Master cleanse? I’m not feeling it!

What is the Master Cleanse? From Wikipedia:

The Master Cleanse claims to be a way to cleanse the body of and remove the cravings associated with drugsalcoholtobacco, eating, “Coffeetea, and various hot drinks.”[1] The cleanse involves drinking only a concoction made from fresh lemons, grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper, as well as a laxative tea. No solid food is eaten for the entire cleanse.

Proponents of the cleanse do not recommend it solely for weight loss, instead mentioning its purported detoxifying properties. However because it is extremely low in calories, if it is followed as described people will certainly lose weight.[5] The program has been described as an extreme fad or crash diet, and any weight lost during the fast can be expected to be regained once the diet is stopped.[6]

One can expect to be tired during the cleanse – what a surprise!  What do I think happens?

  • Decreased energy expenditure accompanying the calorie restriction – the opposite of what we want
  • Loss of muscle – this is a catastrophe – muscle burns calories 24/7.  Then, when weight is put back on, you’ll end up with more fat and less muscle than before.
  • You’ll go back back to same old eating habits once the fast is over

I suggest instead:

  • Throw out the bad food in your house
  • Loose the take out menus and the Domino’s magnet on the fridge
  • Make a shopping list and go shopping while not hungry
  • Prepare your own meals with lost of veggies and fish or chicken (no skin) – protein is key; there’s no protein in Master Cleanse
  • Prepare meals in advance (freeze them?) so you have food available when you’re hungry
  • Start walking

Tell me I’m wrong!  Who’s been successful (long-term; not fitting into a dress for high school reunion) with the Master Cleanse?

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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