The Lemon Detox first hit the headlines in 2006, when Beyonce lost 20 pounds in two weeks ahead of her role in Dreamgirls. Apparently inspired by Tom Hanks in Castaway, Bey said she felt ‘cranky’ on the controversial diet, as she was solely consuming the lemon water solution.
Although there is the option of a 5-10 day fasting plan drinking just this, there are plenty of other, less scary, alternatives, which include teaming it with a healthy evening meal, or incorporating the lemon water solution into a system like the 5:2.
What Is The Lemon Detox Diet?
The Lemon Detox is a cleansing programme - also called The Master Cleanse - where you consume a solution which comprises Madal Bal Tree Syrup, fresh lemons, cayenne pepper and water, usually as part of a fasting plan.
It works by flushing out and detoxing the body from the toxins that are built up, and in doing so, aids weight loss, clearer skin, health and energy levels.
It's a complex formula; with sufficient ingredients to sustain the body in the absence of food for short periods. The minerals and nutrients, like potassium, calcium, manganese and zinc, in the solution are thought to cut down the usual energy slumps and hungriness that are usually associated with a fasting diet.
Created in the 1940s by Stanley Burroughs, it was never intended to be a permanent plan; only to aid fasting and to reap the benefits of a cleanse by alleviating hunger and tiredness. Experts say it's safe to follow the detox three times in a year - which is exactly what Naomi Campbell does.
Since it came to the UK 10 years ago, as well as being taken on by the yoga community, it’s been endorsed by doctors, nutritionists and naturopaths.
Dr Sarah Brewer, author of The Total Detox Plan, says: 'During the ‘fasting’ part of any diet regime, using the Lemon Detox Madal Bal Tree Syrup solution allows you to still obtain useful nutrition, especially minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese and zinc, making it a useful alternative to plain water.'
What Are The Pros Of The Lemon Detox Diet?
If you’re consuming it as part of a 5:2-style fasting diet, it’ll make the fast days easier, as the nutrient-rich meal replacements avoid you having to think about what you can and can’t eat. In fact, 6-8 glasses of Lemon Detox per day makes up your whole daily allowance. Though it sounds a bit barmy, the solution is designed to stop you feeling hungry and keeps your metabolism working – unlike fasting alone.
Fasting, too, is proven to be good for us. It lowers cholesterol, glucose and the IGF-1 growth hormone, which reduces the risk of cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It also aids weight loss, improves skin and digestion and helps break poor diet habits like smoking and high caffeine intake.
You can tailor the plan to your lifestyle. Fasting has, unsurprisingly, the fastest results but if you require light meals or a cup of coffee, you can work those into your diet, too. It's also popular with people trying the 5:2, as it's easy to know how much of the lemon solution you're allowed, and it fits easily into the plan.
The taste of the solution gets a mixed reception but, if you aren't a fan, trial different ingredients ike cayenne pepper and ginger until you find a solution you actually like.
What Are The Cons Of The Lemon Detox Diet?
Well, for starters you're substituting food for a lemon water solution which isn't easy. Though it supposed to make you feel less hungry and tired, fasting will take its toll on your energy levels. Not only this, but if you're a coffee fan, you may experience side-effects from giving up caffeine like headaches and dizziness.
Other criticisms of The Lemon Detox Diet are based around its effect on metabolism and whether the weight stays off once the plan is complete. As the lack of protein could lead to muscle being converted into energy, your body requires less calories to function, which could lead to weight gain in the long run.
The Lemox Detox is definitely not to be done for prolonged periods. Lengthy or repeated fasts can lead to a deficiency in minerals, muscle breakdown and issues with blood-sugar levels. It can also deprive the body of vitamins which effects our immune system and its ability to fight infection.
Pregnant women and people suffering from diabetes, digestive conditions or heart or kidney diseases should avoid it completely.
If You Want To Try The Lemon Detox Diet...
To keep the negative effects to a minimum, ensure you prep beforehand. Though you'll be tempted to binge, it will make it far harder. Instead, cut down on meat and cooked food, and stick to salad, fruit and raw vegetables for a few days prior to starting your plan. Also make sure you drink plenty of water. Take it easy when you finish the fast, too.
Where Can You Pick Up The Ingredients For The Lemon Detox Diet?
Lemons and cayenne pepper can be picked up on your normal food shop, and Madal Bal Tree Syrup is available for £42.99 in over 400 health food stores.