The Ugly Truth About the Master Cleanse Detox Diet

Everyone wants to lose weight and they want to lose it fast. This is why countless diet programs were developed with the promise of getting significant weight off in a matter of weeks. One of the most popular and effective yet controversial diet plans is the Master Cleanse detox diet. Developed by Stanley Burroughs in the 1950’s, it has rose prominence through the endorsement of high profile celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyonce Knowles who dropped twenty pounds for a movie role in a matter of days.  This seemingly great solution for instant weight loss has alarmed many nutritionists and experts who believe that this is an unhealthy way to lose weight.

What is the Master Cleanse detox diet?

The Master Cleanse is a liquid diet combining two tablespoon lemon juice, two tablespoon maple syrup and cayenne pepper diluted in a cup of water. This mixture is then consumed with laxatives for at least ten days. The total calorie count for this concoction is a little over six hundred which is way below the recommended daily one thousand- minimum caloric intake. This is the reason why Master Cleanse is often infamously referred to as the starvation diet. Practitioners of the Master Cleanse detox diet defend this program stating that this is more of a detoxification method and a healthy form of fasting. Nutritionists on the other hand, stated that the prolonged lack of protein and nutrients in the body poses serious health risks and outweighs the benefits.

What are the risks of the Master Cleanse Detox Diet?

Loss of Energy

Because the Master Cleanse detox diet is restrictive, it is not recommended for those who lead very active lifestyle. The calorie level in the diet cannot support the energy that an active body needs. Even those with mild to regular daily activities may experience lethargy, making it difficult for them to perform their daily activities. The Master Cleanse detox diet also uses diuretics to flush out toxins in the body. This practice is highly disputed by experts who insist that individuals with properly functioning digestive system already have the perfect detox system consisting of our kidneys, liver, lungs and skin. Flushing not only gets rid of the good bacteria in our intestines, it also gets rid of vital nutrition our body needs.

Medical Complications

People with existing health problems should avoid the Master Cleanse detox diet as it will only aggravate their medical condition. Aside from stripping a significant amount of calories needed for daily functioning, Master Cleanse does not allow dieters to consume protein that may lead to muscle breakdown. This non-consumption rule deprives the body with necessary vitamins and minerals needed to ward off infections and inflammations so people with immunity or digestive problems should seriously reconsider this diet. Also, since the Master Cleanse is a crash diet, the sudden drop in food consumption can distort the potassium and sodium levels in our bodies. It also affects our blood sugar so people with diabetes or suffering kidney disease should certainly avoid this diet.


Doing a lot of physical activities while on the Master Cleanse detox diet can lead to serious dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. The amount of liquid consumed throughout the diet is not enough to compensate for the other vital juices you need from soups, vegetable and fruits. Dehydration causes dizziness, mental fatigue and cramps. It can also lead to electrolyte imbalance which means that there is an irregularity of the salt and water levels that support our heart, muscle and kidney function. Extreme cases of electrolyte imbalance are often fatal as shuts down some of our organs’ functions.


Mental and Emotional Imbalance

Dieting in general is harmful for those who have a history or predisposition to eating disorders. The Master Cleanse detox diet just increases the risk of binge eating for perpetual dieters and the rapid decrease followed by a rapid increase in weight is both physically and emotionally stressful. For those who do not have eating disorders, the lack of proper nutrition usually causes increased irritability, anxiety, sense of deprivation and lack of focus.


Overall, the Master Cleanse detox diet is not the ideal weight loss program for everyone. Fasting for more than three days puts a lot of metabolic stress to your body and you will lose a lot of muscle mass that is difficult to replace. You also compromise your organs normal functioning which may often lead to other serious diseases. It may seem hard, lengthy and inconvenient, but a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise are the real solutions to permanent weight loss and overall well-being.