Does Lemon Water Help With Weight Loss?

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There are a lot of interesting habits people consider for losing weight. Find out whether lemon water actually helps with weight loss or not.

For now, it looks like lemon water is no magic tool when it comes to losing weight.

The small amounts of extra nutrients should not really offer any meaningful results in this area.

That being said, drinking enough water and drinking less calorie-rich drinks tend to be habits that are good for weight loss.

If adding the taste of lemon to your water helps with these things, you can say that lemon water helps with weight loss.

At the same time, even in a situation like that, many people will have to make enough positive changes in other lifestyle areas to get to their weight loss goals.

How to make lemon water for weight loss

The way to make lemon water is straightforward. You just add some lemon juice (fresh or bottled) or lemon slices to a glass or bottle of water.

Lemon slices will contain a small amount of fiber and bottled lemon juice will contain preservatives and sometimes sweeteners. This means the most healthy lemon water will be lemon slices and water.

Most people will go for pure juice anyway so for this article the pure juice version will be discussed.

A common lemon-juice-to-water ratio is 1 squeezed lemon, about 47 ml, for 2 l of water. In the end, you can change the quantity to your liking.

Does the small amount of lemon do anything for weight loss?

Lemon can be good for weight loss. It is low in calories and it provides you some extra amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Nonetheless there are also some myths about what lemons can do for weight loss, certainly in the small amounts it is present in lemon water.

It’s important to know what is the truth before you put in the extra effort that is maybe better spent on other habits.

lemon water to stay hydrated

Taste to make your weight loss routine more pleasant

Sugar-sweetened beverages are one of the main sources of added sugars in the American diet (1). Drinks like sodas and juices contain a lot of calories.

To compare, one glass (8 fl oz) of soda contains about 90.4 calories (2). And one glass of orange juice contains about 111.2 calories (3).

What if you replace just one glass of these drinks with a glass of lemon water which contains a maximum of 10 calories?

You would consume at least 80 calories less each day. Possibly even more. Some people struggle with drinking more water because of the lack of taste.

The extra taste from the lemon juice can help people reach their daily water goals.

If you’re looking for other ways to make it easier for yourself to drink more water check out these 12 tips.

Tiny amounts of nutrients

The lemon slices or lemon juice you add contain some nutrients. The amount might not be that much but it should not hurt either.

Some extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber are more than welcome for a lot of people. Even if it’s only such a tiny amount.

Detoxing for weight loss seems to be a myth

Some people also claim there is a “detox” effect from the lemon. To my knowledge, the evidence that lemon water has a significant detox effect that helps weight loss is pretty much non-existent.

It’s true that there are certain nutrients help you remove certain damaging substances from your body. Even so, it’s not entirely clear how much this would benefit weight loss.

It’s most likely better to stay away from anyone claiming you get a magical weight loss effect from consuming a little more lemon with your water.

The extra water you drink can help your kidneys remove built-up waste but lemon should not have to do much with that.

Detox effect of lemon water is a myth

Benefits of drinking more lemon water when losing weight

Most of the benefits of lemon water will be because of drinking more water. Increasing your fluid intake with healthy drinks can have multiple benefits on your weight loss results.

Can reduce hunger

Drinking water can help you lose weight by reducing your appetite. This will make you eat small portions of other foods with calories.

In one study people who consumed water before breakfast consumed about 13% fewer calories (4).

Another similar study found the same but only for middle-aged individuals. The effect for healthy non-obese younger people was not statistically significant (5).

The effect of water on appetite is not that surprising. Your stomach communicates with your brain. When it’s full it sends satiety signals.

By filling up your stomach with water you can reduce your appetite. So, you basically have a more comfortable weight loss life or you automatically consume fewer calories.

Hunger and cravings are a big reason why people fail to stick to their weight loss journey so avoiding them can be very helpful.

Can burn more calories

Drinking water is also beneficial for weight loss because it can actually help you burn more calories. Some estimations are an extra 24 calories per 500 ml of water (6, 7).

It might just be an extra 100 calories a day from drinking 2 liters but small amounts do add up. If you make drinking water part of your daily routine it can add up to an extra 700 calories burned a week.

It helps you stay hydrated

Drinking enough fluid is essential for your health. Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions.

Staying hydrated could even help with breaking down fat (8). Drinking enough water will not only improve your health but also help you get closer to your physical goals.

women drinking lemon water to stay hydrated

Is lemon water important for weight loss?

Most of the physical benefits of lemon water come from the main ingredient: water. You get most of the same benefits from drinking the same quantity of regular water.  

The potential benefits of the lemon are so small that they are not really suited to use as an argument for lemon water being especially good for weight loss.

If the lemon helps you drink your daily amount of water and avoid unhealthy drinks it’s great for you. If not, it’s most likely not worth putting any time and effort into.

That being said, there are some water-based drinks that can actually help you burn more calories than regular water.

Some examples are green tea, coffee, and adding some cayenne pepper to water.

When should you drink lemon water to lose weight?

You can drink the lemon water pretty much any time you want.

The only exceptions are before brushing your teeth and right before bed when you want to give your digestion some rest.

Due to the low calorie contents lemon water normally shouldn’t break your fast or mess with any hormone levels.

How much lemon water should you drink a day?

Since lemon water is about the same as regular water the same recommendations should apply.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend:

  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women
  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men

These recommendations include fluids from water, other beverages, and food. For most people around 20 percent of their daily fluid intake comes from food, the rest from drinks like water.

Of course, this amount varies from individual to individual because of height, weight,….

If you live in a warm climate and sweat a lot you will most likely need more water. Being physically active can also increase the amount of water you need.

If have trouble hitting your daily water goals, you might benefit from a motivational water bottle.

Should you focus on lemon water to lose weight?

The extra weight loss benefits from the lemon in lemon water are negligible. Drinking regular water will benefit you about as much as lemon water.

If you have trouble consuming enough water because of the bland taste you might benefit from the extra flavor from the lemon slices.

Additionally, the extra taste may help you consume less of unhealthy drinks which can be helpful for losing weight in its own way.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.