America’s obsession with rapid weight loss regimens has produced yet another unnatural diet. The glamorously titled “master cleanse” is a trending diet among celebrities and those who want to succeed in weight loss without really trying. The master cleanse is a 10-day fast wherein the only thing you ingest is a concoction made of warm water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup, and it’s extremely unhealthy. Sounds pretty awful, but Beyonce and Gwyneth did it, so why can’t you?
The cleanse begins each day with a “salt water flush,” which can accurately be described as slamming a glass of salt water while trying not to puke. The lemon juice cocktail is designed to rid the body of harmful toxins so you can start fresh after the cleanse. While a liquid diet is almost guaranteed to help you lose weight fast, it’s the wrong kind of weight. The body will shed muscle mass and water weight, but fat remains.
Starvation also does funny things to the body. Severely reducing your caloric intake can make you impatient, dizzy, moody, and less focused. It can lead to insomnia, skin breakouts, bizarre behavior, and in some cases, shrink your heart volume. After a period of starvation, it takes a long time for your brain and your body to get along again. People coming down from a fast have a hard time satisfying their appetite, and binge eat because of it. One study found that men who had fasted gained back an additional 10% of their body weight after a fast.
If losing 5-10 pounds means that much to you, proceed with the master cleanse. But this diet is not ideal for anybody’s long term health, especially if you’re not rich and famous. While the master cleanse may have worked for Ashton Kutcher, Jared Leto, and the aforementioned Beyonce and Gwyneth, it is unrealistic for the everygirl or boy.
A recent review by CELEBUZZ journalist Robert Kessler claimed the master cleanse was for “masochistic morons.” That’s a little harsh, but as is usually the case with trending, instant gratification diets, the master cleanse is merely a harmful fad. If you want to lose weight, you have to do it the right way, through a balanced diet and moderate exercise. Maintaining a healthy diet and going on the occasional jog sounds a little better than pushing your sanity to the brink with the master cleanse, don’t you think?