Lemon fasting is a detoxification diet based on a program developed by Stanley Burroughs called "The Master Cleanse." Sometimes also called a lemonade diet, the process involves two main elements, fasting and drinking a lemon-based drink, typically in combination with the use of laxatives or salt water flushes to clear waste from the body. The time on the diet can vary based on the person's preference, but the typical recommended time frame is about ten days.
To make a serving of the beverage which will provide the only calories ingested during lemon fasting, one should start with juice from fresh lemons; recipes can vary, but the typical recommended amount is around two tablespoons. This should be combined with about two tablespoons of maple syrup and eight ounces of purified water. Cayenne pepper should be added to taste. Dieters should expect to drink around six to 12 glasses per day. Drinking plain water is also encouraged.
During lemon fasting, the lack of solid food causes the body to stop spontaneously having bowel movements. Due to this side effect, laxatives or salt water flushes should be used to induce them. This supports the diet's goal of flushing toxins from the body.
When one is ready to complete a round of lemon fasting, it is very important to ease back into ingesting solid foods slowly. Most versions of this diet recommend starting with orange juice to begin the transition, then moving on to other fruit and vegetable juices as well as broths and soups, and then finally back to a healthy solid diet. This should be done over the course of several days.
There are several physical benefits that are thought to be gained from lemon fasting. In addition to clearing toxins from the colon, it may also encourage toxins to be released and flushed from other tissues to rejuvenate them and promote overall health. The lemon and cayenne pepper are thought to help break up mucus that has built up in the body. Overall digestive and kidney function may be improved.
People interested in trying lemon fasting should be aware that there are risks involved. Due to the very low caloric and limited nutrient intake, the body can go into a state similar to starvation. Any weight loss achieved may be difficult to maintain once the fast is over; this may lead to a cycle of weight gain and loss that is hard on the body. Those not in good health may find this diet too hard on their bodies.