Ask a Nutritionist: Does Lemon Water Encourage Weight Loss?

From sparkling water to infused lemon water that is undeniably a delicious alternative when the taste of plain water just isn't cutting it. However, beyond taste, there is a lot of talk about lemon water being beneficial for weight loss. To understand if the claims are actually true or just another gimmick, our nutritionists are here to share their insights from their expertise. Below are some discussions on lemon water on its hydration, benefits, and weight loss.

So firstly, let's take a look at what are the benefits of infused or lemon water.

Lemon Water Benefits

  1. Sipping lemon water helps you stay hydrated: 

Adding a bit of lemon or any infused fruits or vegetables to your water might encourage you to drink more water throughout the day compared to just plain water. This is a major win, because proper hydration supports so many different body processes, from muscles health and regeneration, temperature regulation to skin elasticity and many more. If lemon water helps you stay hydrated, that’s definitely a good thing. 

2. 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. Although Vitamin C is known to be water soluble, hence when you drink your lemon water, you could still get the Vitamin C in your system. C how cool is that!

3. Lemon water might support digestion

Drinking a glass of lemon water (or any infused water and plain water) before or during your meal may help your body digest food more easily. The fruit's sour taste stimulates bile release ahead and that could help your body to prepare for a meal. Additionally, as you age, the acidity of your stomach declines and lemon water may be a helpful digestive aid.

4. Like many other plant-based foods, lemons are packed with phytonutrients

Phytonutrients have powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from diseases. 

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.

So, Does Lemon Water Work For Weight Loss?

Short answer: No. 

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but lemon water doesn’t contain any special ingredients that promote weight loss. However, it's still a generally healthy choice for a drink, especially if you’re the type to have a habit of 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 by keeping you hydrated and drinking enough water. However there is no research linking actual lemon juice itself 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.

How to Incorporate Lemon Water Into Your Diet

In general, if you still prefer to drink lemon water because plain water isn't cutting for you but you want to avoid drinking drinks that are bombed with sugar, nutritionists recommend drinking lemon water in a way that works for you, since everyone’s body and preferences are different. 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 flavour. If it is helping you drink more water, add it into all your water bottles throughout the day. However, there’s no reason for you 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 Takeaway

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 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. Health practitioners alike recommend drinking through a straw to prevent this, or to include no more than half a lemon per eight ounces of water. In short, do not forget to get your 2L-3L of your daily water for a healthier body function!

References:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51729852_Functional_foods_with_digestion-enhancing_properties

http://nutrition.moh.gov.my/wp-content/uploads/penerbitan/buku/MDG_Children_adolescent_2014.pdf



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