There are plenty of dodgy weight loss myths out there, from only eating at certain times of the day to the Noom app and its panel of weight loss experts. One of the more prevalent dieting tricks involves regularly imbibing lemon water, a delicious-sounding concoction that is far more interesting on the palate than the plain ol’ tap variety. As Byrdie notes, there are plenty of health benefits to be gleaned from drinking lemon water, including increased hydration and possibly lowering your risk of kidney stones.
Lemon water also contains vitamin C, while lemons themselves are packed with phytonutrients, powerful antioxidants that protect our bodies against disease. Lemon water may also aid digestion, as registered dietitian Sheri Vettel advises because, “Lemon’s sour taste stimulates bile release ahead of a meal.” Drinking a glass of lemon water prior to eating could therefore help you digest food faster and better. But does doing so actually aid weight loss?
Lemon water does not help with weight loss
Byrdie got the scoop from nutritionists and, sadly, it looks like this might be just another weight loss myth. There’s nothing special about lemon water that could help us shed pounds, no matter how often we drink it. However, it’s still a healthy drink to add to your diet, particularly if you’re trying to get more water or if you typically reach for something sugary. In fact, as Lauren Sharpe, a registered dietitian who specializes in debunking diet myths advises, “If you are exchanging a morning habit of orange juice for lemon water, then over time this may aid in weight loss.”
The main takeaway from the experts is that many of the health benefits gained by drinking lemon water can also be achieved by simply drinking more plain water. As Vettel explains, “Lemon water can promote satiety before meals, is virtually calorie-free, and may have metabolic benefits — all of which can support a healthy weight,” but regular water has the same effect.
Lemon water does help reduce bloating
However, although lemon water might not literally help us lose weight, it could help ease stomach bloating in the short term. Registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey advised Women’s Health that lemon water acts a mild, natural diuretic so it can assist with a bloated tummy. If you’re experiencing heartburn or acid reflux, though, you should steer clear as the citrus in the lemon will only make you feel worse. It’s worth noting, too, that eating too fast, using a straw, drinking fizzy drinks, and getting too much salt or sugar in your diet also cause bloating.
Overall, the biggest lesson to be learned from the lemon water debate is that no drink is going to act as a magical weight loss solution. Weight loss and management come from hard work, consistent exercise, and healthy eating. But it’s always a good idea to add more water to your diet, however you decide to drink it.
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