Master Cleanse (Lemonade Diet)

lemonade dietFads come and go – but this one just keeps on coming. Stanley Burrough’s “Master Cleanser” (aka Lemonade Diet) continues to garner attention from all over the place.

Recently BeyoncΓ© Knowles admitted to using a “Maple Syrup detox” (which led to a huge surge in popularity). Now the diet has even attracted the attention of the NY Times.

The Internet teems with testimonials to the cleanse, also known as the lemonade diet, claiming that it fights disease such as Candidiasis, clears the mind as well as acne, and increases energy. Bloggers chronicle their daily fasting. Master cleanse video diaries can be found on YouTube, and a cottage industry has developed with various companies peddling cleansing kits including all ingredients for the beverage except lemons.

The Master Cleanse appeared in a booklet by Stanley Burroughs in 1976. The booklet was called The Master Cleanser. The cleansing detox diet has always been popular due to word of mouth – but in 2004 was picked up and marketed by Peter Glickman.

The Master Cleanse

Indeed, the book states that at least 1/2 the weight will come back on after completing the diet. Many people incorrectly use this for fast weight loss. This is not what the diet is intended for.

Detox diets such as the lemonade diet are not for the faint-hearted. They are difficult to follow – typically because we are so addicted to food.

The Recipe

  • 60 oz spring water per day (spread over 6 10 oz glasses)
  • 12 tablespoons Organic Grade B Maple Syrup (or 2 tbsp. per glass)
  • 12 tablespoons freshly squeezed organic lemon juice (or 2 tbsp. per glass)
  • a little over half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or 1/10 tsp. per glass) or to taste

People experience varying degrees of success as their body begins to flush itself of toxins – but the first few days are hardest. Some only use the lemonade diet for 4-5 days, while others take it out to 2 weeks.

Lemonade Diet Kit

master cleanser diet

This kit includes everything you need to complete the lemonade diet or Master Cleanse.

  • All ORGANIC ingredients needed for the Stanley Burroughs’ Master Cleanse Diet (except lemons) including FREE BOOK: The Complete Master Cleanse by Tom Woloshyn
  • 32 oz Grade B Organic Maple Syrup (Bpa Free and Formaldehyde Free)
  • 8 oz Organic compliant Sea Salt- Selina Naturally
  • 90 capsules Certified Organic Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annum) – Oregon Wild Harvest (1 Bottle – 90 GF, vegan capsules)
  • 1 Box Organic “Smooth Move” Laxative Tea – Traditional Medicinals (1 Box of 16 tea bags) and 1 Box Organic Peppermint Tea – Traditional Medicinals (1 Box of 16 tea bags)

You can order the kit here.

A typical herbal detox will do the following

  • Dissolves and eliminates toxins that have formed in any part of the body
  • Cleanse kidneys and digestive system
  • Purifies the glands and cells
  • Eliminate waste and hardened material in joints and muscles
  • Relieves pressure and irritation in nerves, arteries and blood vessels

Possible Detox Reactions on the Master Cleanse

  • Rashes and skin eruptions
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Food cravings
  • Insomnia

The only other foods consumed is a laxative tea (“Smooth Move”) twice a day, and a saline (sea salt) wash. The laxative may be required due to the lack of fiber in the diet that may lead to constipation.

Breaking the Fast

The Lemonade Diet / A Master Cleanse CDThe Lemonade diet is also now available as an audio CD

This must be done gently, by easing your way back into solid food. Vegetable soup is a good starter, and fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be started until the second day out of the juice fast.

Before doing the lemonade diet, Stanley Burroughs book (see below) is a must-read.

Master Cleanse Coach

master cleanse coach bookThe Master Cleanse Coach is written by Peter Glickman, who has been referred to as a modern-day guru of the Master Cleanse.

Glickman has personally coached over 2,000 people who have undertaken this detoxification program.

This book gives you all the information you need to undertake the Master Cleanse.

However, it is also written as a guide for those who wish to coach others through the procedure.

Nutritionist’s Warning

The Master Cleanse or lemonade diet should only be used for a short period of time or serious health problems could arise.

