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Lime & Cayenne Diet

author image Barbara Sorensen
In 1995 Barbara Sorensen began writing and editing for the quarterly magazine, "Winds of Change." She freelances for "The Tribal College Journal" and "SACNAS News." Sorensen has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa.
Lime & Cayenne Diet
Lemons and limes contain vitamin C, but they should not be the only food you consume. Photo Credit: DAJ/amana images/Getty Images

The lime and cayenne diet is a variation of the Master Cleanse diet that was formulated by Stanley Burroughs in 1941. Burroughs was a self-proclaimed alternative medicine doctor with no medical credentials. His Master Cleanse diet consisted of lemon juice mixed with cayenne pepper and maple syrup. He sold it as a formula for detoxifying the body, not for weight loss. Over time, it morphed into an alternative weight loss diet: since you don't eat anything on this diet, you certainly lose weight.

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The lime and cayenne diet may bring you weight loss, but it won't last.
The lime and cayenne diet may bring you weight loss, but it won't last. Photo Credit: "Design, Pics"/Design Pics/Getty Images

This type of diet, however, is not conducive to long-term weight loss. According to the Harvard University, you are likely to gain back the weight once you have stopped the diet because what you lose is mostly not fat: it may be intestinal waste, water weight or lean tissue. The combination of lime and cayenne acts mainly as a laxative. It is not necessary to purge your body with these particular ingredients, as Burroughs espoused, because your body is equipped with its own elimination mechanism.

Expert Insight

Constant weight gain and loss is not good for you.
Constant weight gain and loss is not good for you. Photo Credit: FotoCuisinette/iStock/Getty Images

According to Dr. Patrika Tsai, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Hospital Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital, the lemon/lime cayenne cleansing diet can be dangerous. Tsai explains that the diet requires 10 days of not eating anything containing sufficient protein, essential fats or minerals. The constant up and down of weight loss and weight gain that this diet produces causes undue stress on the cardiovascular system.


Maintaining muscle mass is important.
Maintaining muscle mass is important. Photo Credit: AGL_Photography/iStock/Getty Images

Lemon and lime juice contain only small amounts of Vitamin C, not other needed nutrients. In addition, you will lose muscle tissue if you continue with the lime and cayenne diet for long periods of time. You will be in what is referred to as a catabolic state, when your muscles begin to waste away. This is often seen in people with eating disorders. A person who is constantly cleansing and engaging in diets such as the lime and cayenne diet is susceptible to this state.


Cayenne pepper is in the group referred to as Capsicums.
Cayenne pepper is in the group referred to as Capsicums. Photo Credit: vesmil/iStock/Getty Images

Though the combination of lime and cayenne may not amount to much nutritionally, cayenne pepper by itself does have some interesting properties. Cayenne pepper is in the class of peppers known as Capsicums. Herbalists claim that cayenne is a remedy for heart attacks; that it contains large amounts of Vitamin E; that it can stave off colds; and that it can be used to stimulate a sluggish appetite. According to the University of Maryland Medical School’s website, cayenne pepper has been used in China and Japan as an alternative therapy, in topical form, to treat frostbite.


Eat a well-balanced diet.
Eat a well-balanced diet. Photo Credit: EzumeImages/iStock/Getty Images

Consult a nutritional therapist before you try any diet that claims to have the ability to detoxify, heal or make you lose weight. Be wary of fad diets that supposedly produce quick results. If you eat a well-balanced diet which is filled with grains, protein and dairy, exercise on a daily basis, and have no health issues, you should be able to lose weight and eliminate wastes naturally.

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