The Master Cleanse, also known as the lemonade diet, is a liquid-only fasting regimen that was popularized by Stanley Burroughs in his 1941 book The Master Cleanser. The Master Cleanse involves daily consumption of a lemonade drink made from lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water while abstaining from solid food for a period of 10 days to 2 weeks.
Master Cleanse Lemonade Recipe
The Master Cleanse lemonade recipe consists of the following ingredients:
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/10 tsp cayenne pepper
- 10 oz water
To make one serving of the Master Cleanse lemonade:
- Squeeze juice from 1 lemon into a glass
- Add 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Add 1/10 tsp cayenne pepper
- Pour 10 oz water into glass
- Stir or shake until well combined
This makes one 10 oz serving of the Master Cleanse lemonade. It is recommended to drink 6-12 glasses per day while on the cleanse.
Master Cleanse Ingredient Ratios
When making a batch of Master Cleanse lemonade, it’s important to stick to the proper ratios of ingredients. Here are the ratios for a single serving and for a full pitcher:
|Ingredient||Single Serving||Full Pitcher (8 servings)|
|Lemon Juice||2 tbsp (1 lemon)||16 tbsp (8 lemons)|
|Maple Syrup||2 tbsp||16 tbsp (1 cup)|
|Cayenne Pepper||1/10 tsp||4/5 tsp|
|Water||10 oz||80 oz (2.5 quarts)|
It’s important to maintain these relative ratios of ingredients rather than adjusting to taste. Reducing the maple syrup or lemon juice could lead to an imbalance that makes the diet less effective.
Master Cleanse Salt Water Flush Ratio
In addition to the lemonade drink, the Master Cleanse involves drinking a salt water flush each morning. The salt water flush helps stimulate bowel movements and eliminate waste from the body.
The ratio for the Master Cleanse salt water flush is:
- 2 tsp non-iodized sea salt
- 1 quart lukewarm water
To make the flush, dissolve 2 tsp of non-iodized sea salt in 1 quart of lukewarm water. Drink the entire quart first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The salt water flush should be done once a day while on the Master Cleanse.
Is the Master Cleanse Safe and Effective for Weight Loss?
The Master Cleanse diet was originally intended as a detox and not specifically for weight loss. However, because it involves fasting on a liquid diet, most people will lose a significant amount of weight while on the cleanse.
Typical weight loss on the Master Cleanse is said to be between 1-3 pounds per day. Many people report losing 10-20 pounds total over a 10 day cleanse. However, most of this initial weight loss is water weight and other temporary losses, not permanent fat loss.
While the Master Cleanse can produce quick weight loss, it is generally not considered a safe or sustainable long-term weight loss strategy. Drawbacks and dangers of the Master Cleanse include:
- Extremely low calorie intake – Only about 600 calories per day
- Nutritional deficiency due to lack of protein, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals
- Potential electrolyte imbalances from low sodium intake
- Blood sugar swings and energy crashes from no solid food
- Gallbladder stress from high liquid intake without fiber
- Loss of muscle mass due to protein deficiency and starvation mode
While the Master Cleanse may help remove toxins and provide short-term weight loss, it is a fast rather than a sustainable eating plan. Most health experts advise against following the Master Cleanse for more than 10-14 days at a time.
For safe, maintainable weight loss, a balanced diet of whole foods along with portion control and regular exercise is recommended. Very low calorie diets like the Master Cleanse should only be done under medical supervision.
Tips for Getting the Best Results on the Master Cleanse
If you do decide to attempt the Master Cleanse, here are some tips to get the best results and make it through the 10-14 days:
- Ease into it – Start eliminating caffeinated drinks, processed foods, meat, dairy and wheat 2-3 days before starting the cleanse
- Stay busy – Boredom and food cravings will make the cleanse harder. Plan activities and distractions.
- Drink up – Proper hydration is critical. Aim for at least 6-8 glasses of the lemonade drink per day.
- Supplement – Consider taking a probiotic, potassium and magnesium supplements to support health.
- Rest up – The detox can be taxing. Allow extra time for rest and recovery.
- Break the fast safely – Gradually re-introduce solid foods starting with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Attempting the Master Cleanse requires mental commitment, preparation and supplements to avoid health risks. As with any fast, consult your doctor before starting the Master Cleanse, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
Recipes for Easing Off the Master Cleanse
Once you have completed the Master Cleanse for your desired period of time, you will need to slowly and carefully transition yourself back to normal eating. Here are some light, nutritious recipes to help ease off the Master Cleanse:
- Fruit smoothie – Blend banana, berries, nut milk, spinach, flaxseed.
- Oatmeal – Cooked oats with almond milk, cinnamon, banana.
- Eggs – Scrambled or poached eggs with avocado toast.
- Yogurt parfait – Layers of yogurt, fresh fruit, granola.
- Broth-based soup – Clear vegetable broth with chicken or beans.
- Salads – Leafy greens with lean protein, olive oil dressing.
- Vegetable stir-fry – Sauteed veggies like broccoli, carrots, spinach.
- Baked fish – Salmon, cod or tilapia baked with lemon.
Focus on getting nutrients through easy-to-digest whole foods. Avoid heavy meats, greasy foods and junk food. Slowly transition to a balanced diet over several days after finishing the Master Cleanse.
Should You Try the Master Cleanse?
The Master Cleanse has remained popular over the decades as a way to fast, detox and drop pounds quickly. However, the extreme low-calorie liquid diet is not a long-term weight loss solution and can have negative health effects.
Like any fast, the Master Cleanse may provide certain health benefits for some people when done safely under medical guidance for short periods of time. But it is a harsh regimen not meant for extended use.
For sustainable weight management, most nutrition experts recommend a healthy, well-balanced diet focused on whole foods, portion control, and lifestyle changes. Fad diets like the Master Cleanse can help you lose weight rapidly but often regain that weight soon after stopping.
If you are considering the Master Cleanse, be prepared for the challenge of subsisting only on liquids for up to 2 weeks. Ensure you are medically fit for this extreme diet, and transition on and off the cleanse safely under your doctor’s care to avoid complications.