The Cayenne Pepper Diet: The Skinny About This Hot Cleanse

The “Master Cleanse” cleanse craze from the pepper scale.

There are many ways to approach weight loss. You may be surprised to learn one popular method has people turning to their spice racks for results!

If you have heard of the cayenne pepper diet or “master cleanse” but aren’t sure what it’s really all about, keep reading. There’s a lot to consider before embarking on any major diet. Below, you’ll find most everything you ever wanted to know about the cayenne pepper cleanse but were afraid to ask. 

Is the cayenne pepper diet the key to weight loss?

First, this article should be prefaced with the disclaimer that while chili peppers are well-known for their health benefits, some weight-loss experts specifically find the cayenne pepper cleanse to be an extreme approach to shedding unwanted pounds, and others question if it even works.

If you decide to test out this method, understand that potential risks include headaches, irritability, fatigue and other symptoms of hunger. This method also produces a fully-intended and not insignificant laxative effect. For the elderly or those with chronic health conditions, it would be wise to consult a physician before embarking on this journey.

The ingredients

Basically, this plan is a liquid diet consisting of fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper mixed together. Those following the cleanse are supposed to drink at least six and up to 20-plus glasses of this mixture each day.

The exact amounts that should go into this delightful concoction are as follows:

  • 8 oz. filtered water (not distilled)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/10-1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder (feel free to add more if desired)

Again, drink at least six glasses per day of the cleanse, though more is recommended for optimal results. The amount you drink will depend on your size to some degree; a larger person might manage 20 glasses a day, while a smaller person might not be able to down more than 15 servings daily.

Drinking regular water is also recommended whenever you feel thirsty but don’t want your juice again yet.

But wait, there’s more…

As if the lemon juice and pepper powder aren’t enough to get things moving down below, you are also supposed to take a laxative before bed each night and another in the morning.

An alternative to the morning laxative is to drink a “salt water flush” on an empty stomach.

For the SWF, simply add two teaspoons of non-iodized sea salt to a quart of warm water and shake or mix well. You can expect several bowel movements which should commence within the first hour or two after ingesting the flush, so don’t plan on going anywhere until that effect subsides.

You may drink your first serving of juice following your morning flush each day.

Preparation and duration

In general, those who undertake the lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper diet should plan on staying on it for at least 10 days and up to two weeks.

Before starting the master cleanse, participants should begin with a three-day “ease in” process.

  • On day one, stop eating any meat, dairy or processed foods. Focus on fruits and veggies.
  • On day two, begin following a liquid diet. This can include smoothies and soups.
  • On day three, drink only orange juice. You should begin the actual cleanse the following day.

After your 10 to 14 day cleanse period, it is recommended you reverse the “ease in” process to create a three-day “ease out” process. You may then resume normal eating habits with hopefully minimal discomfort. Without the “ease out” period, you may become nauseous or even throw up when you attempt to begin eating solid foods again.

Though celebrities like Beyoncé, Ashton Kutcher, and Jared Leto all swear by this rather intense process to lose serious pounds before filming or other events, it should be noted that the medical community often disagrees with this method.

Medically speaking, cleanses are not necessarily recommended or believed to be effective in terms of long term weight loss, and are not considered necessary to detoxify the body. As WebMD points out, “You don’t need to detox your body – your liver takes care of that.”

For long-term weight loss, the best advice is still to eat healthy foods, avoid processed foods and exercise regularly.

Interested in cayenne pepper as a coffee substitute? Read our article: What’s It Like Taking Cayenne Pepper Pills?

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on September 5, 2019 to include new content.
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