NOTE: You can get the full details of the Master Cleanse here.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Penniston, K. L., Nakada, S. Y., Holmes, R. P., & Assimos, D. G. (2008). Quantitative assessment of citric acid in lemon juice, lime juice, and commercially-available fruit juice products. Journal of Endourology, 22(3), 567-570. link
  • BLOOM, W. L., & AZAR, G. J. (1963). Similarities of Carbohydrate Deficiency and Fasting: I. Weight Loss, Electrolyte Excretion, and Fatigue. Archives of internal medicine, 112(3), 333-337. link
  • KATZ, D. L. (2003). Pandemic obesity and the contagion of nutritional nonsense. Public health reviews, 31(1), 33-44. link
  • Burroughs, S. (2014). The Master Cleanse. Manatee Media.

267 Comments or Reviews

Comments now closed
  1. tina

    i did it i lost 10lbs in a week

    • Tony

      How about you learn how to spell and I know your a kid cause you didn’t make it look professional.

  2. Jess

    My husband also has two jobs and the salt water flush is difficult to swallow but he was able to drink it. It’s very fast and effective. Within 20 mins. he was clearing it all out and within 2 hours he was done. So just do it before bed then start the cleanse in the morning.

  3. Jess

    My husband actually wanted to do this so I started it to support him. He quit on me after 24 hours but I just didn’t want to stop. I felt just as hungry and cranky with the headaches as he did but I knew if I fought my way through them I would reap much greater benefits and so far I have. By day three I had so much energy I was able to clean and organize my entire house, do yard work, take my kids and dog for a walk, and I didn’t even need my usual 6 cups of coffee to get through it. I’ll admit cooking for two kids and my husband and giving them snacks made me want to at least bite into a juicy pear but once I got over my psychological addiction of habitual eating I felt fine. Today is Easter and I am on day five of the cleanse. Singing at church made me feel a little faint but I think I just didn’t drink enough this morning. This evening I was able to sit at the dinner table with everyone eating their ham and mashed potatoes and felt no desire to eat it. I just drank my lemonade feeling such a sense of empowerment and pride. I definitely had “baby weight” of which I have lost 8 pounds of toxic swelling and feel and look incredibly healthy. I could instantly see it in my face, my skin, my legs, even my arms as well as feel sinus pressure be released. Honestly I will never allow myself to go back to unhealthy eating that makes me feel so lethargic and depressed. I have sang praises to everyone I know about this cleanse and will continue to do so.

  4. Amica

    Eat less, eat raw, eat early.

    Otherwise known as Quantum Eating.

    Our bodies get overloaded with processed foods and there is usually not enough fibre – soluble or otherwise – to stimulate the peristaltic action essential for healthy colon activity.

    No wonder you’re bunged up!

  5. Amica

    Those predisposed to eating disorders are not advised to fast.

    You can blame anything and everyone for your failings but if you really want the honest truth, it is staring at you in the mirror.

    It is often easier to blame external sources than being honest with oneself and looking inside for the hard facts.

    My first Master Cleanse was a life changing 28 days curtailed by bad planning prior to a holiday.

    This time it is being preceded by a parasite cleanse, liver cleanse and I will be making the most of the 40 wonderful days of intestinal rest. I can honestly say I am very much looking forward to ridding my poor body of the rubbish it has unwittingly been absorbing from this toxic environment of ours.

  6. Angela

    Amber, I’m curious to know if the cleanse rid you of the parasite and candida overgrowth. Thinking about doing it for the same reasons.

  7. Angela

    Amber, I’m curious to know if the cleanse rid you of the parasite and candida overgrowth. Thinking about doing it for the same reasons.

  8. Nilda

    Don’t fall off the wagon, prepare ahead of time. I bought all the ingredients I needed for 14 days. I start my day with a cup of hot water and make a pitcher of the lemonade for the day. If I am going out I take a 20 oz water bottle filled with the lemonade and drink it when I am hungry. If I think I will be out longer I take 2 bottles. It’s my 8th day and I feel great! Another tip is to make sure you still have a little at the end of the day and when hunger strikes finish it off!

