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Beyonce’s Liquid Diet?

April 26, 2010
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Last week, three of my friends told me about this crazy diet they were on to lose up to 16 pounds in 10 days. Not one, not two, but three of my friends! I sat down and listened to these enthusiasts and was tempted to try, too. The diet was called “Master Cleanse,” a form of a “detox” diet that is getting popular these days due to Beyonce’s personal recommendation for it on Oprah Winfrey’s show. Apparently Beyonce lost 20 pounds for her role in the movie “Dreamgirls” using this Master Cleanse diet. A detox diet is founded on the belief that people eat too much processed food these days and that they need to regularly clear their system of the accumulated toxins from such food through the diet. These diets often consist of eating limited amount and type of food followed by laxatives or any other system to force the body to get rid of everything.

The Master Cleanse consisted of three stages: Ease-In, the Lemonade Diet, then Ease-Out. The Ease-In period is about 3 days, where one is recommended to eat only fruits and vegetables and eventually just juice or soup. Then during 10 days, one is to live off of just “lemonade.” The recipe for this special lemonade is as follows:

  1. 2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice from one half of a lemon
  2. 2 Tablespoons of grade A or grade B maple syrup
  3. 1/10 of a Teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  4. 1 – 2 cups of pure water

One has to drink about 6-10 cups of this lemonade mixture throughout the day. No other food is allowed. Then in the morning, he has to go through a “salt water flush,” where he drinks a mixture of 1 L of water with 1 tablespoon of salt. According to the Master Cleanse website (http://themastercleanse.org), the salt water is not absorbed due to its equivalence in gravity as the blood, so it comes right out of the body. Oh, and don’t forget to take a laxative tea at night.

There are several other detox diets, including the “Fruit Flush,” “Martha’s Vineyard Detox,” “Fast Track One-Day Detox,” and “Doctor Joshi’s Detox Diet.” All these diets involve consuming only healthy and living food, meaning vegetables and fruits, either in their raw forms or blended into juice.

Being able to get rid of the toxins from unhealthy, processed food seems so enticing, especially when the idea is accompanied by the possibility of losing so many pounds in a short amount of time. Perhaps the fascination with such extreme diets show people’s dualism: they eat packaged food, as it is convenient and cheaper, yet they want to get rid of them from their bodies to feel “healthier.” The media endorsing thinness as one of the beauty standards also contributes to the emerging popularity of detox diets.

The sudden emergence of such bizarre “detox” diets seems absurd and far from safe. Although the supporters of these diets claim that by cleansing your body system, you feel lighter and energized, the means appear to be too extreme. In addition, Dr. Nasir Moloo, a gastroenterologist comments, “Your body does a perfectly good job of getting rid of toxins on its own […] There’s no evidence that these types of diets are necessary or helpful” in this msnbc article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18595886/). Vital nutrients are also missing in the diet, leading to electrolyte imbalance and eventually cardiac arrest. In addition, there is a possibility of gaining back more weight than one lost during the detox.

I was convinced by my friends, so I tried it out for a day. By the end of the day, I was ready to devour the world, and I quit. The old advice of exercising regularly and eating healthy seems to still stand as the ultimate guide to a beautiful body…

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