The Master Cleanse diet is a 10-day fast that involves subsisting on lemonade, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and an herbal laxative tea made from senna leaf. Like all other foods and beverages, green tea is prohibited for dieters seeking to remain faithful to the traditional Master Cleanse program. Talk to your doctor before engaging in any fast or detox diet to reduce the likelihood of dehydration, exhaustion and other negative symptoms.
According to "USA Today," the Mater Cleanse was designed by alternative health practitioner Stanley Burroughs in the 1950s. While no studies have been performed on the effectiveness of the Master Cleanse, proponents claim a variety of benefits ranging from weight loss to reduced blood pressure to improved digestion. To follow the diet, you must avoid drinking any additional beverages, especially those containing stimulants such as caffeine.
Beverages and the Master Cleanse
Despite its relative lack of sustenance, the Master Cleanse diet claims to maintain an ample supply of calories, sugar, potassium and essential vitamins by having dieters consume a mixture of lemonade and maple syrup. According to "The New York Times," the primary beverage allowed during the Master Cleanse is the lemonade concoction made by mixing 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of grade-B maple syrup and 1/10 tsp. of cayenne pepper in 8 oz. of purified water. Each evening, an herbal laxative tea made from senna leaf is consumed, and in the morning a mixture of water and sea salt is taken to help aid in the removal of waste through the body. Both the caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties of green tea are avoided during the 10-day fast.
Withdrawal and Detox Symptoms
If you have developed a caffeine dependency prior to the fast, you might experience heightened symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, such as irritability, headaches and grogginess. The Raw Food Site regards the craving for caffeinated beverages such as tea as a symptom of detoxification during the fast. Besides rules set forth by the Master Cleanse diet, drinking caffeinated beverages on an empty stomach generally is not recommended. Considering that the average 12 oz. serving of green tea contains approximately 50 mg of caffeine, only four or five cups of tea are needed to meet the 200 to 300 mg recommended limit for daily caffeine intake. Since the Master Cleanse effectively empties your stomach over a period of 10 days, your body will be particularly sensitive to the negative symptoms of caffeine, such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tremors, increased heart rate, diarrhea and upset stomach.
Like all fasts, the Master Cleanse can potentially create a negative effect on your metabolism, reducing your body's natural fat-burning metabolic processes. Since food naturally contains quantities of water, fasting can place you at a higher risk of dehydration. Talk to your doctor before beginning your fast to reduce the likelihood of unpleasant health results.
- "USA Today"; 'Cleansing' Diets Lure Celebs But Not Health Experts; Nanci Hellmich; Mar. 24 2009
- "The New York Times"; I Heard It Through the Diet Grapevine; Lola Ogunnaike; Dec. 10 2006
- The University of Maryland Medical Center; Green Tea; Sept. 20 2010
- The Raw Food Site; Three Of The Most Common Mistakes On The Master Cleanse Diet; Peter Glickman
- MayoClinic.com; Caffeine Content For Coffee, Tea, Soda and More; Oct. 3 2009