  9. Nilda

    Try drinking a hot cup of water every morning. It works for me!

  10. Nilda

    I agree totally. I am on the fast , my 8th day and I am feeling great, more energetic and a urinary infection I was battling is gone. I’ve dropped 10 lbs and will fight like mad to keep the weight off after the fast.

    I am currently writing a novel and my mind has never been clearer and the creative juices flowing…I can’t get away from the computer!

  11. Janis

    I buy organic pepper from my healthfood store and empty capsules… then I put the pepper in the capsules and take them with my lemonade… I can’t stand the taste of the pepper especially 6-12 times a day… eeekkkk! πŸ™‚

  12. Fireman

    No, it’s 2 teaspoons, not tablespoons. And the t teaspoons are non-iodized sea salt, not table salt. And they are mixed with one quart of purified water. All of this is very important to get the flush’s benefits and not harm yourself.

  13. Sulley

    Keisha said she did detox 3months ago not that she was on it for 3months…get your facts straight. Keisha is absolutly correct in her comments about the cleanse. It should be used to detox not lose weight!

  14. Sulley

    Keisha said she did detox 3months ago not that she was on it for 3months…get your facts straight. Keisha is absolutly correct in her comments about the cleanse. It should be used to detox not lose weight!

  15. Amy

    I am 18 months into breastfeeding. My daughter only breastfeeds a couple of times a day at this point (she’d like to more, but doctor has advised not to as she doesn’t keep enough weight on if I let her bf too much, because she becomes uninterested in solid food and just sips all day). I am 60lbs overweight (ack!) and don’t want to keep waiting for her to wean. I feel I need to do something drastic to get me off my sugar cravings, but obviously don’t want to harm the baby. Does anyone have first hand experience of doing the master cleanse during extended breast feeding?

  16. zerin

    i am starting my master cleanse diet from tomorow i am hoping to lose atleast 20lbs i dint buy the book so please can anybody help tell me the process i should follow everyday for the cleanse to get great result.

  17. Hollen

    Hey! How did you get passed the crazy cravings? I have been trying to do 10 days already and Not one full day have I done 100%. I’m trying so hard. But, I am going to start tomorrow over. I tried working out around the time I normaly break down, and watching a movie. Extra. I’m wearing a rubber band tommorow hoping the pain snaps me out of it. I need this I am 308lbs. The end of 2006 I was 395lbs. But, I feel like I’m going no were fast now.
    Please if anyone can help I would love you for it!

  18. TARA


  19. jericha

    do you know more about kidney disease and the master cleanse?

  20. finished diet

    If you believe in something that has done so well for you and if it is easy out of the kindness of our hearts and the knowledge from the experience We like to share some good news. Only people who have been unsuccessful or haven’t tried bash it. But is that always the case (in career success also). Your “scientific question” isn’t science if you don’t want to understand the health benefits. One you are clean you feel more positive Give it a try and find out your self it may unsquish your face πŸ™‚

  21. Bro

    Umm to the naysayers who are saying it is flushing out of your system before it can digest…

    Ummmmm Really? Then what is it flushing out if you are not eating?

  22. S. Rose

    Kevin, what did you end up doing? I have a sprint tri this Saturday (it is Monday) and I am unsure of whether I should start the cleanse now or do it afterwards, or even just do a few days of it now?

  23. hillgirl

    I am excited for you! I hope the cleanse works for you as well as it has for me in the past. I feel so much healthier and more energized after each cleanse. Now that I am learning portion control all excess weight stays off. Hypnosis has helped dramatically with portion control and strenuous activity. Good luck to you and be happy!

