The lemonade diet, also known as the maple syrup diet and the Master Cleanse, is a very low-calorie 10-day liquid diet. It only allows drinking lemon juice combined with water, pure organic Grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The diet instructions include drinking a laxative tea each day, as well as water mixed with sea salt, which also has laxative effects. The primary purpose of the lemonade diet is detoxification, but it's also purported to help people drop 2 pounds a day. This diet has a few pros and cons.

Pro: Weight Loss

Following the lemonade diet will cause weight loss, according to registered dietitian Juliette Kellow, discussing the diet without the laxative component at Weight Loss Resources 13. Kellow notes that excessive calorie restriction generally equals weight loss.

Pro: Potential Detox Benefits

Do You Have to Use a Laxative & Salt Water Flush on the Lemonade Diet?

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Detox diets are associated with numerous health benefits, according to the Every Diet website. A typical herbal detox is claimed to eliminate waste and other toxins from the body, remove hardened material from joints, cleanse the kidneys and digestive system, purify cells and alleviate pressure and irritation in blood vessels and nerves. A detox diet might relieve symptoms of arthritis and gout, according to Every Diet.

Con: Lack of Detox Evidence

Little evidence indicates that detox diets actually remove toxins, according to The Nemours Foundation 2. The liver and kidneys are effective at eliminating toxins without restrictive dieting, and the body excretes these substances through urine and bowel movements.

Con: Temporary Weight Loss

Side Effects of the Cayenne Pepper, Lemon Juice and Maple Syrup Diet

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Any weight loss over 1 pound per day usually is due to losing water weight, explains registered dietitian Joanne Larsen at Ask the Dietitian 3. This makes the weight loss temporary. Every Diet agrees, commenting that participating in this detox diet for fast weight loss is an incorrect usage.

Con: Hunger and Blood Sugar Issues

Aside from laxatives, the lemonade diet involves drinking nothing but sugared water. Spikes and drops in blood sugar are probable, as well as hunger, irritability and lack of energy, according to Kellow.

Con: Nutrition Deficiencies

Some people choose to do the lemonade diet more than once, taking a short break in between. Nutrient deficiency is likely to result, according to Kellow, because:

  • the lemonade is lacking in protein
  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • phytochemicals
  • which are plant chemicals important for health

Con: Dental Considerations

Consuming large amounts of maple syrup and lemon juice equals consuming large amounts of sugar and acid, which can be hard on teeth, as noted by Kellow. The diet may increase the risk of tooth decay if teeth aren't cleaned frequently.