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What Foods Can I Eat When on the Lemon, Cayenne & Pepper Detox Diet?

author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
What Foods Can I Eat When on the Lemon, Cayenne & Pepper Detox Diet?
A handful of raw mixed nuts sits on a white counter. Photo Credit: Pakhnyushchyy/iStock/Getty Images

It turned Beyonce into a slim and trim Dreamgirl in two weeks, says the website, which is why it sometimes referred to as the Beyonce diet. The lemon and cayenne pepper detox diet is part of the Master Cleanse, a detox diet that claims to help you lose 20 pounds in 10 days. While there are a few different versions of the diet, the traditional diet excludes solid food during the cleanse. Consult your doctor if considering a liquid detox diet.

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The Basis of the Diet

The Master Cleanse, which also goes by the name of the Lemonade diet, Lemon Cleanse or Maple Syrup diet, primarily consists of a lemonade-type drink that is a mix of fresh lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. You drink six to eight glasses of the lemon drink along with a saltwater flush and an herbal laxative tea. The premise of the diet is to give the digestive system a break, help your body detox and decrease cravings for unhealthy foods. The diet is meant to be followed for a minimum of 10 days.

Relaxed Version

While the traditional cleanse recommends you not eat any solid food during the duration of the diet, one alternative allows you to eat solid food. The relaxed version of the cleanse suggests you drink two to three glasses of the lemonade-type drink in place of one of your meals. It recommends that you avoid processed foods, red meat, refined flours, sweets, dairy products and coffee when doing the relaxed version of the diet. What you should eat is not specified, but the Master Cleanse website suggests a whole-foods vegetarian diet as a more inclusive type of detox diet. That means fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.

Diet Concerns

While the relaxed version of the lemon and cayenne pepper diet allows for a more balanced intake, most versions of the diet are extremely low in calories and devoid of health-promoting nutrients. You will lose weight following the cleanse, but most of those pounds are due to losses in water and muscle mass. These types of diets can also leave you feeling cranky and tired, and without enough fiber, may also cause constipation. They can also lead to nutritional deficiencies and are dangerous for people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease.

Eating for Weight Loss and Detox

You do not need to drink a watered-down lemonade for 10 days to rid your body of harmful substances. Your kidneys and liver when in full working order naturally detoxify your body daily. To keep your body healthy, improve its natural detoxing abilities and lose weight, eat a diet that is calorie-controlled, low in fat, high in fiber and full of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods.

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