It was developed in the 1940s, and the same formula is still followed. It's pretty simple and you do actually lose weight, although the proponents of this would be scandalized if they heard people were using their detox as a way to drop those last five pounds. I have friends who do this once a month, because they are just that hardcore. One of my friends does it every few months for 25 days. That is somewhere beyond hardcore and into the valley of the very focused.
(Caveate: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Fasting can be very hard on your body, so check with your physician before begining any diet, blah blah blah. Don't come crying if you do this and your legs drop off, or whatever.)
Want to follow along? First, go out and buy a bottle of organic lemon juice and a jug of Grade B maple syrup (Whole Foods carries this in the bulk section). You also need powdered cayenne pepper and some distilled water if you don't have a filter on your tap already.
Ready for the fun part? Mix up equal parts of lemon juice and syrup. This is your concentrate. To make the lemonade, pour a few tablespoons of this into a glass of distilled water and mix with a little pinch of cayenne. Okay, so it's not that fun. But it is healthy. You can't have everything.
On the morning of your first day, mix 2 teaspoons of salt into 32 ounces of water. This is the unfun part. Drink it. Yes, all of it. Now, for the rest of the day, drink lemonade (cold or hot) whenever you get hungry. You can also have distilled water or peppermint tea.
Repeat as necessary. Salt water in the morning, lemonade the rest of the day. You don't really stay hungry, since you are taking in quite a few calories.
By the third day, you will be feeling really good. The cravings stop and you feel energetic. By the way, whatever you are craving the most is the food that is the least healthy for your body. I'm not saying stop eating it forever, I'm just saying keep it in mind.
If you feel tired or irritable, go excercise. Do NOT just sit there. You will feel like crap.
You can go for up to 20 days, but I don't recommend doing more than 9 if it's your first time. When you stop fasting, go to juice for a few days before incorporating solids into you diet. Go back slowly. Don't eat pizza your first day off the fast. You will probably find that your craving for seriously unhealthy foods has gone down anyway. And there's always that delicious warm feeling of accomplishment which is why I suspect most people get hooked on this in the first place. It's like running a marathon without all that bothersome training. Or running. Hooray!