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What is a Lemonade Diet?

By Jessica Hobby
Updated Feb 17, 2024
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The lemonade diet, also called the maple syrup diet, the lemon diet, the lemon cleanse and the lemonade cleanse, refers to the detoxifying diet created by Stanley Boroughs in 1941, called “The Master Cleanse.” This diet fell off the radar for a number of years until raw food enthusiast Peter Glickman used it in the 2005 release of his book, Lose Weight, Have More Energy & Be Happier in 10 Days. In 2005, Glickman also released The Lemonade Diet: A Master Cleanse Audio CD.

The Lemonade Diet is not so much a weight loss diet as it is a detoxifying cleanse. Boroughs’ premise is that the human body is full of millions of toxins, bacterium and parasites that cause ulcers, cancer, illness, depression, mental fogginess and sleepiness. By detoxifying the body with a mixture of purified water, freshly squeezed lemon juice, organic maple syrup, and cayenne pepper, these symptoms will dissipate allowing for an energetic and healthy existence. Weight loss is an extra bonus.

While cleansing with this diet, many people experience some common detox symptoms. One of the most reported symptoms is cravings. Most people crave the most toxic foods such as sweets, fast food and junk food, but Glickman maintains the cravings will disappear the next day with a warm bowel movement. The warmth of the elimination signifies that toxins are exiting the body and will usually end a day or two of detox symptoms. Bowel movements should be monitored, as the lack of solid food may cause constipation. Salt water rinses and herbal tea that promote regularity are recommended to keep things moving smoothly.

According to the diet guidelines, when the body is fighting toxins it becomes very tired, so detoxers will feel increased energy once the toxins have exited their bodies. When tiredness is a symptom of the cleanse, it is caused by the body excreting toxins and once again, the fatigue will disappear the next day with the elimination of warm excrement. Many people following the lemonade diet become very moody and irritable. These are psychological symptoms of the cleanse that are most usually caused by the dieter’s boredom with not being able to eat any solid food. These mood swings will subside as solid food is gradually added back to the diet.

When ending the lemonade diet, it is not recommend the dieter switches immediately back to solid food as it may be a shock to the system. Glickman and Boroughs recommend switching to orange or grapefruit juice for a few days and then starting with homemade vegetable soup before adding separate fruits and vegetables. Glickman advocates a permanent raw food diet, so once the cleanse is complete, people don’t immediately start polluting their bodies againb.

Radio host Howard Stern’s sidekick, Robin Quivers, and singer/actress Beyonce Knowles have publicly acknowledged success with this cleanse. However, it is important to note that no scientific proof is available to validate the effectiveness of the lemonade diet for detoxifying, weight loss or any other illness or ailment. Many opponents believe that positive testimonials about following the diet are a result of the placebo effect.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Melanie Sammut — On Aug 24, 2010

another thing: can i just drink six to eight glasses of warm water with lemon for 10 days with no solid foods? i think the results would be better. It's just my opinion

By Melanie Sammut — On Aug 24, 2010

Can i, instead of using maple syrup, use honey?

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