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What kind of syrup for Master Cleanse?

The Master Cleanse, also known as the lemonade diet, is a liquid-only fasting diet that was created by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s. The main component of the Master Cleanse is a lemonade drink made from lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. The maple syrup is a key ingredient in the Master Cleanse lemonade, providing a source of calories and nutrients during the fasting period. But with so many maple syrup options available, what kind of maple syrup should you use for the Master Cleanse?

Maple Syrup Grades

Maple syrup is graded according to color and flavor. There are different grading systems in Canada and the United States:

Canadian Maple Syrup Grades:

Grade Color Flavor
Grade A Extra Light Delicate taste
Grade A Light Mild taste
Grade A Medium Richer taste
Grade B Amber Strong taste

U.S. Maple Syrup Grades:

Grade Color Flavor
Grade A Light Amber Delicate taste
Grade A Amber Rich taste
Grade A Dark Amber Robust taste
Grade B Very Dark Strong taste

As you can see, lighter colored maple syrups have a more delicate flavor, while darker syrups have a stronger, more pronounced flavor. Grade B syrups are darker and have the strongest maple flavor.

Choosing the Best Maple Syrup for Master Cleanse

When it comes to the Master Cleanse, lighter maple syrups are generally recommended. Here’s why:

  • The lemonade is meant to have a light, refreshing taste. Dark syrups may overpower the other flavors.
  • Lighter syrups are easier to dissolve into the lemonade.
  • The Master Cleanse is only a short term diet. Delicate flavors are less likely to get tiresome over a few days.
  • Grade A or No. 1 syrups have a glycemic index of around 54, while Grade B syrups rate at 70. The lower GI means less of blood sugar spike.

With that said, the most commonly recommended maple syrup grades for the Master Cleanse are:


  • Grade A Light or Medium

United States:

  • Grade A Light Amber or Amber

These syrups provide the classic maple flavor without being overly strong or bitter. The medium amber colors also look appealing in the lemonade.

Does it Matter if the Maple Syrup is Organic?

When doing the Master Cleanse, you want high quality ingredients that are as natural as possible. Many people prefer to use organic maple syrup for their lemonade. Here are some reasons why:

  • Organic syrups do not contain pesticides or artificial chemicals
  • They are ethically sourced and environmentally sustainable
  • Organic syrup grades correspond to color – you can reliably choose a lighter flavor
  • No additives, preservatives, flavors or high fructose corn syrup

However, 100% pure maple syrup is naturally gluten free, kosher, and vegan, even if not certified organic. So non-organic maple syrup is still an acceptable option for a detox cleanse like Master Cleanse.

Popular Brands of Maple Syrup

There are many brands of maple syrup available in stores or online. Here are some reputable brands producing high quality maple syrup in the recommended grades for Master Cleanse:

Organic Brands

NOW Foods Arrowhead Mills
Brio Maple Grove Farms
Coombs Family Farms Wholesome Sweeteners

Non-Organic Brands

Hidden Springs Maple Grove Farms
Spring Tree Anderson’s
Camp Maple Valley Maple Gold

Be sure to read the labels and select the appropriate grade. Maple syrup should be the only ingredient – no added flavors, colors, preservatives or other additives.

Making Your Own Maple Syrup

If you have access to maple trees, you can make your own maple syrup at home. This allows you to control the grade and quality of the syrup. Here is the basic process:

  1. Tap maple trees to extract the sap – sugar maple trees have the highest sap sugar content.
  2. Collect the sap into containers. It takes roughly 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.
  3. Boil down the sap on a stove or using a specialized evaporator. Simmer until the desired color and thickness is reached.
  4. Filter the syrup through cheesecloth to remove any sediment or impurities.
  5. Pour the maple syrup into sterilized bottles or jars and store in the refrigerator.

With homemade maple syrup, you can also try infusing different flavors like cinnamon or vanilla into the syrup during the boiling process.

How Much Maple Syrup do You Need?

The basic Master Cleanse lemonade recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of maple syrup per serving. Since you will be drinking the lemonade frequently throughout the day, it’s wise to make it in larger batches. Here’s a breakdown of how much maple syrup you may need:

Duration Daily Servings Maple Syrup Needed
3 days 8 3/4 cup
5 days 10 1 1/4 cup
10 days 12 2 1/2 cups

To be safe, have at least 3 cups of maple syrup on hand before starting the Master Cleanse. This will provide enough for the basic recipe each day, with a little extra as needed. The exact amount needed may vary based on your individual intake.

Storing Maple Syrup

An unopened bottle of maple syrup can be stored in a cool, dry place like a pantry for up to a year. However, once opened, maple syrup is best kept refrigerated and used within 6 months. The fridge prevents mold from growing and keeps the syrup from fermenting or spoiling quickly.

To prolong its shelf life, maple syrup can also be stored in the freezer. It may crystallize when frozen but can be warmed back to liquid form easily.

For the Master Cleanse, take out only as much maple syrup as you expect to use over 3-4 days. Transfer some to a smaller container for easy access when making your lemonade batches.

Precautions When Buying Maple Syrup

When shopping for maple syrup, watch out for these issues:

  • Imitation syrups – These contain very little real maple syrup, and instead are made from corn syrup with artificial flavoring and caramel coloring.
  • Expired syrup – Check the expiration or best-by date printed on the bottle.
  • Added ingredients – Read labels closely to be sure the product doesn’t contain preservatives, artificial flavors, etc.
  • Grade mixing – Some brands mix lighter and darker syrups to get a desired color for a grade rather than using single source syrup.

Purchase maple syrup from reputable sources and inspect it thoroughly before use. When in doubt, choosing a certified organic brand is recommended.


The ideal maple syrup for the Master Cleanse lemonade is a Grade A Light Amber or No. 1 Light maple syrup. This provides classic maple flavor without overpowering the lemonade. While organic syrup is best, high quality pure maple syrup also works well for the cleanse. Read labels carefully and inspect bottles before purchasing. With the proper maple syrup grade and a high quality source, you can enjoy delicious lemonade during your Master Cleanse detox.