Get the Skinny on Cleanses


When Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher went on a master cleanse of fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup in July 2010, they tweeted about their progress. On day one of their diet, Moore declared, “This is about health!!!”, in other words, not about weight loss. “9 hrs into the master cleanse,” tweeted Kutcher. “I want a steak, a beer, and a blow-pop. Hmmm this is gonna be rough.”

Every year, millions of Americans go on a diet of some sort. And depending on which magazines, web sites, and Twitter feeds you read, it seems that a number of Hollywood celebrities are using some form of master cleanse to feel better and/or look better. During the filming of Dreamgirls, Beyoncé lost 20 pounds in 10 days on a diet of maple syrup, lemon water, and cayenne pepper. In a 2008 conversation with Interview magazine, Eddie Vedder said, “I’m on a detox thing. It’s a heavy detox, so nothing in my belly except water, salt, and cayenne pepper.”

If you’ve been wondering about master cleanses and where they came from, here’s a brief overview of the diets and their potential health implications.

What Is a Master Cleanse?

The Master Cleanse, also known as the Beyoncé Diet, the Lemonade Diet, the Lemon Cleansing Diet, and the Maple Syrup Diet, was developed in 1940 by Stanley Burroughs, an alternative health practitioner and practicing nudist. The cleanse takes 10 days, and includes six to 12 glasses of a concoction that includes lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water. Dieters also drink salt water every morning, and herbal laxative tea at night. At the end of the 10 days, solid foods are slowly integrated back into the diet.

Good to Know

•The Master Cleanse provides virtually no nutrients or protein. It is technically not a fast, as it provides about 650 to 1,300 calories a day, primarily from the maple syrup.
•There is no medical evidence that cleanses benefit the body. The body is constantly absorbing nutrients, shedding old cells, and getting rid of excess waste. Interfering with this process may be potentially harmful.
•Cleanses, fasts, and other nutrient-deficient diets may deplete muscle, including your heart, and may damage your liver, kidneys and other organs.
Create a Healthy Weight Management Plan

If you’re serious about losing weight and keeping it off, talk to your doctor about creating a plan that reflects your own personal tastes and preferences in food and physical activity. Use the following guidelines to develop your own healthy eating and exercise plan.

•Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
•Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.
•Reduce or avoid saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
•Spend time walking, biking, doing housework or doing some other form of physical activity every day.
Editor’s Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult your doctor about creating your own healthy eating and exercise plan.

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