The master cleanse is an extremely severe fasting program. It’s also known to be a detox program. It is not a DIET. Most guides or books on the subject ask a person who starts this program needs to commit at least 10 days but some suggest up to 40 days (40 days is crazy). There is absolutely no solid food allowed during this time. All that is consumed is a lemonade mixture consisting of water, fresh squeeze lemon juice, cayenne pepper and pure maple syrup. An herbal laxative an a salt water drink is also required every morning. Um…drinking basically epson salt. It is touted as a quick weight loss diet and a detoxification program. As you can imagine this is NOT a healthy route to lasting weight loss.
While fasting for short periods of time generally won’t do any harm long term fasting is discouraged by health professionals mainly because it’s commonly done in ways that can hurt your health. There are healthier options like juice fasting or eating fresh fruits and veggies only. I’m all for fasting. However, you will not get enough daily nutrition on the master cleanse plan and over time, this can cause muscle wasting. The Master Cleanse Lemonade is also devoid of a variety of nutrients, including protein. The body demands protein and when none is available for long periods of time, the result is the loss of lean muscle mass. Keep in mind that the heart is a muscle. So while a person may appear to lose a great deal of weight using this plan, part is water weight loss and some of the rest could be the result of muscle loss. After the fast is over, there is less muscle to burn calories efficiently so weight is even quicker to pile back on. Plus you’ll be eating food. If you haven’t learned to change your eating habits, that could cause more weight gain if you’re eating processed, junk food.
The normal side effects from this diet are unpleasant to say the least. Diarrhea is extremely common and is, in fact, expected, owing to lack of solid food, the laxatives and salt water ingested every morning. This is supposed to be part of the detoxification process. Headaches, nausea and fatigue are also common side effects from the master cleanse. The diarrhea can be so severe that people are unable to work and have to plan their day around how far away the bathroom is. Using laxatives for long periods of time is not recommended and can be medically harmful.
The fact is, healthy liver and kidneys are very good at their role in detoxifying the body and research shows no benefit in special cleansing programs. A prolonged fast can do more harm than good. Too rapid of a weight loss can result in the formation of gallstones. Combining a fast with laxatives can result in loss of electrolytes. A severe imbalance of electrolytes can spell big trouble, especially for your heart.
It is much more beneficial for your mind and body to embrace a healthy relationship with food and exercise and not to rely on get thin quick remedies that may do more harm than good. Taking on an artificial means of weight loss does nothing to attack the root cause of excess weight. Downing an unpleasant drink and a quart of salt water every morning takes away the pleasurable aspects of eating. We are meant to enjoy what we eat, but balance is key. We don’t need to consume mass quantities of food that we can’t burn off during the course of the day. On the other hand, we don’t’ need to starve and put our health in danger just to lose a few pounds.
PS: IF you decide to do the Master Cleanse, you should drink an Ensure or fortified liquid diet drink for nutrition to help from hurting your health. I don’t recommend the Master Cleanse at all. It doesn’t work for long term weight loss and that should be your goal, not short term. Consider juicing as a fasting option instead.