Losing weight is a goal for many people. There are numerous diets that promise quick and easy weight loss. One such diet is the lemonade diet, also known as the master cleanse diet. This diet involves drinking a lemonade concoction made from lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. It is a liquid-only diet that supposedly detoxifies the body and results in rapid weight loss. But how much weight can you really expect to lose on the lemonade diet? Let’s take a closer look.
What is the Lemonade Diet?
The lemonade diet was created in the 1940s by Stanley Burroughs. It involves drinking 6-12 glasses per day of a lemonade-like beverage made from the following ingredients:
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp grade B maple syrup
- 1/10 tsp cayenne pepper
- 8 oz water
In addition to the lemonade drink, you take a laxative tea in the morning and evening and a saltwater flush if needed to have bowel movements. The diet claims to detoxify the body while providing nutrients from the maple syrup. Weight loss of up to 2 pounds per day is promised as you lose water weight and fat.
The diet is intended to be followed for 7-10 days only. After that time, you slowly reintroduce solid foods.
Expected Weight Loss on the Lemonade Diet
Since the lemonade diet contains so few calories—only around 200-500 per day—it is understandable that following this diet leads to weight loss. However, how much weight loss can you expect?
Here is a look at the average weight loss on the lemonade diet:
|Duration||Average Weight Loss|
|7 days||5-10 lbs|
|10 days||10-15 lbs|
|2 weeks||15-20 lbs|
As you can see, weight loss averages 2-3 pounds per day on the short-term lemonade diet. Over a 2 week period, you can expect to lose around 15-20 lbs. However, most of this is water weight that will return once you stop the diet.
Water Weight vs Fat Loss
It’s important to understand that the rapid weight loss on the lemonade diet is mostly water weight, not fat. Here’s why:
- Carbs hold onto water in the body. Since the diet contains no carbs, your glycogen stores decline and you lose water attached to the glycogen.
- As you burn fat on a low-calorie diet, waste products called ketones are produced. Ketones cause a diuretic effect leading to water loss through urine.
- Drinking the saltwater flush on the diet causes water excretion through bowel movements.
Therefore, while you can lose 10, 15 or even 20 pounds on the lemonade diet, a large percentage of this is water that will return when you resume normal eating with carbs.
Health Concerns with the Lemonade Diet
While rapid weight loss may tempt you to try the lemonade diet, there are some important health concerns to consider:
- Nutrient deficiencies – The diet lacks protein, healthy fat, and many vitamins and minerals. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
- Detox myth – There is no scientific evidence that the lemonade diet detoxifies the body or removes toxins.
- Loss of muscle mass – Not eating protein leads to breakdown of calorie-burning muscle.
- Lightheadedness – Low calorie and carb intake can make you feel dizzy and lightheaded.
- Gastric distress – Drinking only lemon juice and maple syrup can cause bloating, nausea and diarrhea.
Rapid weight loss on the lemonade diet may be tempting but it is not sustainable or safe. You will likely regain all the weight when you resume normal eating.
Healthier and More Sustainable Weight Loss Methods
Instead of trying risky fad diets like the lemonade diet, go for healthier and more sustainable weight loss methods. Here are some recommendations:
- Aim for 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week for a gradual decrease.
- Reduce your calorie intake by 500-1000 calories daily to burn 1-2 pounds weekly.
- Increase intake of protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables.
- Engage in 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise like brisk walking each week.
- Drink plenty of water, at least 2 liters or 8 glasses daily.
- Get enough sleep and manage stress levels.
Following a healthy reduced-calorie diet with exercise and lifestyle changes can lead to lasting weight loss over time without the risks of fad diets.
In summary, the lemonade diet promises rapid weight loss of up to 2 pounds daily and 15-20 pounds over 2 weeks. However, most of this is temporary water weight loss rather than lasting fat loss. The diet is very low in calories, carbohydrates and protein which carries health risks. While you may lose weight rapidly on the lemonade diet, you will likely regain it all when you stop the diet. For healthy and sustainable weight loss aim for 1-2 pounds per week with a balanced diet and exercise.