Distilled Water, Cayenne Pepper & Maple Syrup Diet

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The distilled water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup diet is commonly referred to as the Master Cleanse or the Lemonade Diet. The diet was created by Stanley Burroughs, who published a book detailing it in 1941. “The Master Cleanser” covers the process of detoxification. The diet gained popularity when Beyonce Knowles told Oprah viewers that she used it for her role in “Dreamgirls,” according to the New York Daily News.


The distilled water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup diet is a fast aimed at detoxifying waste from the body. The program suggests drinking only a lemon water recipe, an herbal laxative tea and a saltwater flush. The main portion of the diet, the lemon drink, consists of four ingredients: 8 oz. of distilled water, 2 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice, 1/10th of a tsp. of cayenne pepper and 2 tbsp. of maple syrup. Dieters are advised to drink 6 or more cups of the drink daily.


There are three main sections to the diet, according to the Master Cleanse. The first phase is an optional three-day “ease-in” period. During this time, dieters consume living whole foods and natural juices. The second phase, the lemonade diet, consists of drinking only the lemon water recipe and laxatives. The final part of the diet, “ease-out,” mirrors the first phase, giving the body time to transition back into whole foods.

Time Frame

The amount of time people adhere to the diet depends upon individual needs. Most dieters aim for 10 days, but some have used it for up to 40. Some have used it for as little as three days to detoxify and cleanse the body. It can also be used to kick-start any chosen diet and to help transition to healthier living habits.


Burroughs explained in “The Master Cleanser” that the diet is meant to dissolve and eliminate toxins from the body. He further said it will also cleanse the kidneys and the digestive system, as well as build a healthy bloodstream and retain vigor. Weight loss is also a side effect that attracts many people to the Lemonade Diet. Burroughs recommended the diet to people who were suffering from acute or chronic conditions, as well as those who were overweight.


There is much scientific controversy on the practice of fasting. Make sure to research the topic to help make beneficial personal choices. Do not cease taking prescription medicines without a doctor's consent. Always seek the advice of a health care professional before embarking on a diet or a fast. Extended fasts should be done under the care of a professional, to monitor progress and avoid safety issues.