Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tips on the Master Cleanse Diet

Tips on the Master Cleanse Diet

The master cleanse diet, also called the "lemonade diet," is perhaps one of the most famous fad diets of the 21st century. Pop star Beyonc Knowles gave props to the diet for helping her lose a quick 20 pounds before she began shooting the movie "Dreamgirls." Soon other celebrities followed suit, such as Robin Quivers, David Blaine, Denzel Washington and Jared Leto. Nutritionists and doctors agree that losing weight on the master cleanse diet is possible, it just won't be healthy.

Stanley Burroughs, the Master Cleanser

    Before embarking on the master cleanser, it behooves dieters to know something about its creator. Stanley Burroughs, a self-professed holistic healer, developed the diet in the 1940s and applied it to numerous patients who sought his treatment. Burroughs claimed that his "lemonade" could cure everything from impotency to alcohol addiction to cancer. In 1960, Burroughs received his first felony conviction in the state of California for practicing medicine without a license. Then in 1984, he was again charged with the same offense, in addition to second-degree murder for the death of a leukemia patient who put credence in Burrough's lemonade concoction, as well as other unconventional healing techniques, which included casting colored light on the patient using stage gels and a common table lamp. The young patient died in excruciating pain after 30 days of drinking nothing but Burrough's "lemonade."

    Ignorant of Burrough's exposure as a charlatan in the legal arena, fad diet afficionados clung to his master cleanse diet, which was chronicled in his booklet "The Master Cleanser." After Burrough's death in 1991, author Peter Glickman wrote his own book based on the diet called "The Master Cleanse: Lose Weight, Have More Energy & Be Happier in 10 Days." To this date, Glickman, as well as other people who pitch the diet, continue to successfully hawk their own version of the master cleanse by selling books, e-books and "diet kits" on the Internet.

Doing the Master Cleanse

    The master cleanse is a liquid diet that essentially involves ingesting copious amounts of purified water with minute quantities of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The only calories dieters get from the master cleanse come from its sugar content, which prevents dieters from frank starvation. According to physician Ed Zimley, who has blogged extensively about the master cleanse, maple syrup was probably used to give the diet a more exotic "holistic" appeal, as refined sugar or corn syrup achieve the same purpose. Lemon juice, which Burroughs claims "detoxifies" the body, is a very weak acid compared to the stomach's natural acids, and cayenne pepper irritates the bowels, simulating the effects of an over-the-counter laxative.

    If this sounds unpleasant, the master cleanser isn't done with you yet. There's a second step to this diet: drinking large quantities of salt water, which soon has mini-master cleaners thundering to the bathroom to repeatedly "detoxify." In addition to weakness, mental fuzziness and extreme hunger, the unfortunate side-effect of the master cleanse is uncontrollable diarrhea and anal leakage following episodes of gas. Dieters who decide to give the master cleanse a try may want to stick close to home--or at least make sure their workplace accommodates several toilet stalls.

Does the Master Cleanse Work?

    Experts, including Zimney and nutritionists, agree that the master cleanse will result in weight loss. But weight loss is achieved through near-starvation. The master cleanse allows dieters a meager 600 calories a day; the recommended average daily caloric intake for 1600 for women and 2400 for men. As for the diet's claims of detoxification, experts point to the placebo effect--dieters feel healthier simply through the power of suggestion. Contrary to Burrough's assertions, the body detoxifies itself of impurities on a daily basis, through the kidneys, liver and other vital organs. It is these very organs that the master cleanse diet can permanently damage, if dieters starve themselves too long. According to Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the medical school of Washington University in St. Louis, fasting depletes muscle tissue in the heart and reduces the ability of the kidneys and liver to function.

    Most dieters who try the master cleanse diet gain back all the weight they loss--and even more. After days of near-starvation, there is a tendency to overeat. Even the master cleanse's most staunch critics agree with going without food for seven days won't kill you, although it's dangerous to take the master cleanse past this point. However, if you choose to try the master cleanse, there's no need to make a trip to Whole Foods. Simple water from your tap and a teaspoon from your sugar bowl achieve the same affects as Burrough's infamous "lemonade."


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