advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Fasting for Weight Loss?

What do you think of the “Master Cleanse” fast? I’ve heard that it can help you lose weight fast, but I wonder if it is safe.

A
Answer (Published 1/29/2007)

"Master Cleanse" is a perennially appearing restricted diet that requires you to drink a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water anywhere from six to 12 times a day and eat nothing else. This one is a real oldie. It was created in the 1940s supposedly as a treatment for ulcers and came into style in the 1970s after publication of the book The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs, who devised the program. The latest surge of attention came after singer/actress Beyoncé Knowles told Oprah Winfrey on television that she had used the fast to drop 20 pounds in preparation for her role in the movie "Dreamgirls."

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Healthy Eating - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Nutrition - Want to change your diet? The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide is your anti-inflammatory diet headquarters. Start your free trial and get access to an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, hundreds of recipes, eating guides, and more.

Ms. Knowles has reportedly regained the weight, as have most of the dieters who have enthused in print about how fast you can lose weight guzzling the sweet-sour-spicy concoction. I can tell you that there's nothing special about Master Cleanse that promotes weight loss - it works because you're consuming far fewer calories than you would to maintain your weight. If you follow the program, you're also supposed to drink a laxative tea in the evening and a combination of water and sea salt in the morning to promote waste removal - I'm told that if you do that, you had better not stray too far from a bathroom.

I first came across the Master Cleanse in the 1970s and tried it a few times, once for a week. Back then it was not promoted as a way to drop pounds but rather to give the digestive system a rest and remove toxins from the system. It's not really a fast, because you are taking in calories. I'm not opposed to cleansing regimens of this sort. They may be useful, may make you feel good, and give you a chance to think about what you are putting into your body.

But fasting and near-fasting routines such as the Master Cleanse are not effective weight loss tools - they alter your metabolism in a way that actually may make it harder for you to lose weight or easier to regain the weight once you go back to the way you normally eat. Most people compensate for the deprivation of the regimen by increasing their caloric consumption afterward.

If you really want to lose weight, forget about drinking lemon juice and maple syrup and learn the basic facts about nutrition and optimal health, including the glycemic index, anti-inflammatory diet, and recognize any unhealthy relationships with food.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here