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Does Lemon Water Help You Lose Weight?
What You Should Know

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: July 14, 2021

If there’s one beverage in the world that’s been massively glorified in various health and wellness circles, it’s lemon water.

Often touted as a “miracle drink,” it is said to possess fat-burning capabilities that promote weight loss, among other far-reaching promises.

But is there any scientific evidence to back up these claims?

After many hours of research, we got the lowdown on lemon water and its real health benefits.

Can Drinking Lemon Water Help You Lose Weight?

water splashing from a drinking glass with lemon

Lemon water may assist in weight loss, but it has no additional benefits over regular water.

Some evidence suggests that water—including lemon water—could enhance weight loss due to its positive effects on satiety, hydration, and metabolism.

Evidence in other studies show that increasing water intake can help stimulate weight loss, regardless of diet or level of exercise.

Although these studies used regular water, individuals will most likely get the same effects with lemon water.

Reasons To Drink Lemon Water

Research has shown that eating one fruit or drinking its juice can increase your energy levels, prevent kidney stones, improve liver health, and protect against certain types of cancer.

Here are the other benefits of lemon water that can support weight loss and help you stay healthy.

1. It Can Help You Stay Hydrated

man in a white shirt holding up a glass of lemon water

People often confuse thirst with hunger. You might grab a snack when all your body really craves is water.

Scenarios like this highlight the importance of drinking enough water to stay hydrated so you can better interpret what your body needs.

Water carries nutrients to the cells, transports waste, and flushes out toxins built up in your system.

It’s also essential in regulating body temperature, providing energy for physical activity, and lubricating your joints [1].

Some research also suggests that increased hydration improves your body’s ability to break down fats, which can support your weight loss goals.

Another benefit you may enjoy from consuming adequate water is reduced bloating, puffiness, and weight gain.

Since the main component of lemon water is water, this citrusy beverage can help keep you hydrated.

2. It May Protect You From Certain Illnesses

woman in gym clothes flexing her left arm smiling

Drinking lemon water can keep you from getting sick with the antioxidants in its high vitamin C content, which can strengthen your immune system.

Vitamin C fights free radicals that can cause illnesses and diseases as you age.

Luckily, one fruit can already provide you with 187% of your daily recommended dose of this antioxidant.

Also, researchers found that when consumers added lemon juice to their green tea, it prevented the breakdown of polyphenol—micronutrients in green tea that reduces heart disease risk.

Lemons contain a fiber called pectin, which has been shown to aid weight loss. This fiber can act as an anti-inflammatory agent, reduce fat absorption, and lower bad cholesterol.

However, your diet must include quite a bit of pectin before you feel any results. So make sure you don’t just squeeze the juice into your water, as pectin is found mostly in the fruit’s skin.

3. It’s Low In Calories

shirtless man using a measuring tape on his abs

A glass of water with fresh lemon juice is generally low in calories, as long as you don’t add any sugar to it.

Squeezing the fresh fruit juice into water will give you only about six kcal.

If you compare that with orange juice or soda—which contains crazy amounts of sugar—it’s obvious that lemon-infused water is healthier by a mile.

Swapping out just one glass of these beverages for water with the juice of one lemon can already save you plenty of calories and help with weight loss.

To illustrate this more clearly, you should know that one cup of orange juice has 110 kcal, while a bottle of soda has 182 kcal.

By replacing even just one of these beverages with a glass of lemon water, you get to decrease your calorie intake by 100 to 200 kcal.

Also, one study in 44 women found that consuming low-calorie drinks with meals could decrease the total calories consumed in the meal.

The participants who drank milk, sweetened soda, and juice with lunch increased their total calories consumed because of the calories from the beverage [2].

Adding lemon juice to water doesn’t make for a calorie-free drink, but it’s low enough in calories to help reduce calorie intake.

4. It Can Promote Fullness

man doing arm stretches outdoors smiling

Drinking lemon water helps make you feel full without adding calories, which is why it’s an essential part of any effective weight loss program.

A study found that drinking water in the morning before eating breakfast food cuts the calories consumed by 13% [3].

Another study showed that drinking a glass of lemon water with food promoted satiety and decreased hunger during the meal [4].

However, these effects weren’t maintained after the meal.

Since water infused with lemon juice is a low-calorie beverage that can promote satiety in the same way as plain water, it can be a reliable method to lessen your calorie intake and help you lose weight.

Drinking a half-liter of water first thing in the morning might be too much for some, but adding lemon slices could give it an exciting taste and help you finish it easier.

5. It May Boost Your Metabolism

woman smiling while holding a salad bowl and a thumbs up

Whether you add the juice or not, studies suggest that increasing your water intake leads to a boost in your metabolic rate.

Researchers found that increased hydration improves the function of the mitochondria, an organelle in cells that helps generate energy for your body [5].

This effect, in turn, leads to an increased metabolic rate, which may result in weight loss.

Drinking water has also been shown to speed up metabolism by inducing thermogenesis, a process in which your body burns calories to produce heat.

Although research on lemon and water is limited, its main component is water, so it likely has the same metabolism-boosting effects as its unflavored counterpart.

Besides, if you aren’t a fan of plain old water, lemon water helps you consume more water than you normally would because of its appealing flavor.

Also, the more of it you drink, the more calories you burn at rest. In one study, 14 participants who drank 17 ounces of water increased the calories they burned by 30% for 30 to 40 minutes [6].

6. It May Help With Digestion

woman in white underwear placing both of her hands on her bare stomach

Lemon juice is acidic, but these acids are good for you.

In some cases, the acids in it can slow down your digestion, helping you absorb nutrients that go through your system while you eat.

Although a slower absorption rate sounds like something you wouldn’t want (since we associate a slowing metabolism with weight gain), it’s actually a very good thing.

The slow absorption rate helps your body send the nutrients where they need to go and helps regulate your blood sugar.

The Best Way To Use Lemon Water

fresh glasses of lemon water in table and a woman holding a glass of lemon water

Whether you prefer hot lemon water or a cold refreshing one, you can experience the health benefits of this drink at any temperature and enjoy it at any time of the day.

However, the acidity of lemons can damage your teeth and make it prone to cavities, specifically if you squeeze the juice and drop the slices into your glass.

According to Melissa Rifkin, a Registered Dietitian:

“Keeping your tooth health in mind, no more than half a lemon should be added to an 8-ounce cup of water. Adding more water to dilute this amount of lemon would be perfectly acceptable.”

Another way you can protect your teeth is to simply brush or rinse your mouth with plain water after drinking lemon water. Wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes before brushing to ensure that the toothpaste won’t interact with any lemon juice that might be left on your teeth.

You can also drink lemon water through a straw to reduce the impact of lemon juice on your tooth enamel.

Tip: To make lemon water tastier, use the juice from at least a small lemon and add a few other ingredients to it, like honey or a teaspoon of stevia.

Related: 9 Best Weight Loss Drinks (Perfect for Belly Fat)

Should You Drink Lemon Water For Weight Loss?

Although drinking lemon mixed with water is healthy, it’s no better than regular water when it comes to burning fat.

After all, losing weight is a process that entails more than just drinking a particular beverage.

If you adopt healthy habits, like meeting your fitness needs through regular exercise and eating a balanced diet, you’re more likely to shed off the pounds rather than relying on this lemony water alone.

But if you replace your sugary drinks with it, it will probably help you lose weight over time.

Try to add lemon water to your diet today, and feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15808893/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2743119/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8287852/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4901052/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14671205/

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