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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Don’t count on Master Cleanse for a spring break body

With spring break a mere three weeks away, more and more UA students seem to be flooding the newly renovated gym, committing to various diets and attempting to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Others turn to detoxes and cleanses in hopes of dropping weight quickly.

While detoxes and cleanses appear to create a simple way to lose weight without the hassle of fighting for a machine at the gym, nutritionists continue to warn against their use. One of the notable examples present on our campus is the Master Cleanse, also known as the lemon juice diet.

Dieters who choose to partake in this cleanse spend 10 consecutive days replacing their daily meals with a liquid mixture of fresh lemon juice, organic maple syrup, cayenne pepper and pure water. To accompany the foodless cleanse, participants are encouraged to utilize nightly laxatives or a “”salt water flush.”” Both solutions count as laxatives by definition.

The Master Cleanse is hardly a new concept. It’s been present and utilized since its creation more than 50 years ago. And since its inception, the cleanse has been looked down upon by nutritionists who question its efficacy, nutritional adequacy and necessity.

As quoted on, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia Gary Foster asserts that diets of this sort “”are not a reasonable approach to weight loss, and there’s no data that they do what they claim.””

Director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society Colleen Doyle asserts similar concerns. “”I’ve never seen any published trials, that would lead me to believe that if you are healthy, your lungs, kidney and liver need help removing toxins from your body,”” Doyle said.

Spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and a registered dietician in New York City Bonnie Taub-Dix states that these diets are nutritionally insufficient due to the lack of protein, comparing it to wearing three shirts but no pants. “”They may be nice shirts,”” she added, “”but you are missing other critical things.”” 

Nutrients clearly are not present in this cleanse. There is a reason the guidelines of the Master Cleanse incorporate a nightly laxative — the “”cleanse”” lacks fiber. A healthy diet should regulate bowel movements, not be detrimental to them. The two main aspects of the Cleanse — no food and nightly laxatives — bear unsettling resemblance to an eating disorder.

Yes, if you take laxatives and don’t eat solid food for 10 consecutive days, you will lose weight. But much of it will be water weight and you won’t experience long-term success, as registered dietician in New York City Joy Bauer says on

Despite the persistent precautions from professionals, people continue to depend on the Master Cleanse and other diets like it to surpass the trouble of adopting healthier lifestyles, which is precisely what losing weight effectively consists of.

A person’s schedule can determine, or at least contribute to, his or her diet. Changing them by cutting portions or altering the types of food consumed can be difficult for someone with a strict daily schedule. Incorporating exercise can be ever harder. But if long-lasting, healthy weight loss is the goal, these are essential steps.

The Master Cleanse lacks proof, nutritional value and professional support. Since simple solutions seem to be so popular, here’s another one: Eat.

Eat better and eat healthier. Take advantage of the beautiful new gym. But don’t resort to “”lose weight quick”” scams — the possible risks far outweigh the potential, yet unlikely, gain.

— Rachel Leavitt is a creative writing sophomore.

 She can be reached at

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