Lemon water has become the internet’s newest favorite morning drink. But is it really as useful as some people claim?
On TikTok, people say that drinking lemon water has helped them detox, get rid of acne and, most notably, manage or lose weight.
A video, viewed more than 14 million times, promises that within a week of drinking lemon water, people will see “an increase in calorie burn, potentially helping with weight management,” as well as improved concentration, more lots of energy and a boosted immune system. .
In addition to its simplicity, it has also been endorsed by celebrities such as Gwenyth Paltrow and Miranda Kerr. As a result, lemon water has become popular as a must-have drink for those interested in losing weight or improving their health.
But should lemon water really be your drink of choice if you want to manage your weight? Or is it another pseudo-wellness trend that isn’t worth it?
Starting the day with a glass of lemon water has become a familiar morning ritual for many people, even before the first sip of coffee.
“It’s not entirely clear where this hack originated, but drinking lemon water is an old folk remedy that’s thought to have evolved over time,” said Melissa Mitri, RD, a registered dietitian and writer at Connecticut. health.
Making lemon water is relatively simple: Cut and juice a lemon and add it to a glass of water. Served hot, cold or at room temperature, lemon water is also a great way to get a citrus flavor without added sugar.
Although lemon water is not necessarily a new trend, it has become especially popular within the last decade or so.
“When a 2008 Japanese study linked the antioxidants in lemons to less weight gain [in mice], public interest in this practice has increased,” explained Mitri. Some believe that the acid in lemons “breaks” fat cells. However, there is little evidence to support this theory.
Drinking lemon water is a great way to add more hydration to your day, and lemons can be a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and small amounts of magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, and more. However, experts agree that this mixture will not help everyone lose weight.
“Lemon water is not necessarily better than plain water for weight management,” said Samantha Turner, MPH, RDN, registered dietitian and owner of OakStone Health and Nutrition. health.
“There is no research out there that shows that lemon water is superior to plain water for weight loss,” added Mitri. “Drinking more water, in general, is associated with increased satiety, weight loss and a healthier metabolism.”
Research has shown that drinking more water is associated with increased fat breakdown and decreased food intake. Increased hydration has also been linked to a healthier body composition—a 2019 study found that, as water consumption increased, body weight, body fat mass, and waist circumference decreased.
While lemon water specifically has no research to support any purported benefits, lemon juice itself may be beneficial.
The acidity of lemon juice has been linked to a positive effect on the body’s glycemic response, or how the body’s blood glucose levels fluctuate after eating carbohydrates.
A 2021 study found that participants who drank 250 milliliters of lemon juice (about a cup) had a lower rise in blood sugar after eating a piece of bread than people who drank the same amount of tea or water.
The results of this study also showed that lemon juice increases gastric secretions and the rate of emptying, which can support weight loss. This may indicate that lemon water is a healthy drink after a meal, but more data is needed.
In addition to its acidity, lemon also contains vitamin C, and depending on how much you add, it can provide certain benefits.
In human and mouse studies, higher intakes of vitamin C have been associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, which refers to increased waist circumference, blood sugar, blood pressure, triglycerides, and/or decreased of “good” cholesterol. According to the researchers, this suggests that supplementing with vitamin C or getting enough through food may help reverse some of these symptoms.
The bottom line is that, at the moment, there is a lack of hard data to support the idea that lemon water can cause weight loss more than plain water.
However, drinking enough water is essential, so jumping on the lemon water trend should be generally safe and healthy.
“[Lemon water] it can help provide extra flavor to water and can help reduce the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed, which can help with better weight management,” Turner said.
Lemons aren’t the only way to get vitamin C or add flavor to water, either—people can rely on other vitamin C-rich fruits like strawberries, kiwis, and oranges if they don’t enjoy lemon water ( or if they don’t have a lemon in hand).
And drinking lemon water for weight loss or management should be accompanied by other healthy habits. “When consumed in addition to creating better eating habits full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, nuts and seeds, plus regular exercise, it can help better manage weight,” Turner said.
If you’re interested in trying lemon water, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. The high acidity of lemon can erode tooth enamel if consumed in large quantities. To minimize this risk, consider drinking lemon water through a straw, followed by a plain water rinse.
Also, those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or a similar condition may find that consuming citrus fruits such as lemons worsens their symptoms such as heartburn or chest pain.
As with any dietary change, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure you are making choices that support your individual health needs.