Ever since Beyoncé used the lemonade diet, which is often called the Master Cleanse diet, to get rid of extra pounds in order to prepare for the Dream Girls movie, it has become popular, especially among women. Its proponents claim the diet does wonders and can be used as a detox program. But is it really safe to follow?
What is the lemonade diet?The term denotes a diet that was popularized by Beyoncé and developed by Stanley Burroughs, who published his The Master Cleanser in 1976. The claim is that it can “detox” the body, i.e. eliminate harmful substances from it, and help you lose weight fast. The diet implies limiting consumption of food to three liquids (well, there is no food on the menu), including herbal tea, which produces a laxative effect, salt water, and a special lemonade. The latter is made from water, maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. The total daily calorie intake is only 500 Calories. Actually, there is no doubt the diet can lead to weight loss, as such tough calorie restriction almost inevitably results in lost weight. However, it is not a healthy way of getting rid of extra pounds. And here is why.
What’s wrong with it?The diet has the same drawbacks as any other one promising fast and stunning results. According to the diet proponents, it helps shed weight within several days. The thing is, the human body simply cannot lose fat that fast. Yes, fasting (which this “detox” program actually is) can lead to weight loss, but it’s not only fat that is burned: muscles are also affected, and water supplies are depleted. Besides the harm mentioned above, the lemonade diet is not likely to bring results that will last. If one’s calorie intake is restricted suddenly and severely, the body enters an energy-saving mode, slowing down metabolism. Detox is not needed, as the body has a special organ for it – it is the liver – and the overwhelming majority of detox programs are aimed at bringing profit. Healthy eating is one thing, and detox programs is another – when you deprive yourself of food for the sake of “eliminating unwanted substances from your digestive system”, the only things you get are lost muscle tissue and deficit of certain nutrients. As of this moment, there is no evidence suggesting such a diet can benefit health in the long term. According to the information available on the diet website, those who start following the diet can experience adverse effects, which are called “detox symptoms”, including headache, tiredness, irritability, etc. Besides, as you are on a very low calorie diet, you are likely to have cravings.
Are there any benefits?If your aim is to temporarily lose weight fast, then this approach can be of use. If you consume so few calories for 10 days or so, your body will start using the supplies it has to compensate for the lack of energy and nutrients. However, lost pounds will return very soon when you start eating the way you used to. The liquids the consumption of which the diet implies are quite healthy, as there are water and lemons. Salt water is most questionable, as far as normal eating patterns are concerned. One should also be careful when consuming herbal drinks, and the compounds found in them can interfere with hormone production and other processes. Drinking enough water is a good idea.
The bottom line is that the diet does not appear to be a safe one to stick to, unless you need to lose weight temporarily and fast for some important reason. In all other cases, eating healthy food, such as veggies, whole grains, and fruits, and exercising are a much better option, because weight loss should be a gradual process.