The Lemonade Diet is part of the Master Cleanse Detoxification Program conceptualized by a naturopath called Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s. Surprisingly, the diet continues to be popular today, with claims that celebrities like Beyonce and Denzel Washington use it for rapid weight loss and detoxification. In theory, the diet is supposed to dissolve and rid the body of toxins that accumulate due to improper eating and exercise habits, stress, and negative attitudes.
It claims to result in weight loss of two pounds a day, which in itself is interesting on a number of levels. To being with, we have discussed many times already how such rapid weight loss is, without a doubt, too demanding to be healthy for the body.
Since this diet is marketed as being a health booster more so than a fat reducer, one would think that it would try to promote a healthy weight loss rate. Secondly, research shows that the bulk of such rapid weight loss would be water and tissue loss, rather than fat.
The diet is essentially a fast. Dieters are allowed sixty ounces of spring water a day, spread over six to eight glasses. To this, twelve tablespoons of maple syrup, twelve tablespoons of lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper are added. Needless to say, the diet is only recommended for a few days at a time, and one must ease back into eating solid food very gently after partaking of the diet. People who rushed this phase have complained of considerable stomach upset and general malaise.
The diet phase itself puts very little in the way of nutrition into the body, and is very difficult to stick to since hunger and low blood sugar cause a number of distressing symptoms, such as headache, nausea, irritability and depression. One is also depriving oneself of protein, fats and just about every essential vitamin and mineral for an extended period of time, making the diet a dangerous one.
It is not suitable for anyone with special nutritional needs, such as women who are pregnant or nursing, or people with chronic diseases. Exercising would also be a dangerous move while on a liquid fast, so it is hard to see why the diet would claim to address the needs of people who have poor exercising habits.
Another caveat of the diet is that there is really no medical proof that fasts of this kind rid the body of toxins, if that is your main aim in following it. Perhaps the tissue destruction associated with starving oneself does release stored toxins into the bloodstream for elimination, but would this not be a rather dangerous tradeoff?
Simply speaking, this diet is not recommended for anyone who is looking for a long-term solution to their weight loss problems. It is not even safe in the short-term, nor is it very effective. The book itself acknowledges that once the dieter resumes eating, at least half of the weight lost will be regained since it was only water loss in the first place. The Lemonade Diet is not really much of a diet at all.