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The Master Cleanse

By: Ron Lagerquist

"Does the Master Cleanse do a better job in healing and detoxifying than juice fasting?"

The Master Cleanse In 2006, Beyonce announced on Oprah that she had successfully lost 20 pounds while preparing for her upcoming movie, Dreamgirls. She did this by incorporating a 60-year-old fasting program called the Master Cleanse. The much-publicized weight loss resulted in a flurry of flash bulb photo ops for the attractive recording artist, but the unexpected spinoff was a resurrected interest in Stanley Burroughs’ small 30-page book, The Master Cleanser, published in 1941. Thanks to Beyonce’s success, Freedomyou also has received many emails inquiring about this now repopularized approach to detoxification and weight loss. 

After reading enthusiastic testimonies on the Freedomyou Bulletin Board from people who have benefited from even a ten-day Master Cleanse, it’s clear that there is something to this very focused fast. I do not find it at all surprising that people who have spent years living off the standard North American diet would profit from fasting on diluted lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper, while performing colon cleansing. However, the most obvious question that needs to be answered is: does the Master Cleanse do a better job in healing and detoxifying than juice fasting? The question is important; after all, why not maximize your return on such a substantial investment of time and effort.  

Master Cleanse Program at a Glance

First, let’s take a closer look at what the Master Cleanse involves. Even though there have been various modifications made to Stanley Burroughs’ original lemonade fast, the following will represent a summary of his book The Master Cleanser, hence the dated and somewhat unscientific terminology.


Often detoxification programs can be complicated and very expensive. The main advantage of Stanley Burroughs Master Cleanse is it is a simple, inexpensive program, with ingredients readily available to anyone.


  • dissolve and remove build-up toxins
  • reduce and eliminate mucus congestion throughout the body
  • cleanse kidneys and digestive system
  • purify cells and glands
  • dissolve hardened material in joints and muscles
  • reduce irritation and pressure in arteries, nerves and blood vessels
  • maintain youth and elasticity

When to Cleanse?

  • sickness
  • chronic conditions
  • excess weight
  • to improve digestion
  • building of healthy body tissue

Length of Fast:

  • minimum of 10 days, up to 40 days


2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice (organic, if possible) 
2 tbsp maple syrup (grade B recommended) 
1/10 tsp cayenne pepper
10 oz medium-hot water

Simply mix and drink. It is recommended that you drink 6 to 12 glasses a day; each glass contains about 110 sugar calories.

Recommended Colon Cleansers

  • laxative herb tea, first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening
  • salt water flush. Add two level teaspoons of sea salt to a quart of lukewarm water and drink first thing in the morning.

Master Cleanse as a Weight Loss Program

Beyonce demonstrated that the Master Cleanse is a powerful and quick way to lose body fat. On this program you will be reducing your daily caloric intake to between 660 and 1320 calories (6 to 12 glasses a day), forcing the body to cannibalize on stored fat. This would be very similar to the calories of a typical juice fast; therefore, weight loss results will be comparable.

 As stated in my article, “Fasting For Weight Loss,” there is no question that fasting is an effective way to lose weight, but fasting as a form of weight management is the wrong focus and can result in disappointment—or worse, an unhealthy binge/purge cycle. Beyonce is quoted in an interview with The Belfast Telegraph as saying “...the second I looked at a donut, it came back! I gained back all the weight, even the weight I didn't want to come back!” (The Belfast Telegraph, August 25, 2006)This is what most people experience when approaching any type of fasting just for weight loss. In fact, fasting can lower your metabolism, which can result in regaining all the weight back, as was Beyonce’s experience. If you are thinking of fasting for weight loss, first read the article, Fasting for Weight Loss.

Related Article:  Master Cleanse versus Juice Fasting

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