  24. Kevin

    I have done the MC twice in the last three years. Once for 10 days and once for 20 days. I am a 36 year old life long athlete who has never been even slightly overweight. In fact, my active lifestyle (I surf 5 days a week and race mountain bikes) has always kept me mindful of the food I put in my body for optimal health and performance. I do the MC because of the benefits to my colon, NOT for weight loss. I know many healthy, fit individuals who do some form of detox at least once a year. These systems can be adopted by foolish people who enjoy fads or quick fixes, but that doesn’t decrease their legitimacy. The MC is a great detox system for someone who is looking for improved heath and fitness. If you’re looking for a fad or a quick fix you most likely have an eating disorder. I suggest you speak with a nutritional psychologist instead of giving a very legitimate form of healing a bad name.

  25. Alexso

    I’ve been on the Master cleanse since last Tues. Dropped about 8 pounds so far, doing well. It’s been a week and 1 day so far and my goal is 2 weeks. But!!..This Sat there is a small sprint Triathlon in the morning. My question is, would I be able to do the Triathlon without not having to take in food afterwards or in between? Is it too dangerous?

    Or will I not have enough energy to even bother doing it? I do Tri’s, but this one falls in the middle of my doing the Master Cleanse this weekend. I don’t want to miss it.
    Or can I just stop the cleanse on thursday or Friday and load up on carbs(if I have too)to be ready for Sat Tri?
    If anyone seriously knows the answer to this please give me some much needed advice.

    Thank you ahead of time.

  26. mel

    I went on the lemonade fast two weeks ago and feel awesome now! I haven’t gained a pound back… Lost almost 13 lbs in 10 days. If you guys have any questions about the diet or want to order grade b syrup you should check out this really informative site called

  27. Rachida

    Hey guys my name is Rachida and I’m from Belgium. Wel out here the lemon detox diet isn’t very known yet , but i found out trough you tube. Im about to start in 3 days and i’m very nerveous. I’m gonna do it for 14 days and hope to lose at least 10 pounds, but i’m not quit sure if this diet is gonna make me lose that much weight so i really want to know how much weight you guys lost with the lemon detox diet !

  28. deb

    Im starting today,54,hypothyroid,bp low 111/68, wt 225,5″6, 41″ waist, I eat mostly healthy, raw fruit veg,fish,nuts,no meat no sugar,no white flour for months now,only healthy oils,use stevia in my one cup of coffee,drink only water and tea, Not much exercise, I do streaching yoga 30 min am, sometimes 30 min on treadmill, MY scale I think is wrong weight much more on others, Anyway I have been trying for months now,And only show a 5 lb loss, Although dieted for a week or so before getting on the scale,so I may have lost more, SO discouraging,I want to get below 200, Its been decades WISH ME LUCK,

  29. eleanor60

    I have done the master cleanse detox a few times and have found that the detox is very successful. I have always felt so much better afterwards.

  30. anonmymous

    yes you do a bowel movement… the tea helps move it.

    The smooth move tea will get it moving at night, the salt water flush will move it fast. It was too intolerable for me after 3 weeks, so I ended up doing the team in the morning and at night.

  31. Raina

    I am on my 10th day of the 10 day master cleanse. I started so I could jump start some weight loss but for me the weight loss wasn’t very significant. I’ve lost about 8 pounds. I read all the amazing testimonies about the other effects of detoxing but didn’t really buy it. For me, the most amazing thing is my skin, my face. It looks so much brighter, like when I was in my 20s( I’m in my early 30s)…and no more dark circles. I truly can’t believe it…I did not expect it and was not looking for it. Definitely not a placebo effect.

    That alone, makes me want to change the way I eat. I get cravings sure but after 10 days, I really feel like there is nothing I can’t do without. No more soda for me. I’ll cut back on meat & dairy and eat alot more raw fruits and vegtables. This has shown me that what you eat is so much more than weight gain or weight loss.

  32. Jerome perez

    Critic, first of all you are an idiot. Stanley Burroughs did go to jail for his patient dying under his care, but that person was already dying from leukemia! And yes he did die but if you know anything about medicine leukemia it is usually fatal. Yes he did get convicted but for practicing medicine without a license. So of all the people who have stuck to this diet and had great results, probably many thousands, one person died who already had a diagnosis of leukemia!

