Does drinking water with lemon really help you lose weight?
Water with lemon is for many an almost miraculous drink because of its many (supposed) properties: it improves digestion, helps to detoxify and also helps to lose weight.
Is this true? Let's see what has been demonstrated, and what not, about the slimming properties of water with lemon.
It is low in calories
Water with lemon is a very low-calorie drink. Assuming you add the juice of half a lemon to a glass of water, it will only have six calories. So if you use it to replace other drinks with more calories, such as orange juice or sweetened soft drinks, it is a good way to reduce your caloric intake and thus lose weight.
By replacing one of these drinks with a glass of lemon juice you can reduce your daily calorie count by 100-200 calories
If we consider that a glass of orange juice can have about 110 calories, and that a half-litre soda can reach almost 200 calories, only by substituting one of these drinks for a glass of lemon juice can you reduce your daily calorie count by 100-200 calories.
In addition, some studies show that drinking low-calorie drinks with meals reduces the total number of calories consumed at that meal, since drinking high-calorie foods does not make up for it by eating less.
So although water with lemon is not totally calorie-free, the number is so low that the effect is similar and helps reduce the total count.
Keeps you hydrated
Drinking enough fluids and staying hydrated is an essential part of taking care of our health: it regulates temperature, delivers nutrients to cells and transports waste out of the body, helps us perform basic functions and improves our sports performance.
Some evidence suggests that staying hydrated also helps us lose weight: it increases the breakdown of body fat, mobilizing it and helping us to eliminate it. Hydration is also important to avoid fluid retention, which makes us feel bloated and heavy.
Since most water with lemon is that, water, drinking it can help us stay hydrated and thus lose weight.
It could activate the metabolism
Some studies suggest that drinking enough water improves mitochondrial function (a type of cellular organelle that contributes to energy generation). This would lead to an acceleration of the metabolism which in turn would lead to weight loss.
Drinking water has also been shown to increase metabolism by inducing thermogenesis
Drinking water has also been shown to increase metabolism by inducing thermogenesis, the process by which our body burns calories to maintain its temperature.
In one study, 14 participants drank half a liter of water, and this increased their metabolic rate by 30% for 30-40 minutes. In another, the effects of drinking water were observed in 21 overweight children and they observed that drinking 10 milliliters per kilo increased their metabolism by 25% during 40 minutes.
Research on water with lemon in particular is limited, but since water is its main ingredient, it will have the same effect on hydration as water alone.
Provides a feeling of satiety
Drinking water is a recommended part of any weight loss regimen because it promotes a feeling of satiety without providing calories.
One study analysed the effects of this technique on 24 overweight and obese adults, and found that drinking half a litre of water before breakfast reduced the calories from that meal by an average of 13%.
Since water with lemon is low in calories and provides satiety just as water alone does, it is a good way to reduce total calorie intake.
Yes, it can help you lose weight...
Thanks to its potential effects on metabolism, satiety and hydration, the evidence suggests that yes, drinking water (including water with lemon) helps to lose weight.
In one study, 48 adults were instructed to follow two diets: one low in calories and drinking 0.5 litres of water before each meal, and the other simply low in calories. The results showed that after 12 weeks those in the first group had lost 44% more weight than those in the second. Other studies suggest that this advantage is maintained regardless of the diet or physical activity.
These results focus on normal water, but could be obtained with water with lemon.
...but water without lemon has the same effect
As we have said, drinking water with lemon has many benefits related to hydration and satiety, for example. But we must remember that they all come from its main ingredient: water.
We must remember that all the benefits come from its main ingredient: water
By adding lemon we add some nutrients, such as vitamin C or antioxidants, but these have no effect on your weight.
So if you want to lose weight, and you like the taste that the lemon brings to the water (as long as you don't add sugar or throw away all your effort) go ahead and add it. But if not, drink the water as it is. It will have the same effect on your weight.
This article was originally published in Vitonica by Rocio Perez in February 2019 and has been revised for republication.