The Beyoncé Diet is named for the singer and actress Beyoncé Knowles who used the diet during the filming of "Dreamgirls." It was originally developed by Stanley Burroughs in 1941 as a method for detoxification to treat ulcer patients, and he did not intend for it to be used as a weight-loss plan. In the 1950s, he published this program under the name Master Cleanse. It was popularized as a diet plan by Peter Glickman in his 1976 book The Master Cleanser. Since then, the diet has been referred to as the Lemonade Diet, the Lemon Cleanse, the Maple Syrup Diet and most recently the Beyoncé Diet.
Although developed as a fasting regimen to promote detoxification, the Beyoncé Diet is frequently used for weight loss. It is a fasting diet, and although on Day 1 the dieter can eat fruit, vegetables and whole grains, for the remainder of the 14-day program, no solid food is eaten. Instead, the centerpiece of this diet is a concoction made from water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper.
The concoction is blended, and the dieter drinks six to 10 glasses of it each day. The maple syrup should be at least B Grade, and maple flavored syrup is not acceptable, but molasses can be used instead. Fresh lemon juice is preferred for this recipe as well, but limes can be substituted if desired.
In addition to the lemonade-maple mixture, the Beyoncé Diet also uses a saltwater flush. The warm saltwater is taken every morning, as quickly as possible, and some dieters may have difficulty keeping it down. Shortly after, the flush will trigger several watery bowel movements that might continue for the next few hours. For this reason, many prefer to use the saltwater flush in the evening and choose a laxative tea for the morning instead.
Doctors, nutritionists and health professionals agree that fasting is a poor way to manage weight, and that any weight lost during a fasting program will return when that program ends. Beyoncé herself noted that her dramatic weight loss of 22 pounds (10 kg) returned as soon as she went off the diet, and that she chose to use this program with the aid of a nutritionist for the film, making it clear that she would not recommend the diet for anyone not facing similar professional demands. For those who do try the Beyoncé Diet, side effects apart from the obvious hunger pangs and irritability might include headache, fatigue, aches and pains, dizziness, fainting and nausea. Medical advice should be sought for anyone with a chronic health issue before considering the Beyoncé Diet.