What is the Lemonade Diet?
The Lemonade Diet is a modified juice fast that was designed for the purpose of detoxifying the body to restore wellbeing. Developed by alternative health advocate Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s, the Lemonade Diet was not intended for weight loss, but it is now commonly used for that purpose.
The Lemonade Diet is an entirely liquid diet. While on the diet followers drink large amounts of a beverage made from fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water. They drink six to twelve glasses of this lemonade each day and at least an equal amount of water.
In addition to drinking the lemonade, dieters use laxatives and/or salt water flushes to flush toxins out of their bodies. Proponents of the Lemonade Diet, also called the Master Cleanse or Maple Syrup Diet, believe that toxins and wastes that accumulate in the body cause serious health problems. Poor diet, lack of physical activity, negative attitudes, and unhealthy environments cause the body to accumulate these toxins. Proponents believe you can remove the toxins and restore health through fasting and detoxifying. They claim that people who follow the Lemonade Diet experience less chronic pain, more energy, and weight loss of 20 pounds in 10 days. Opponents of this diet say that the body has organs for natural detoxification, and that laxatives and flushing are unnecessary and potentially dangerous.
There is no cost to follow the Lemonade Diet, other than the minimal costs for the ingredients. Lemonade Diet books and kits are available, but not necessary.
How the Lemonade Diet Works
There are three phases to the Lemonade Diet: The Ease-In phase, the Lemonade phase, and the Ease-Out phase.
Ease-In Phase: The Ease-In Phase is just what it sounds like: a time to slowly move toward the liquid diet. On the first day of this three-day phase you eat fresh fruits and vegetables and stay away from meat, dairy, and processed foods. The next day you restrict yourself to fruit juices and vegetable juices, preferably fresh. The third day of the ease-in you drink only orange juice, with a little maple syrup for sweetening if you like. This is also a good time to rid your environment of foods that might tempt you during your fast.
Lemonade Phase: This phase typically lasts three to ten days, but can last as long as thirty days. Longer fasts are not recommended for people new to the Lemonade Diet. You drink six to twelve glasses of lemonade and as much water as you want. To flush the toxins from your body you take a laxative or a saltwater flush twice a day—in the morning and at night. You make the saltwater flush by mixing two teaspoons of salt in a quart of water.
Here is the recipe for the lemonade. For one glass of lemonade you combine two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, two tablespoons of grade B maple syrup, and one-tenth of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder with eight to ten ounces of water. You may need to start out light on the cayenne and ease into the full amount. You can prepare each glass at a time or make enough for an entire day each morning, but never prepare more than a day’s worth in advance because it will not stay fresh.
Ease-Out Phase: The Ease-Out Phase is the Ease-In Phase in reverse. It is the transition back to solid food. On the first day you drink orange juice lightly sweetened with maple syrup. Next day it’s fruit and vegetable juices. On the third day of the ease-out you eat solid fruits and vegetables. On the fourth day you resume your regular diet.
Benefits of the Lemonade Diet
The Lemonade Diet is inexpensive; you can buy everything you need at a local food store. You will lose weight quickly.
Proponents of the Lemonade Diet say followers experience health benefits from the liquid diet and detoxification.
Concerns about the Lemonade Diet
The lemonade does not provide the recommended daily amounts (RDAs) of vitamins, minerals, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates. Fasting can destroy natural bacteria that aid digestion and support the immune system. Because it is so low in calories the diet can slow down the metabolism.
The Lemonade Diet is not safe for children or for women who are pregnant or nursing. It is also not safe for people with diabetes and other chronic illnesses. The diet can alter the effectiveness of prescription medications. Dieters may feel dizzy, tired, or sluggish, and may get headaches, nausea, or constipation.
Exercise is not part of the Lemonade Diet. In fact, some people may feel too weak to exercise while they are on the diet.
The Lemonade Diet does not include a long-term plan for maintaining weight loss and health gains. Followers do not learn healthy eating habits and return to their regular diets whether they were healthy or not.
The Lemonade Diet is extremely restrictive, making it very hard to stick to.
Talk to Your Doctor
The Lemonade Diet is an extreme weight loss plan that is not successful or safe for everyone. It is very important that you consult with your healthcare provider before you start the Lemonade Diet, especially if you have a chronic medical condition or take medication. Your personal provider knows your health and weight issues and can advise you as to whether this is a good diet for you. He or she may suggest alternate or additional ways to achieve your goals, and may refer you to other medical specialists, a registered dietitian, or a trainer for further assistance.
If you do decide to follow the Lemonade Diet, be sure to speak to your doctor if you experience any problems or have any concerns while you are on the diet.