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Lose 21 Pounds in 21 Days: Is This Claim For Real?

Fitday Editor
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Have you ever tried Beyonce's Maple Syrup Diet (aka. The Master Cleanse), a mixture of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne, in an attempt to lose weight? It also includes drinking salt water, taking laxatives and advises you to stay by a toilet. Beyonce lost 20 pounds in 10 days with this diet and other people have had results too. It's not surprising though because you are basically starving yourself and probably spending a lot of time in the bathroom. There is even a warning that states, "You will experience cravings, aches, pains, mental irritability and fatigue."

Detox diets and cleanses are used as a way to eliminate toxins and poisons in your body. People have reported such results as more energy, better digestion, regular bowel movements, better focus and clearer skin. These diets are very strict and usually last anywhere from 3-30 days.

There are many different types of cleanses. Some of the most common types are:
• Liquid diets, juice fasts and popular fad diets (like the one above that combines a crazy concoction of foods) often include a significantly reduced number of calories and usually result in weight loss because you will be burning more calories than you are taking in. The weight loss is only temporary because eventually the metabolism will slow down in order to conserve energy and your weight is likely to return to normal after the diet.
• Colon cleansing and herbal drink cleanses have laxative-like effects and are said to remove toxins, promote healthy intestinal bacteria, increase your energy and enhance your immune system. There is very little evidence that this actually eliminated toxins and doing this can be harmful to your body because it may cause dehydration and may prevent the body from absorbing certain vitamins/minerals.

There is insufficient scientific evidence that detox diets actually work or are needed to remove toxins from our bodies. Our liver and kidneys naturally eliminate toxins from through our urine and stool. Other toxins are eliminated through our sweat. There are several risks associated with these diets such as dehydration, fatigue, nausea, digestive problems, vitamin deficiencies, muscle breakdown, blood sugar problems and dizziness. Also, while getting rid of the "bad stuff" these diets also get rid of the "good stuff." Many of these diets also have false claims such as "lose 21 pounds in 21 days." It is unsafe to lose that much weight that quickly. These diets can also be very expensive.

Some people start their day with a warm glass of water and lemon juice before they eat or drink anything else. Lemon juice contains large amounts of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium and Calcium. Lemon is a natural cleanser and drinking lemon water in the morning can help with digestion, is good for the skin, may help with weight loss and it may reduce congestion.

So, while detox diets and cleanses are most likely unnecessary, can be harmful, are expensive, and don't have any long term benefits, adding a natural cleanser like lemon water to our daily regimen can't hurt. Drinking this first thing in the morning, in addition to following a well balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats/meat alternatives, low fat dairy products, drinking plenty of water, and to trying to avoid environmental toxins, is likely to have more benefits and long term effects than any cleanse or detox diet.

Kelly Forness is a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) and a member or the American Dietetic Association. She recently obtained her Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management. She has experience working in long term care facilities and is currently working at a daycare. Kelly has always been interested in nutrition and fitness her whole life. Kelly is a vegetarian, and tries to eat mostly whole foods. In her free time, she likes spending time with her friends and family, working out, and playing with her 2 cats Chloe and Daisy and dog Charlotte. Kelly can be reached via email at

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