The cayenne pepper, molasses and lemon diet is a so-called "detoxification" regime that promises to clean your internal organs while severely restricting your caloric intake. There is no scientific evidence that these diets work, according to the Mayo Clinic website. In addition, detox diets carry serious risks for your health. However, cayenne pepper, molasses, lemon juice and water all have health benefits; drinking them as part of a balanced diet might be a good alternative to drinking sugary beverages. Consult your doctor before beginning any diet.
About the Diet
Proponents of the cayenne pepper, molasses and lemon diet claim that if you drink these ingredients in combination, they flush toxins from your system. There are many versions of this diet, but most require you to go without solid food for several days or longer. While most people can go without food for a day without ill effects, any diet that prohibits you from eating food for longer than that could pose a serious risk to your health. Additionally, according to KidsHealth, detox diets can be addictive. In a review of the medical research on detox diets, Consumer Reports magazine found them to be without scientific merit. Detox diets can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as intense diarrhea, nausea and exhaustion. Going without sufficient calories for an extended period eventually leads to organ failure and death. Do not start a detox diet if you are pregnant, have a health condition or suffer from an eating disorder.
For centuries, people around the world have used cayenne pepper both as a spicy flavoring in cooking and as a folk remedy for conditions such as weak appetite and digestion and circulatory problems. The active ingredient in cayenne pepper is capsaicin, a powerful pain reliever when applied topically. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, as of September 2011 there is no scientific evidence that cayenne pepper can help you lose weight. Cayenne pepper adds spiciness to the warm water, lemon and molasses drink.
Molasses is a dark, thick syrup derived from the process of refining sugar. It is a common ingredient in ales, rums and baked goods. Molasses, especially the less-processed blackstrap molasses, is a good source of calcium and other minerals, including manganese, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B-6 and selenium. Mixing 1 tablespoon into warm water with cayenne pepper and lemon adds sweetness and about 58 calories.
One lemon contains 90 percent of your USDA recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Its acidic flavor brightens teas, soups and salad dressings. It adds nutritional value and zing to warm water, and it enlivens the lemon, cayenne and molasses combination. Drinking lemon juice in water is hydrating and refreshing, making it a good alternative to sodas, energy drinks, an evening nightcap or that fourth cup of coffee at the office.
- "Consumer Reports"; Do You Really Need to Detox?; January 2009
- KidsHealth: Are Detox Diets Safe?; Mary L. Gavin, MD; January 2009
- MayoClinic; Detox Diets: Do They Work?; Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Cayenne; Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD; November 2008
- Drugs; Sweeteners; David C. Dugdale, III, MD; May 2009
- Encyclopedia; How Products Are Made; Molasses; Mary McNulty; 2009
- MedlinePlus; Calcium; Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE; Februrary 2011