Does Lemon Water Help With Weight Loss?
There’s no denying that lemon water is a delicious alternative when the taste of plain water just isn’t cutting it. But beyond taste, we’ve also been hearing a lot of talk about lemon water being beneficial to weight loss (if that’s your goal). To see if the claims are actually true, we did some digging to find out what was true and what was false about the question: does lemon water help with weight loss.
Here’s what we found about lemon water, in terms of weight loss, hydration, and other health benefits, and even protecting your teeth!
Lemon Water Benefits
Sipping lemon water helps you stay hydrated: Adding a bit of lemon to your water might encourage you to drink more water throughout the day. This is a major win, because proper hydration supports so many different body processes, from temperature regulation to muscle health and more. If lemon water helps you stay hydrated, that’s definitely a good thing.
Lemon water contains vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important antioxidant with a bunch of health benefits, including helping us absorb iron from our meals, supporting heart health, and aiding in collagen production and skin repair. Including lemon in your water can help increase your intake of this important antioxidant.
Lemon water might support digestion: Drinking a glass of lemon water before or during your meal may help your body digest food more easily. Per Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, lemon’s sour taste stimulates bile release ahead of a meal. Additionally, as we age, the acidity of our stomach declines, and lemon water may be a helpful digestive aid.
Like many other plant-based foods, lemons are packed with phytonutrients:
These phytonutrients have powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from disease.
Lemon water may lower your risk of getting kidney stones: Lemons, like many other fruits, are high in citric acid and citrate. These are important because they can help prevent kidney stones from forming and can even break up stones that have already started to form. As a preventive measure, Physicians at UC San Diego Health recommend drinking four ounces of lemon juice in two liters of water each day.
Side Effects of Drinking Lemon Water
While lemon water doesn’t typically carry any negative health impacts, it can contribute to acid reflux in some people. Others, such as those with histamine sensitivity, may simply have an intolerance for citrus.
Too much lemon water can be problematic to your teeth as well, since citric acid can erode the enamel that helps protect your teeth from decay. Tooth health is the biggest downside to lemon consumption. As long as the lemon is diluted with enough water and/or plain water is used between glasses of lemon water, that will help limit the negative impact lemon may have on tooth health.
Another workaround we like: protect your teeth by drinking your lemon water with a straw.
So, Does Lemon Water Work For Weight Loss?
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but lemon water doesn’t contain any special ingredients that promote weight loss. That said, it’s still a generally healthy choice for a drink, especially if you’re reaching for a glass of lemon water instead of a more sugary option like juice or soda. If you are exchanging a morning habit of orange juice for lemon water, then over time this may aid in weight loss. However, there is no research linking actual lemon juice and water with weight loss.
Basically, by reaching for lemon water throughout the day, you may find that you aren’t drinking as many high-calorie, sugary beverages anymore. Additionally, drinking appropriate amounts of water can promote fullness, which may reduce the amount you snack or eat during meal times.
There’s one very important factor to keep in mind here: many of the benefits of drinking lemon water are tied to water consumption and hydration in general, not just to lemon water. Lemon water can promote satiety before meals, is virtually calorie-free, and may have metabolic benefits—all of which can support a healthy weight. It’s important to note that these benefits are not specific to lemon water alone, but remain true with plain water consumption too.
How to Incorporate Lemon Water Into Your Diet
In general, nutritionists recommend drinking lemon water in a way that works for you, since everyone’s body and preferences are different. If it is helping you drink more water, I say add it into all your water bottles throughout the day. There’s no reason to drink lemon water if you don’t enjoy it—so if you can’t stand lemon water, this isn’t something you need to force just because you’ve heard it’s good for you.
The suggestion is to try drinking a glass of warm lemon water when you wake up in the morning as a way to wake up the digestive system and start your daily hydration early.
How to Prepare Lemon Water For Maximum Taste and Benefits
When you’re making lemon water, any type of lemon will do, but you may want to be mindful about how much lemon you add. Keeping your tooth health in mind, no more than a half lemon should be added to an 8-ounce cup of water. Adding more water to dilute this amount of lemon would be perfectly acceptable. If you can, reach for filtered water—nutritionists say this can help reduce the presence of contaminants in your water. Likewise, organic lemons are a solid choice if you’re aiming to reduce the amount of pesticides in your food.
If you’re looking to spice things up a bit, try adding some basil, mint, or other fresh herbs to your lemon water for an added infusion of flavor. Mint infused lemon water is a great cooling choice for the summer heat.
The Takeaway of Lemon Water for Weight Loss
While lemon water doesn’t contain any properties that specifically promote weight loss, it’s a healthy substitute for juices, sodas, sugary teas, or energy drinks. If you drink these often, then replacing them with lemon water may in turn help you lose weight. Aside from weight loss, there are a number of benefits to drinking lemon water, including increasing hydration, vitamin C, and phytonutrients. Just be aware that lemons are acidic, which can cause tooth sensitivity. Dieticians and dentists alike recommend drinking through a straw to prevent this, or to include no more than half a lemon per eight ounces of water.
It may not be what you want to hear, but when it comes to our wellness, the truth is what we want to hear!