What is a lemon juice diet?
The lemon juice diet is a weight loss program where you reduce calorie consumption and supplement your body with only the compounds naturally found in lemon juice for at least ten days.
Lemon Juice Diet Overview
Other terms used for this technique is the “master cleanse diet” because it helps an individual reduce weight quickly. Numerous Hollywood celebrities claim the efficacy of this technique, like Demi Moore, Jared Leto, and Ashanti all reported to have successfully shed pounds. However, since the diet requires limiting food intake significantly, it may have adverse effects on health and as of now, there are no solid scientific studies to support its safeness. Its effectiveness is primarily depended on few dieter testimonies but if you’re seriously considering this diet program, you may need to consult a health professional or dietician first.
The lemon juice diet program is developed in 1941 by Stanley Burroughs. Though originally created for ulcer treatment, he claims that his program eliminates harmful toxins in the body. The program was then re-popularized by one of Peter Glickman’s book published in 2004 titled, “Lose weight, have more energy and be happier in 10 days”.
How to Do the Lemon Juice Diet
The main goal of the program is to cleanse the body. Solid food and alcohol are restricted completely to flush out harmful toxins from the body and improve metabolism. Only water and lemon juice are allowable for a minimum of ten days. But there is an exemption to other citric juice, a saltwater blend, or herbal teas in the program.
The lemon juice used in this program contains about 110 calories and consumed at least six times a day.
Before the program
Experts on the master cleanse diet advice that before a person officially starts this program, he or she may need to prepare for at least four days. Preparation is important as it affects how the body responds to the cleanse.
- On the first two days, completely cut out dairy, soft drinks, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, processed goods, and meat. Only consume fruits and vegetables.
- On the third day, consume only soup and juice from fruits and vegetable.
- On the fourth day, only drink freshly-squeezed citric juices and water. You may also add pure maple syrup for energy. Drink herbal laxative tea before going to bed.
- On the fifth day, an individual can officially start the lemon juice diet.
During the program
During the program, the individual may only consume lemon juice and water, and/or herbal drinks and saltwater blend for a minimum of six days. Common ingredients used in the juice are:
- 30g or about 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 8 to 12 ounces of clean water
- 40g or 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
- 0.2g or 1/10 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- Mix them all together in a glass then drink it at least six times a day or whenever you start to feel cravings.
- To stimulate bowel movements, drink water with one quart of salt solution or laxative herbal teas in the morning.
The inventors of the lemon juice diet say that from 10 days, the diet may go as far as 40 days. But as mentioned, its efficacy is solely based on testimonies and no official scientific research to back up the claims.
After the program
After the ten-day program, the individual must not eat solid foods immediately because it may lead to other health issues. It is important to incorporate solid foods progressively. Start on soups, then soft foods like bread, and lastly to more solid foods.
- The first day after the program – you’re to continue drinking lemon juice for one more day.
- The second day – start on vegetable soups.
- The third day – fruit and vegetable salad.
- The fourth day – you may now enjoy soft bread.
- The fifth day – by this time, you can start eating solid foods again.
After the program, it’s highly recommended to take the opportunity to opt for a healthier lifestyle. It’s during this period that the body’s metabolism would’ve restarted and your body is more likely to be induced by changes.
How Does the Lemon Juice Diet Work?
Lemon juice or master cleanse diet is in perspective a type of fasting program that usually leads to weight loss. Like any other fasting technique out there, a proper precautionary measure must be observed.
One study observed that the average of their adult participants reduced weight by approximately 5 pounds or 2.2kg in just four days of the program. They also found that they’ve decreased the triglyceride level significantly. In another study, they observed that women who consumed only lemon juice lose approximately 6 pounds or 3kg.
Though the lemon juice diet may lead to weight loss, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that this program can maintain weight in the long-term. Studies suggest that the success rate of diet programs, in general, is only 20%. Health professionals advise that the best way to lose weight and maintain it is a change in lifestyle.
- Liver and colon detox. A lemon juice diet is a form of fasting and like many types of fasting, it may act as a detoxifier. The absence of solid foods and a diet consisting of a saltwater blend, laxative herbal drinks, and lemon juice for several days helps our body to flush out harmful toxins in the liver and colon.
- Reboots metabolism. It speeds up metabolism so we burn calories faster.
Low-calorie diets may cause health issues and some common cases include headache, nausea, fatigue, muscle pains, dehydration, and irritability. These symptoms are normal for minor starvation. Long-term exposure to fasting may cause the body to undergo ketosis—a process by which our body breaks down muscle tissue during starvation. And because of regular laxative consumption, the person may also experience constipation and bloating.
If the lemon juice diet program is improperly conducted or used excessively it may lead to health issues like heart disease or atherosclerosis, according to Linda Bacon, a nutrition professor.
Before commencing on this program, be sure to consult a health care professional.