Despite the fact that it offers no nutritional benefit whatsoever and promotes known disordered eating patterns, the Master Cleanse is perhaps one of the most well known crash diets cleanses. It’s all over popular culture, and has been touted by many celebrities and even a few “health advocates.” But what none of them are telling you is what I learned when I did it as a New Year’s resolution last year: it makes you smell weird, it makes you act strangely, and it makes you go to the bathroom. A lot.
The Master Cleanse is pretty simple, in that all you consume during the bulk of it is a “lemonade” mixture made of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup…and lots of laxatives and “salt water flushes”. Like, as many as three laxatives per day. Which, in and of itself, should scare off anyone who’s ever even taken one laxative, because they make your gut feel like you’ve been eating poison sandwiches with poison sauce on top. The fact that all that’s coming out is lemonade makes this side-effect better-ish after a few days. But not that much better.
Out of morbid curiosity, I tried the Master Cleanse because a.) I work from my house, which afforded me all the laxative-expelling time I needed, and b.) it helped Beyonce lose all that weight for Dreamgirls, and that was a lot of weight, so it must have been effective, right? I went into this “diet” knowing full well that it wasn’t healthy (though I did do a lot of research as to the nutritional benefits of cayenne pepper, of which there are, apparently, several. But not enough to make it anything worth doing.