Maple Syrup, Lemon Juice, Cayenne Pepper & Water Detox

Close-up of a lemon slice in a glass of water.
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A concoction of maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and purified water detox has its origins in the Master Cleanse diet. Stanley Burroughs introduced the diet in the 1940s, and it was repackaged as a 50-page pamphlet in 1976. While many use the diet in hopes of losing weight quickly, Burroughs intended the diet to help cleanse the body and bring renewed energy. Health experts, like "N.Y. Daily News" contributors Dr. Vincent Malone and nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, warn against extreme detox diets.


The original Master Cleanse diet called for six to 12 glasses of the lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water drink to be consumed daily. No food is allowed because, as Burroughs believed, fasting helps the body concentrate its energy on removing toxins. The diet should be followed for as long as two weeks to obtain maximum results.


The ingredients in the Master Cleanse were selected for their ability to help with body detoxification. Lemon juice, Burroughs maintained, helps purify the body and provides potassium. Cayenne pepper enhances circulation and metabolic function. The pepper also provides vitamins B and C. The maple syrup in the lemonade offers energy through natural sugars and some trace minerals. Purified water contains no potential pollutants or chemicals that you might encounter in tap or commercial bottled waters.


The lemonade concoction might result in almost immediate weight loss, although this can be largely attributed to water weight. The diet brings about feelings of energy and clarity, reports Jessica Gelt of the "L.A. Times." Some people have used the diet to rid their body of candida or to address symptoms of arthritis.

Negative Effects

Two weeks without food can cause nutritional deficiencies and fatigue. Headaches and irritability from hunger are other possible side effects. The generous amounts of lemon juice in the mix acts as a diuretic and can cause loose stools or diarrhea. The lack of fiber in the diet can then cause constipation. Living your life might become challenging as eating out, social functions and meals with the family will turn into your own personal struggle to not eat.

Expert Insight

No studies support the use of detox diets, especially one like this maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water detox. Registered dietitian and CBS contributor Keri Glassman notes that the body gets virtually zero nutrients from the lemonade diet. Weight loss occurs because of the drastic cut in calories and loss of water weight. Any diet that removes processed foods full of excessive sugars, refined grains, sodium and saturated fats will help you feel better--there is nothing magical about the maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water mixture.