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How Much Weight Will You Lose on the Maple Syrup Diet?

By Lisa Sefcik ; Updated July 18, 2017

The maple syrup diet is a fad diet that grew out of the roots of the pseudo-science of a 10-day fasting ritual to "cleanse" the body of dangerous toxins. Weight loss is a natural side effect of this very low-calorie, liquid fast. Proponents of the maple syrup diet claim to have lost a pound a day. However, lasting weight loss on the maple syrup diet is highly unlikely.


The maple syrup diet also is called the lemonade diet, the lemon juice diet and the Master Cleanse. Self-proclaimed holistic healer Stanley Burroughs developed the diet back in the 1940s and published it in a pamphlet called "The Master Cleanser." According to Burroughs, most dieters should follow the diet for 10 days but can follow it for up to 40 days "in serious cases." According to the website Everydiet, the original purpose of the diet was to "detoxify" the system of "toxins" than can cause a variety of diseases and health problems.

The Diet

If you choose the maple syrup diet, you subsist on a liquid concoction made of maple syrup, lemon or lime juice, cayenne pepper and water. Burroughs' instructions have cleansers drink six to 12 10-ounce glasses of the "lemonade" each day. His pamphlet encourages use of herbal laxative teas and saltwater flushes to increase bowel movements. According to a December 2006 article in "The New York Times," if you drink only six glasses of the lemonade concoction you get only 650 calories each day. Most women need 1,600 calories or more to maintain their weight, and most men need roughly 2,400.

Weight Loss

Weight loss on the maple syrup diet can vary, depending on how long you stay on the diet and how strictly you adhere to it. This diet is popular among celebrities. Pop singer/actress Beyonce Knowles lost a quick 20 pounds for her role in the movie "Dreamgirls," and Robin Quivers purportedly lost more than 60 pounds on the diet.

Diet Myths

You might lose a few pounds on the maple syrup diet, but it's likely that you'll gain it right back after you go back to eating solid food. Starvation diets are difficult to maintain, and many people have difficulty completing even the first 10 days of the maple syrup diet. Also, most of the weight you lose will be water weight rather than fat.

Other Cautions

Don't be tempted to buy into the notion that the maple syrup diet purifies your body of "toxins;" that's the role of your liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and other vital organs. If permanent weight loss is your goal, set realistic and sustainable goals. According to the Weight Control Information Network, you can lose 1/2 to 2 pounds a week by eating healthier foods, exercising portion control and increasing your level of physical activity.

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