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What is maple and cayenne diet?

The maple and cayenne diet is a cleanse diet that involves consuming a drink made of maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice for a period of 7-14 days. Proponents of this diet claim it can help with weight loss, detoxification, and improving overall health. However, there is little scientific evidence to support these claims.

History of the Maple and Cayenne Diet

The maple and cayenne diet was created in the 1940s by Stanley Burroughs, an alternative health practitioner. He advocated using an all-natural lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper drink to cleanse the body of toxins and promote healing. The diet gained popularity again in the 2000s through promotion in books and on internet forums.

How the Maple and Cayenne Diet Works

The maple and cayenne diet is done as a liquid cleanse, meaning no solid foods are consumed for a period of 7-14 days. The only thing consumed on this diet is a drink made of:

  • Maple syrup – Provides carbohydrates and minerals
  • Cayenne pepper – Contains capsaicin which is believed to boost metabolism
  • Lemon juice – Aids digestion and provides vitamin C
  • Water – For dilution and hydration

The ingredients are mixed together in water and drank throughout the day whenever hunger occurs. The maple syrup provides carbohydrates so the dieter does not become hypoglycemic or low in energy. The cayenne pepper is thought to increase metabolism and fat-burning. Lemon juice adds enzymes and electrolytes.

No solid food is consumed on this cleanse diet. Herbal laxative teas may also be consumed to promote cleansing through elimination. The diet claims that by consuming only these liquid ingredients for 7-14 days, the body can detoxify and lose weight quickly.

Proposed Benefits of the Maple and Cayenne Diet

Proponents of the maple and cayenne diet claim it offers many health benefits including:

  • Weight loss – By consuming only maple syrup drink for 7-14 days, calories are severely restricted which may lead to rapid weight loss in the short term.
  • Detoxification – The liquid diet is claimed to give the digestive system a rest and promote the elimination of toxins.
  • Improved digestion and gut health – Removing solid foods, reduceing inflammation, and consuming probiotic lemon juice may improve gut function.
  • Increased energy – The spiciness of cayenne pepper may give an energy boost throughout the cleanse.
  • Improved immune function – Maple syrup provides zinc and antioxidants to support the immune system.

However, there is limited scientific research available to back up these health claims. The majority are anecdotal reports from those who have tried the cleanse diet.

Criticisms and Dangers of the Maple and Cayenne Diet

While the maple cayenne cleanse diet may lead to short term weight loss, there are many criticisms and dangers to this extreme liquid-only regimen:

  • Extreme calorie restriction – Consuming only maple syrup drink leads to an extremely low calorie intake, far below what is considered safe or healthy.
  • Nutritional deficiencies – The diet lacks protein, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins needed for health. Deficiencies may occur after 7-14 days.
  • Loss of muscle mass – No protein intake causes rapid loss of valuable muscle mass during this cleanse.
  • Weakness and fatigue – Lack of calories can lead to low energy levels.
  • Hunger and cravings – Maple syrup drink does not satisfy hunger and food cravings may be intense.
  • Headaches – Potential side effect from no caffeine or low blood sugar.
  • Dehydration – The laxative teas and fluid restriction promote water loss.
  • Electrolyte imbalance – Low sodium levels may occur from only drinking maple syrup drink.

Once the cleanse is over, any weight lost is often quickly regained. No long term healthy eating pattern is established through this liquid-only diet. Most health experts advise against following fad detox or liquid cleanse diets.

Typical Schedule on the Maple and Cayenne Diet

A typical daily schedule on the maple and cayenne diet may look like:

Time Drink
7-8 AM Maple syrup drink
10-11 AM Herbal laxative tea
12-1 PM Maple syrup drink
3-4 PM Maple syrup drink
6-7 PM Herbal laxative tea
8-9 PM Maple syrup drink

Drinking adequate water in addition to the maple syrup drink is also recommended to stay hydrated.

Maple and Cayenne Drink Recipe

The maple and cayenne drink is easy to make with just a few ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 8-10 ounces filtered water

Add all the ingredients to a glass and stir or shake until well combined. The amounts can be adjusted based on personal taste preferences for sweetness or spice. Drink the full 8-10 ounces each time to obtain carbohydrates for energy.

Transitioning Off the Maple and Cayenne Diet

When coming off the maple and cayenne diet after 7-14 days, it’s important to transition slowly back to regular eating. Suddenly going back to normal eating can be a shock on your digestive system.

Experts recommend transitioning with foods such as:

  • Fruit smoothies
  • Vegetable broth soups
  • Oatmeal or rice porridge
  • Nut butters
  • Cooked whole grains
  • Beans, lentils
  • Eggs
  • Low fiber veggies

Start with smaller portions of easier to digest foods and gradually work back up to regular meals over 2-3 days. Pay attention to your body’s signals. This allows your gut time to readjust from the liquid cleanse back to solid foods.

Should You Try the Maple and Cayenne Diet?

The maple and cayenne diet is an extreme short term liquid cleanse diet. While it may lead to rapid weight loss at first, the risks likely outweigh any potential benefits.

Losing weight fast by starving yourself is not healthy or sustainable long term. You are better off focusing on consistent healthy eating, exercising, and lifestyle habits for permanent weight management.

Consult a doctor before attempting any radical cleanse diet, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions. Most health experts warn against following diets with so few calories and nutrients.

While the lemon, maple syrup, and cayenne drink may have some health benefits in moderation, it should not be relied on as a sole source of nutrition. The maple and cayenne diet is difficult to maintain and often leads to quick weight regain once normal eating is resumed.


The maple and cayenne diet involves consuming only a spicy lemonade drink made with maple syrup for 7-14 days. It was created as a detox cleanse and weight loss aid but has many risks including nutritional deficiencies, loss of muscle mass, and electrolyte imbalance. While short term weight loss may occur, the diet is extremely restrictive and lacks scientific research. Most health experts do not recommend this fad cleanse diet.