A lot has been written and said in the last week or so about Beyoncé's losing 20 pounds in 10 days on the Master Cleanse for her new movie role in "Dreamgirls" where her character first appears on screen as 16 years old, then later as 36.
What is clearly true is that Beyoncé was at least 14.5 pounds lighter 2 weeks later for shooting the younger part. Beyond that, there have been some misconceptions that I'd like to clarify.
Misconception #1: "Health experts claim that this diet sends each of its followers in a hospital if they try it more than 10 days." (originally written in www.playfuls.com and then reprinted in www.chinadaily.com.cn).
The truth: Literally thousands of people do the Master Cleanse for anywhere between 10 and 40 days and feel better afterwards. I personally have done it 15 times and 5 of those were for more than 10 days. I have never been to the hospital since I started eating better (predominantly raw vegetarian, but not completely) and doing regular Master Cleanses (about 1 every 3 months). Many more experiences of other people can be found in my book, Lose Weight, Have More Energy & Be Happier in 10 Days.
Misconception #2: "People would start to feel very lethargic and would be unable to concentrate... They will probably end up in hospital, especially people who try it for more than 10 days." (from the same article)
The truth: I do it to have more energy and think more clearly. In an informal survey in January 2005 of 141 people who had completed at least one Master Cleanse, more than 3/4 had more energy and more than 90% were happier!
Misconception #3: "The problem is not what's in the diet but what's not. There are no fats, proteins, vitamins or minerals and the only carbohydrate is in the form of sugar." (from the same article)
The truth: Most people know that citrus fruit (including lemons) are a good source of vitamin C. What many people do not know is that lemon juice is also a good source of potassium. However, that's beside the point. The idea that people cannot exist without protein for 10 days may be a dream of the meat industry, but it is not true. Fasting, as recommended in the Bible, has been recognized by many doctors for hundreds of years. The most current, visible American MD who is a major proponent of fasting is Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live and Fasting and Eating for Health. He has had numerous successes curing with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. In Europe, there are many health spas run by doctors that practice fasting for healing and rejuvenation.
Misconception #4: "The diet was presented for the first time by a Swiss health company in 1985 and reached a high popularity very fast." (from the same article)
The truth: The Master Cleanse was first developed by Stanley Burroughs and later appeared as The Master Cleanser, first published in 1976.
Misconception #5: "The cleanse became popular again with the 2004 publication of Peter Glickman’s Lose Weight, Have More Energy and Be Happier in Ten Days." (www.calorielab.com)
The truth: I appreciate the publicity. (They never even called or emailed. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered this.) However, the Master Cleanse has consistently grown more popular due to the great word of mouth from the hundreds of thousands of people who do it every year and discover its benefits.
Misconception #6: "The lemonade (which you drink 6 to 8 glasses per day) is made from 2 tablespoons of Grade A maple syrup, juice of ½ lemon, 1/10 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 quart of spring water." ("Hot Stuff" New York Daily News, August 17, 2006)
The truth: I appreciated the reporter, Jane Ridley, giving my website a direct link from the article, but "1 quart" should read "8 ounces". I don't know what would happen to a person if they drank 8 quarts of water every day for 10 or more days, but I wouldn't want to be the one to find out. "6 to 8" should read "6 to 12 glasses per day".(By the way, Burroughs recommends Grade B organic maple syrup because it has more minerals, but says any grade will work.)
Misconception #7: " 'I ate everything when it was over...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!' she says, laughing." ("Beyoncé: 'I'm in no rush to get married'" The Belfast Telegraph, August 25, 2006)
The truth: I believe weight gain is a result of accumulated toxins. It's been shown that the body protects itself from toxins that are too numerous for the liver to handle by putting them into fat cells. That's why going on a raw vegan diet results in people losing weight. The liver is finally able to handle some of these stored older toxins because it doesn't need to handle as many from the raw vegan diet. That's also why people who go back to eating the Standard American Diet (lots of artificially flavored, colored and preserved food that has been heavily processed and practically no fresh, raw greens, vegetables and fruits) immediately regain any weight they lose on any diet, let alone the Master Cleanse. The better your diet afterwards, the less weight you put back on. The informal survey of 141 Master Cleansers mentioned earlier discovered that the average woman completing the Master Cleanse lost about 12 pounds and regained about 6. The average man lost about 16 pounds and also regained about 6. Interestingly, most people reported they ate a healthier diet after completing the cleanse.
Misconception #8: The Master Cleanse is for everyone.
The truth: The Master Cleanse is great, but it's not for everyone. It is probably the second most powerful (read that as the fastest) way to detoxify the body. Only a water fast is more powerful. If a person has a great deal of stored toxins, releasing them too quickly results in detox symptoms, such as headaches, rashes, tiredness, irritability, even vomiting. Those people should not do the Master Cleanse. They should detoxify much more slowly with a better diet. Also, people recovering from surgery need large amounts of protein to regenerate tissue and so should not do the Master Cleanse until they have completely recovered from surgery. Pregnant and nursing women should not do it either, as there is a remote possibility that the toxins may find their way into the infant. Although, I have never heard of such actually occurring, but better safe than sorry. For the rest of us, the Master Cleanse is really amazing!