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After a long holiday season of gorging on sweet treats and a variety of delectable dishes, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the most commonly made New Year’s resolution is for people to lose weight. While trying to maintain a healthy weight is a worthwhile goal during any time of the year, many dieters try to achieve massive weight loss in a dangerously short period of time.

To aid them with their weight loss goals, dieters frequently turn to fasting and detoxification programs such as the Lemonade Diet. Also commonly referred to as the Maple Syrup Diet and the Master Cleanse, this diet gained notoriety after Beyonce announced dropping 20 pounds practically overnight while on the diet in preparation for her role in the film Dreamgirls.

The diet involves drinking a concoction made primarily of lemon juice, and no solid foods for a two-week period.  While weight loss becomes inevitable when you stop consuming calories, this type of diet can also present serious health risks. Many nutritionists point out that the Lemonade Diet lacks any kind of essential fat, fiber, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and calories.

The Lemonade Diet

The diet prohibits you from consuming any type of solid food or supplements. The only thing you’re allowed to consume is the Master Cleanse elixir, which helps to keep you hydrated. The diet requires you to drink six or more servings of the lemonade mixture daily. The only other option available as part of the diet is a salt water mixture used as a flush.

One serving of the lemonade elixir contains:

  • Two tablespoon of lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • Two tablespoons of maple syrup (organic)
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • Ten ounces of water (purified)

After staying on the fast for between one to two weeks, dieters are then encouraged to slowly start eating solid foods once again.

How the Diet Works

The Lemonade Diet works much like any other kind of fast. By subsisting on minimal calories, your body begins to shed weight. However, the pounds you do drop is generally muscle and water weight, rather than from fat. When it comes to the detoxification part of the diet, researchers have found no medical evidence that fasting rids the body of any additional toxins not otherwise processed by the liver and removed through bodily waste.

While fasting, most dieters report feeling hungry and occasionally experiencing constipation, nausea, sluggishness, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue.

Critical Response

Researchers and nutritional experts are in agreement that unbalanced diets such as the Master Cleanse not only do little to advance permanent weight loss, they can also be potentially dangerous if used for too long. Fasting can cause your intestines to lose healthy bacteria that aids the body in digestion, while also providing a boost to the immune system.

Additionally, since most of the weight you lose while on the Lemonade Diet is from water, you end up regaining that weight almost immediately after returning to solid foods. Fasting also causes your body to metabolize calories at a much slower rate. Once you begin eating solid foods, your body will struggle with processing calories as efficiently as it did prior to you beginning the diet, and you’ll actually start gaining weight, as unprocessed calories get turned into fat.

Health experts recommend dieter forego fasting or detoxing in favor of adopting more successful long-term weight loss plans, such as eating a nutritional and balanced diet.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to meet your New Year’s resolution by losing weight using diets that can hurt your long-term health. If you’re looking for a diet plan, talk with your doctor about finding a weight loss strategy that’s right for you.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance health writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Dr. William Elliott and his Oregon City Dentistry practice.


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