The Lemon, Cayenne Pepper and Honey Diet

The cayenne pepper, lemon, honey diet is a detox or cleanse based on the Master Cleanse detox. The difference is the Master Cleanse diet uses maple syrup in place of honey. It is one of many cleansing diets, but does it provide real results?

The cayenne pepper, lemon honey diet is a detox or cleanse based on the Master Cleanse detox. Credit: yrabota/iStock/GettyImages

Lemon, Honey, Cayenne Cleanse Drink

According to the "Master Cleanser," an updated version of the Master Cleanse detox by Stanley Burroughs, you're supposed to make a single serving of the drink with:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more, to taste, if desired)
  • 8 to 12 ounces of purified water

The altered version of the program uses raw honey in place of the maple syrup. It's common to make a large batch of the drink to have it on hand for when hunger strikes. Since it's the only thing you'll use for the duration of the fasting diet, you'll want to have plenty of cayenne pepper, lemon and honey available.

Read more: Lemon Water Detox Diet

How to Follow the Diet

During the lemon-honey-cayenne cleanse, no solid food is allowed. All your calorie consumption comes from the drink you make with cayenne pepper, lemon and honey. You can consume the mixture whenever you're hungry, though it's recommended that you have at least six glasses every day.

Other than the Master Cleanse detox drink, dieters are advised to drink a quart of warm salt water in the morning to promote bowel movements. If dieters experience constipation, use of herbal laxative teas is permitted.

Dieters are advised to follow the diet for at least 10 days but can continue for up to 40 days if desired. There is no scientific evidence to support the recommendations. Proponents of this diet claim your body needs 10 days to eliminate toxins and the longer you stay on the program, the more weight you'll lose.

The lack of solid food sets you up for nutrient deficiencies. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, lack of sufficient protein may lead to swelling, muscle loss and thinning hair. The Academies also says a lack of iron can lead to anemia and extreme fatigue. The effects depend on which nutrients are deficient, how deficient you are, and how long the deficiency remains.

Read More: A Safe 24-Hour Detox Diet

Does the Cleanse Work?

Because of the drastic cut in caloric intake, you're likely to see some weight loss at the end of the fasting period. When you resume eating solid food, however, it's likely the weight will return quickly because the loss is not likely to be fat, but water.

A small-scale study of 84 women who used a lemon detox diet, published in the May 2015 issue of Nutrition Research, suggests that a lemon detox program reduces body fat and insulin resistance through caloric restriction. This study involved participants remaining on the fast for seven days, so there is no evidence to support the benefits over an extended period of time.

Another small-scale study featured in the March 2016 issue of the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine involved 50 participants and looked at the short-term use of a lemon juice and honey fast. This study looked at the use of the fast for four days. The results indicate that the fast may be safe and effective in reducing fat in healthy individuals. As with the other study, there is no evidence to support participants' ability to keep the weight off in the long term.

Although these two studies show a cleansing diet has positive benefits, it's unhealthy to maintain such a restricted caloric intake for a long period of time. Doing so could have negative effects on your overall health. It's best to speak with your doctor before beginning a lemon-honey-cayenne cleanse to ensure you are healthy enough.

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