Why am I Not Losing Weight on Master Cleanse?

The body protects itself from losing weight. This feature serves to reduce the risk of starvation during times of famine. One danger of the Master Cleanse and other fad diets is that the body's metabolism will respond to the lack of food by slowing down. Any weight lost during the cleanse probably will be water weight, which most likely will return when normal eating resumes.


Master Cleanse gained popularity because of rumors that celebrities use it. It consists of consuming a lemonade made with cayenne pepper and maple syrup, and drinking saltwater and a laxative tea each day for 10 days. Despite all the hype about the Master Cleanse and other techniques for "detoxification," there's no scientific evidence of beneficial effects, according to Harvard Medical School. More than 30 percent of the weight lost on a extreme diet of less than 1,100 calories may come from muscle tissue, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports.

Weight Loss

An extreme diet such as Master Cleanse may be the cause of the loss of muscle, which slows the body's metabolism. This means that fewer calories are burned per day than before the diet was started. A slower metabolism sets up increased weight gain and even more difficulty losing weight in the future. To lose 1 pound requires a calorie-deficit of 3,500. Cutting 500 calories a day below a normal maintenance level can help drop 1 pounds per week. Women should consume at least 1,200 calories a day and men should consume at least 1,600 calories a day.

Cleanse Problems

Lemon juice in the Master Cleanse lemonade promotes bowel movements, as does the daily saltwater. Between the laxative effect and the water loss that accompanies the food restriction, weight loss may be experienced on the master cleanse. Emptying the colon and losing water weight doesn't contribute to lasting weight loss. The longer a very low calorie diet is maintained, the greater the risk of muscle loss. The body begins to break down healthy tissue -- meaning the body uses muscle for fuel when it thinks it may be at risk of starvation.


Extreme diets can harm health. Side effects include:

  • fatigue
  • hair loss
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • gallstones
  • menstrual irregularities

Weight regain is common after very low-calorie diets, the Weight Control Information Network reports. The Master Cleanse lemonade can result in dehydration, loss of electrolytes and impaired bowel function. Master Cleanse lacks protein, fatty acids and other necessary nutrients, and is extremely low in calories at only 600 per day, according to Harvard Health Publications 1. Combining dietary improvements and exercise supports healthy, lasting weight loss. Focusing on creating a healthy lifestyle can lead to long-term weight change.