  33. missdeadly

    pls tell me how did ur MC go with breast feeding. i am still totally puzzled if i shud start the MC. my daughter is 1 yr old and i want to start doing the |MC.

    Help me out.

  34. Lisa

    There is such a thing as a scary to low weight. I would be very cautious. Soceity puts too much emphasis on women who look anorexic. I used to look that way. Now I cannot imagine ever looking that way again. Beauty isn’t found on magazine covers. It is found deep within yourself because our souls are the only measure to our beauty, in my opinion. But it took me a long time to believe this. Health is great. But there are also dangers with being to thin or thick…I hope you attain health. After reading your weight it frightend me for you. Forgive me for being intrusive. I only gave my opinion because I care.

  35. Kay

    Most people who disagree with the Master Cleanse and have not tried it just don’t have the will power to do it. You will not gain all your weight back if you take care of yourself after the detox: no meat, lots of fruits and veggies, and lots of fiber, blah blah blah. Your system is improved and appreciates the cleanse. Anyone who doesnt try the cleanse and just sits around eating meat and then adds comments to here is ignorant.

  36. Ashley

    Hello, I am a 27 y/o very healthy athletic male. This is my 3rd time doing the Master Cleanse. It is not to lose wieght. I do it to detox and to rid any extra buildup in my body and parasites etc. I usually do it from 3-10 days and alsways notice results. My diet is primarily fruits, meats and veggies anyway. My skin normally increases elaticity. I feel more enrgetic at the gym. I even think I have increase in all senses (smell, touch etc). Sex drive increases too. I immediately notice what comes out and always feel I’m finished when my tongue is pink, which means my intestinal tract isd clean again. White means you have extra yeast in you. I don’t do it to lose wieght, I’m 5’11, 180 and muscular bulid so from my experience it truly cleanses my body. Hope this helps. My advice it to know your body and read reviews. I love the Master Cleanse because it works for me. It’s different fro everyone. Don’t knock it until you try it. It works for me. Parasites and toxins are at a minimum if not totally erradicated from my body.

  37. Mr. The 3rd

    If you want to lose weight, you have to keep it to 6 10oz cups a day. That was hard for me. So some days I would only have six, and others I would have 7 or eight, and I was able to lose weight. 6 is the minimum, so if you keep it to a minimum as much as possible you will lose weight. Remember you can drink water as well as much as you want, water will help you fight the cravings.

  38. Mr. The 3rd

    Thank You!
    I’ve done the master-cleanse myself, and am about to start it again tomorrow or the day after. I don’t think it’s for everybody, but it was great for me. I do think it’s important to note that it isn’t just a diet, although you will lose weight, it is a Detox. Also it is not good to do it if you don’t have the strength to do it for a minimum of 10 days. I did it a year ago, lost about twenty pounds, and did not blow up right after. I’m a muscular 5’9″ 27 year old guy. I’m now back to my weight of 180. It took a year to get back up to that weight. I prefer being under 170, as I think about 165 is ideal for me.
    This isn’t for everybody, but it was great for me! And for all the naysayers, don’t knock it ’till you try it.

  39. Angelia

    She didn’t say it was enough to sustain a person for 3 months. She said she completed the fast 3 months ago.

  40. Marc

    hi Annie, this is the end of my fifth day, and as for the morning hour, the answer is most likely- Yes. It’s quite possible that even with the salt water you may not pass anything for a couple days, (up to 4 ive mostly read about, and one 6) but if you do the salt water flush (and have your tea in the evening) it will eventuallly begin to pass. In the morning for myself, I go to the bathrrom once before the salt water, (from tea, sometimes earlier in the morning like 3- 6) and then ill take the salt flush and within the next hour I’ll have my first flush, along with up to 5 others.. I’ve had to go still (a tiny bit) 4 hours after the flush, but only once so far. I’ve read a great deal about the master cleanse, and it so far everything is basically normal for me.

