The lemon detox has been around since 1941. It was created by naturopath Stanley Burroughs and was originally known as the “master cleanser”. More recently it’s been dubbed the lemonade diet or lemon detox diet because, quite simply, all you ingest on the regime is a drink made of lemon juice, Madal Bal (a mixture of tree syrups) and cayenne pepper. You don’t feel hungry? Hmm.
Twice a day (or more if you like) you’re given a flask of the drink to sip. Reflexology, body scrubs, massage and watsu (“underwater shiatsu” in which you’re stretched and soothed while being swirled around the very warm pool) supposedly help the process and take your mind off the fact that you aren’t eating.
“Not only is there a loss of weight, the skin is clearer, there is a regeneration of the body and there is a feeling of vitality and wellbeing,” claims Beyer. Obstetrician Dr Michel Odent uses the regime as part of his preconception programme – and believes it helps to create healthier babies.
Except I had to eat (or not) my words. I was sceptical about a diet favoured by the kind of celebrities who think four lettuce leaves and a tomato make a square meal. What about normal people with normal appetites? But to my distinct amazement, I didn’t feel hungry. I had a vague headache (from coming off caffeine) on day three but otherwise felt pretty chipper. Did I lose weight? I certainly did. Five pounds in three days. No wonder the celebs love it.
Losing weight without feeling ravenously hungry sounds alluring, but surely it’s just too good to be true? Not according to fans of the “lemon detox diet”, currently the talk of Hollywood. Gwyneth Paltrow swears by it, Beyoncé believes in it, while Angelina Jolie and Madonna are apparently huge fans.
So it’s pretty canny of the Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath to introduce a special lemon detox break: three days, two nights to get you up and running and, hopefully, so inspired that you can’t help but continue when you get home.
Detoxing in a hotel renowned for its food and drink is a little strange and a well-known television presenter apparently cracked, veering off right to the restaurant rather than left to the spa (but then she was staying with a non-detoxing friend).
You can “lose 7-12lbs in 10 days”, according to Swiss psychologist Dr K A Beyer, who refined Burroughs’s detox and is the author of The Lemon Detox Diet (PNP, £5.99). The regime will also, allegedly, regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol and alleviate a host of complaints from infections and allergies to joint and respiratory issues.