Beyoncé Made Me Do It

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4 Detox Ingredients You Need to Add to Your H2O

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This is it? Even if lemon does “alkalize the body” and mint “aids digestion” and cucumber has “anti-inflammatory properties” and ginger “cleanses the system,” if all you have to do is add very small amounts to a big pitcher of cold water, is that really and truly enough? Is this is the current way to “detox” your body and get back into shape?

There are hundreds of such recipes on the Internet these days and they have attracted a large following worldwide. No secret why. It’s more fun than dieting or giving up smokes and going to the gym.  Big questions remain, however. Are the so called “infused water” or “detox water” diets any good? And can they be harmful to your health?

The movement began…

In 1940 when alternative health practitioner Stanley Burroughs developed what he termed the “Master Cleanse” as a stomach ulcer cure. It wasn’t until 1976 that it took the form of an almost incomprehensible mish-mash of a book by Burroughs, but then in 2004 a follower, Peter Glickman,” published Lose Weight, Have More Energy & Be Happier in 10 Days, dubbing it the “Lemonade Diet.” This is what Beyoncé adopted and turned into a runaway fad after losing 20 pounds/9 kilos in two weeks for her role in the movie Dreamgirls. So loudly did she boast, many now call it the “Beyoncé Diet.”

 

What is it?

“First,” says themastercleanse.org, “squeeze fresh lemon juice. Then add rich maple syrup and cayenne pepper into pure water. Drink a minimum of six to 12 glasses throughout the day whenever one is hungry. Take a laxative before bed. Instead of the morning laxative, you can do the salt water flush.” Repeat for 10 days. However rigorous and clearly unattractive this “cure” may be, several actors used it to lose weight for their movie roles as well and in the past few years, everyone and his daft but well-meaning uncle has jumped onto the bandwagon. Now on the Internet there are hundreds of Google headlines like these:

14 Detox Waters that Banish Bloat
Goodbye puffiness and hello gorgeousness, with cucumber, lemon, pomegranate and mint.
Healthy Detox Water Recipes from Instagram

These home-brewed concoctions have proved even more attractive the late Mr. Burroughs offered, not least because few are suggested for longer than two or three days.

But do they really work?

Weight probably is guaranteed, but recognized medical authorities almost without exception say no. The body likely benefits by cutting processed foods and unhealthy fats from the diet for even a short period, but the Mayo Clinic, among others, insist that there is “little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body.” While a typical headline on the Internet claims, “Detox and Juicing Diets: The Biggest Scam in Fitness.” For many entrepreneurs, it’s just another way to package and sell expensive water and equipment for mixing the ingredients at home and then carrying it. Some recipes, of course, are better than others. Bottom line for the original, however, as Gwyneth Paltrow put it, “It did work, but is not pretty.”

Most important…

is the mandatory warning that must be attached to any extreme diet: talk to your physician first. Individuals with pre-existing health conditions—diagnosed and undiagnosed—are especially at risk. And recognized physicians and medical facilities have other, “prettier” solutions to suggest.

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