it is absorbed quickly by the body. The maple syrup provides carbohydrates and electrolytes to prevent low blood sugar and dehydration while the cayenne pepper is believed to stimulate circulation and nutrient absorption.

Master Cleanse Lemonade Recipe

The Master Cleanse lemonade consists of four ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (around 1/2 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
  • 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces water

These ingredients can be mixed together in a large batch and portioned out into individual servings. The maple syrup provides a natural sweetness to make the drink more palatable. The cayenne pepper adds heat and circulatory benefits. Water helps keep the body hydrated through the fasting period.

How Many Cups of Master Cleanse Per Day?

The number of cups of Master Cleanse lemonade you should consume each day depends primarily on your caloric needs. The standard recommendation is 6-12 cups per day. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Women: 6-8 cups per day
  • Men: 8-12 cups per day

This equates to about 600-1200 calories from the lemonade. By meeting caloric needs, it prevents the body from entering starvation mode which can actually decrease the cleanse’s effectiveness.

However, you may need to modify this baseline up or down depending on your individual stats:

If you are… You may need…
Larger in size Towards the higher end of the range (10-12 cups)
Very active More than the standard recommendation
Smaller in size Towards the lower end of the range (6-8 cups)
Sedentary Potentially fewer cups

Tips for Determining Your Cups Per Day

Here are some tips for customizing your Master Cleanse dosage:

  • Weigh yourself before starting the cleanse and determine your basal caloric needs
  • Slowly ramp up cups over the first few days, monitoring hunger and energy levels
  • Divide the cups evenly throughout the day, drinking every 2-3 hours
  • Listen to your body; increase cups if hungry or low energy, decrease if feeling unwell
  • Aim for minimum of 6 cups to prevent starvation mode
  • Maximum of 12 cups or tolerance level
  • Adjust the maple syrup if needing more or less calories

The Lemonade Diet Process

While on the Master Cleanse, the lemonade essentially replaces meals. You will not eat any solid foods during this time. A typical daily schedule looks like:

  • Morning: Drink 1-2 cups of lemonade upon waking. Then drink 1 cup every hour until noon.
  • Afternoon: Continue drinking 1 cup lemonade every hour from noon until 5-6pm.
  • Evening: Drink 1-2 cups between 6pm and bedtime.
  • Other liquids: Drink herbal teas, water, or broth if needed between lemonade servings.

It is important to drink the lemonade incrementally throughout the day rather than in a few large servings. Drinking smaller portions more frequently provides a steadier stream of calories and nutrients to power you through your normal daily activities.

Additionally, you can enhance the detoxification effects by also performing a daily salt water flush each morning. This involves drinking a quart of slightly warmed salt water upon waking to flush out the digestive tract.

Benefits of the Master Cleanse

Some of the touted benefits of the Master Cleanse include:

  • Rapid weight loss of up to 2 pounds per day
  • Body detoxification and removal of stored toxins
  • Reduced cravings for unhealthy foods
  • Improved energy and mental clarity
  • Healthier looking skin and complexion
  • Breaking bad habits and resetting relationship with food

However, the Master Cleanse is controversial, with many health experts raising concerns over its extreme calorie restriction, lack of protein, and potential for side effects. It is not meant for extended periods of time.

Transitioning Off the Master Cleanse

It is very important to slowly transition off the Master Cleanse by methodically reintroducing solid foods. Abruptly stopping the cleanse can be dangerous. Plan for a 3-6 day transition period.

Follow these tips for transitioning:

  • Day 1: Drink orange juice and continue lemonade at reduced amounts
  • Day 2: Drink vegetable broth and juice; lemonade as needed
  • Day 3: Eat raw fruits and vegetables; lemonade as needed
  • Day 4: Begin reintroducing cooked foods
  • Day 5-6: Return to regular diet, avoiding heavy meats, dairy, soy, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol

Take this transition period slowly, listening to your body very closely. This will allow your body to gradually adapt from a fasted state to one of food digestion and prevent problems like digestive distress, bloating, cramping, fatigue, constipation, or diarrhea.

Safety Concerns With the Master Cleanse

While the Master Cleanse may provide some benefits, it also comes with health risks that must be considered:

  • Extremely low calorie intake can slow metabolism
  • Lacks protein, fats, fiber and other essential nutrients
  • May cause dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dehydration
  • Not sustainable long-term
  • Weight loss is often temporary

The Master Cleanse is not appropriate for children, pregnant women, or individuals with health conditions like diabetes or eating disorders. It’s best done under the supervision of a doctor.

Making the Master Cleanse Work for You

Here are some final tips for success on the Master Cleanse:

  • Read the original Master Cleanse book for full directions
  • Consult your doctor, especially if any health conditions
  • Plan restful activities and light exercise only
  • Stay close to a bathroom during flush periods
  • Drink plenty of non-lemonade fluids like herbal teas
  • Manage any hunger or cravings with more lemonade
  • Transition off the cleanse properly over several days
  • Focus on keeping up energy levels and daily activities
  • Use it as a reset but not for extended weight loss


Determining your ideal cups of Master Cleanse lemonade per day requires understanding your caloric needs, being aware of any health issues, and closely monitoring your body’s signals. While 6-12 cups is the standard recommendation, you may need more or less depending on your level of activity and other factors. Drink the lemonade incrementally throughout the day. Follow safe transition procedures and consult a doctor, especially if any underlying health conditions. Be prepared for possible side effects and use the cleanse to hit the reset button on healthier eating when done.