    Commit to it! As time goes on, you’ll want to more and more.. I actually crave the juice, i struggle with not drinking more then the recommended max!

    oh and a neat idea I nolticed, to crunch my early food cravings,
    was simple cut a lime (preferably, lime is a nice treat once in a while compared to lemon the whole time) in half and into wedges. Drip two spoon fulls of maple syrup over them, and sprinkle on some cayene pepper. Grab a glass of water, sit down, and suck the pulp/juice out of the lime slices.. You can dip up any syrup on the plate (as it doesnt stick to the fruit veryh well) with the wedges as you go along.
    It was really nice actually, to have that a couple times one a night there.. it was like eating and totally satisfied my cravings. You can chew on the wedges a bit, but try not to eat much of it.. just some pulp, the idea is not to get the stomach to start trying to digest anything really solid..
    As is now, i havnt really felt like that treat for the last few days, but idono whats going to happen in the future. I plan to go basically the 40 days.. longer if I feel I still have more to detox, and of course after reading more about people who have done the cleanse for long times.

    Anyway.. ^^
    It’s already been so worth it.
    I feel high, and happy, and alive, more then I can really remember..
    And I await eagerly for the sympoms of detox, when they form, I’m like “OH ya! That’s the body at work!”
    I had a yeast infection in my armpits and they are almost already gone πŸ˜‰
    So Cleanse on and Happy Healing!

  41. Kath

    The tea is definitely a must. The one that I use is Smooth Move, though the program just calls for a laxative tea in general. It is to be taken every evening before you go to bed and you follow it with a salt water flush on an empty stomach the following morning (2tsp sea salt diluted with 1l of water). I hope that answers your question.

  42. Infidelephant

    Nope – I AM an Atheist (thank god πŸ˜‰ ) and I am on Day 4. Feeling good!

  43. JAK

    I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS BUT A Question: I have 2 jobs and I can’t be constantly running to the bathroom ALL DAY. Instead of the salt water drink and nightly tea for constant diarrhea – is there a substitution such as a natural ‘inner cleanse’ pill for more bowel control??

  44. Joe_Shmoe

    Clearly you’ve never done a legitimate detox like the Master Cleanser. I agree that there are A LOT of BS “detox systems” out there promoted by unscrupulous businesses looking to make a quick buck. However, I have done the Master Cleanse and I personally know at least a dozen others who have done this cleanse with fantastic results. Our bodies are designed to detoxify themselves if we are eating a natural, raw, organic diet. But most people don’t. On a daily basis we ingest extremely toxic drugs, preservatives, processed foods, and environmental toxins. Our bodies are amazing, but they can’t keep up with all this onslaught forever.

    Don’t be so gullible as to believe that you’re healthy, because you’re not.

    In the future, maybe you could try speaking from personal experience instead of ignorant opinions formed from thin air.

    Believe what you want, but the truth remains the truth. If you do it by the book, the Master Cleanse works.

  45. toronto

    Lost 6 pounds in 2 days on the MC

  46. Jules

    It’s 2 tablespoons of sea salt right? so take one tablespoon with the salt in it, then pour a tiny amount of water on the spoon to mix with the salt. Then take a mouthful of salt, and chase it with 16 ounces of water. Then repeat. I find this less of a hassle. It’s like taking that horrible medicine when your a kid. Just pretend it’s sugar. Hope that helps.

  47. Leslie

    I’m on the 5th day of MC and have not lost one pound.
    Has anyone experienced this reaction before? Following the directions to a ‘T’;can drinking too much lemonade be the issue? Drinking about 64 to 80 ounces (8 to 10 glasses a day)

  48. Mark

    You sound like a nay saying, negative, doomsday kind of a guy. Maybe you should do your homework and really learn the purpose of a fast. Some people just shouldn’t have venues to voice their super negative opinions and I believe you may fall into this category!!

  49. Noah

    Well believe it! You want to annoy people? Start talking about organized religion and dieting. No one is here to listen to the relationship between Jesus and the Master Cleanse Diet. Isn’t there another website for religious Master Cleansers you can visit? Seriously, not another word about it, please & thank you.

  50. Noah

    Bro! Congradulations! Keep up the good work.

Last Reviewed: January 18, 2018