Revive Reviews: The Master Cleanse

Drink lemon water for 10 days and you will cleanse your body, lose weight and feel great! 

That is what author Tom Woloshyn of the Master Cleanse is claiming.  I have done the literature review on this Master cleanse and have come up empty handed.  There are no robust scientific research studies I could find on the subject.  Throughout my years at University I was taught that what I recommend for my clients should be robustly studied showing a cause and effect relationship. I believe in evidence-based knowledge whole-heartedly.

The irony is that when I come up empty handed at saying there are no robust research studies done on this subject people believe my knowledge level is lacking because they read this book about it and read about it on the internet.

The interesting thing about humans is that when we hear a fact about something for the first time we naturally accept it as being correct.  When we read or hear opposing information about the same fact, we discount it as being false because it is opposite to what we had initially heard.

For example, I recently had a client who decided that I didn’t know enough about weight loss because I didn’t recommend lemon water daily to her. She felt that she was able to receive more valuable information off the internet about weight loss because guess what “drinking lemon water every day works Loreen”.  Interestingly she hasn’t lost any weight and isn’t prepared to make any behavior changes.

I wish I could say that fad diets and false claims on weight loss programs are a thing of the past but I am not sure we will ever win this battle.  The claims these programs make connect with us at an emotional level and when we want something so bad such as weight loss we are prepared to do whatever it takes especially if the claim gives you a quick fix.  People don’t want me to rain on their parade, their hope of shedding that 10-50 extra pounds they want gone in two weeks or less.

The Master Cleanse is recommended to be spread out over 16 days on average.  The first 3 days you are to eliminate processed foods and eat a 60/40 vegetable/fruit based diet.  The next 10 days you are to drink lemon water, pure maple syrup with a touch of cayenne pepper; no whole foods.  The last three days is to be done gradually by adding broths, vegetables and fruit then to whole foods on the final day.

You will absolutely lose weight on this, but I guarantee what you lost most is muscle and water weight.  This is not a good thing as muscle burns more calories than fat and unless you want to be sentenced to eating a very low calorie diet to maintain your weight, you don’t want to lose muscle!  This is actually the perfect recipe for weight gain my friends.

Short term success is all you will have accomplished because when you resume eating your whole foods what behavior changes have you implemented?  What did you change in your diet?

I think fad diets are Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same things over and over but expecting different results.  Every fad diet is the same, big claims, short term success but negative outcomes long term including muscle loss, weight gain, decreased self esteem, etc.  But that’s just my evidence based opinion.


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Revive Wellness is a team of passionate and evidence-based Registered Dietitians specialized in nutrition and wellness coaching for the Edmonton area.