BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 26 Jan '18

Celebrities swear by the Master Cleanse – but is fasting really good for you?

This article first appeared in our winter ’18 issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, The Resolution Revolution. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

The 5:2 diet has gained enough fans to suggest intermittent fasting is here to stay, and the Lemon Detox – a short liquid fast designed to cleanse your system and give you a mental and physical reboot – has a cult following. Going without food for seven days is clearly good for the environment, but is it good for your body?

The rise of the Master Cleanse

Also known as the Master Cleanse, Neera Cleanse, Maple Syrup Diet and Lemonade Diet, the Lemon Detox has been around for years. It’s based on the book The Lemon Detox Diet: Rejuvenation Sensation by Dr K A Beyer, which develops the principles of naturopath Stanley Burroughs’ Master Cleanse, developed around 70 years ago.

The idea is that you fast for five to seven days, consuming nothing but a special drink made from maple and palm tree syrup, lemon juice, water and cayenne pepper. The concoction provides your body with essential energy and micronutrients while you fast.

More recently, one particular side-effect has made the cleanse’s popularity soar: weight loss. Beyoncé Knowles famously used the Lemonade Diet to drop 20lbs – quickly – for her role in Dreamgirls, for which scenes of her 16- and 36-year-old character were shot just two weeks apart. The fan club has grown to include Anna Friel, Naomi Campbell, Gigi Hadid, Angelina Jolie, Jared Leto, Gwyneth Paltrow, Denzel Washington, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher – the list goes on.

Breaking bad habits

We all know a healthy diet and regular exercise are the keys to good health and weight control, but some old habits are hard to beat. A short fasting diet can help to kick-start lasting lifestyle changes by breaking embedded habits and eating patterns you may never have known were there.

Fasting makes you far more conscious of what you put into your body. For one week you won’t be able to use your body as a bin or gobble down your kids’ leftovers because you can’t bear waste. It’s a rewarding process, both physically and mentally, that will give your digestive system a short break. If you deal with some of those extra Christmas pounds in the meantime, then that’s a bonus.

Click here to read Charlie Clarke’s day-by-day account of his week on the Lemon Detox

Click here to find out why Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup is a MyGreenPod Hero

The key ingredient

Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup is the Lemon Detox drink’s essential ingredient. It’s a blend of six different maple and palm tree syrups, each selected for different nutrient properties and lower glycaemic index. Providing energy, potassium, manganese, zinc and other micronutrients, the syrup has been specifically developed to support people on short fasts.

A 1,000ml tin of Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup should be enough for a seven-day fast. Add it to hot, cold or sparkling water, with lots of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper, and expect to drink six to eight glasses per day. If you’re on the go and don’t want to lug a big bottle around, you can make a concentrate and dilute it with water.

Make it happen

The Lemon Detox isn’t recommended for kids or people who have type 1 diabetes, are pregnant or breastfeeding or have a known eating disorder. If you want to give it a try, these tips will help you through.

  • In the week before starting, consider cutting out any addictive elements of your diet, such as coffee, tea, sugar and alcohol, to deal with any withdrawal symptoms before you fast.
  • Take some time to get into the right mindset before you fast, and clear the house of temptations!
  • If you can, avoid dinner parties, lunches and going out as they will all put extra strain on your willpower.
  • Try to encourage other people, in the office or at home, to do the detox at the same time as you.
  • If possible, get someone else to cook family meals for the week.
  • Find new things to do at meal times, such as yoga or reading.
  • Exercise as you feel comfortable – but don’t over-exert yourself.