When it comes to weight loss, drinking salt water as a cleanse isn't a permanent solution. It may help you lose some fluids, but not in a pleasant way. In fact, it may even be harmful to your health. If you're trying to lose weight, you may want to skip the salty drink and watch your calories instead. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
How the Cleanse Works
Per the Master Cleanse website, the salt water cleanse requires drinking the concoction first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Within 30 to 60 minutes, you'll start to feel the laxative effects of the salty drink and may spend the next hour in the bathroom. It's recommended as a cleanse to help rid your body of toxic substances. However, there's no evidence to support any claims that a special drink improves your body's ability to detox itself, according to a 2008 article in Today's Dietitian.
What You Lose
You will lose weight drinking a salt water cleanse -- not permanent fat weight, but water weight. The salty drink causes you to have something called osmotic diarrhea due to the excessive amount of salt in the water, which is referred to as a high-solute load. When the salt cleanse hits your intestines, your body is unable to absorb the water, which causes the diarrhea.
There are some health concerns with a salt water cleanse. The increase in loose bowel movements may lead to dehydration, which can zap your energy, give you a headache or make you feel dizzy. In addition, the excessive diarrhea may lead to an electrolyte imbalance, which can cause muscle spasms, confusion, changes in blood pressure, convulsions, irregular heartbeat or even seizures.
Lose Without Cleansing
To lose fat instead of water, you need to eat fewer calories. But you don't want to reduce your intake so much that you're losing weight too quickly, which can lead to loss of muscle. FamilyDoctor.org suggests you reduce your calorie intake by 250 calories a day, which can help you lose 1/2 pound a week. Making a few changes here and there, such as drinking your coffee black or replacing your salad dressing with balsamic vinegar, can help you reduce your calorie intake without making you feel deprived.