Drink this, eat that, follow this, do that – when it comes to weight loss, there’s almost this information overload that you do not even know which advice to follow. If you really want to achieve weight loss, you should know how to sift through all the information and only follow what you think is best for you and your body.
Here, we will take a look at whether drinking lemon water really leads to faster fat loss, and how it cleanses the body of harmful toxins.
Table of Contents
Why Drink Lemon Water?
Why should you drink lemon water in the first place? What are its health benefits and how does it lead to weight or fat loss?
Lemons or Citrus Limon (1) are a member of the citrus family. Known in Italy as limone and in Spanish as limon or limon real, the true lemon tree can grow 10 to 20 feet in height, with sharp thorns on the twigs. The flowers can grow solitary or clustered in threes, while the fruit is oval with a protuberance at the apex. Some fruits are seedless while other lemons have a few seeds, and the pulp is pale yellow.
Medicinally, lemons are widely known as a diuretic, astringent, antiscorbutic, and febrifuge (1). When placed in hot water, lemon juice is advocated as a daily laxative. It also helps prevent the common cold. When mixed with honey, salt or ginger, it can be used as a cold remedy.
As a citrus fruit, lemons are a powerful source of vitamin C, enzymes, and antioxidants. They’re also known to boost liver function and tissue regeneration (2). Warm lemon water is considered an excellent detoxification tool because the fruit helps cleanse the liver. As compared to coffee which usually dries out the skin and saps out the energy, lemon water is a better alternative.
Kimberly Snider, a New York Times bestseller and nutritionist, recommends that people get in the habit of drinking one hot mug of water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed (2). Do this first thing in the morning, and refresh yourself throughout the day by drinking squeezed lemon juice in cool or cold water.
If you’re fond of eating greens, you can spritz some lemon juice, salt, pepper, and apple cider vinegar to really amp up the fruit’s detoxifying effects on the body.
A Deeper Look at the Detoxification Process
There’s a lot of talk here about detoxification but why is there a need to detoxify the body, anyway? Does it really help with weight loss? Still according to Snyder (2), cleansing should be considered a verb instead of a noun because cleansing should be done on a long-term basis.
When you go online, you can search for a lot of 3-day detox plans, 1-week juice cleanses or similar programs which all promise to rid the body of harmful toxins and help you lose weight. The problem with these short-term detoxes is that the results are only temporary.
If you go on a one-week juice “diet”, for example, you will be overworking your internal organs such as the liver and the colon. Instead of making you feel healthy, refreshed, and revitalized after the one-week cleansing program, you will suffer from side effects like nausea, headaches and even breakouts. Why? Because your body will actually start to circulate the toxins that were previously kept under the fat layers due to the non-existence of food to digest.
Instead of short-term detox programs or cleanses, Snyder recommends eating right so that the toxins can be pulled out of the fat, then actually shedding the fat. The end result is that you will feel healthier and thinner for the long-term (2).
If you are considering detoxifying the body with lemon water, Sylvie Beljanski of The Beljanski Wellness Center, says that you can easily do it at home. Beljanski’s definition of detoxification is eliminating all the negative effects on the body of the environment.
When the body gets exposed to food additives, secondary smoke, heavy metals, pollutants, and pesticides, these are harmful to the body and you do need to get rid of them. With a detoxification program, these toxic substances are removed and the kidneys and colon are cleansed (3).
What about Beljanski’s view on short-term versus long-term detox? It’s actually a matter of personal preference, but you do need to know the difference. With a short-term detox, the goal is to release toxins from the body using a short-term program.
A long-term detox, on the other hand, includes dietary changes like avoiding carbs, meats, eating more veggies and fruits, drinking fluids (like lemon water, juice, herbal tea, etc.), or taking vitamins and supplements.
For a DIY detox program using lemon water, all you have to do is add lemon to the water that you drink throughout the day. The acid in the citrus fruit aids in the cleansing process (3). For weight loss, warm lemon water works by using its high acidity and high pH levels to penetrate and break down fat molecules.
Are there any drawbacks to drinking lemon water for weight loss and body cleansing?
According to Joy Dubost, R.D., who is a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, (4), the best way to clean out the system is to drink plenty of water. Getting enough fiber also helps in regularizing the digestive system.
The one drawback is those who follow full-on master cleanses where actual food is substituted with juices or just plain lemon water. Vandana Sheth of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that lemon water has plenty of vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. But instead of simply relying on pure lemon water to lose fat or detox the body, it should be taken along with foods which are high in iron.
The result is that your body will better absorb the iron (4). If you really want to try out those Hollywood-famous fad juice cleanse plans where you will consume nothing but juice for a week or so, you will just be putting your body through stress that it does not need at all (4).
The best solution, therefore, is to still have a regular, balanced diet, which can be combined with drinking warm lemon water throughout the day so that you can enjoy its weight loss and toxin-cleansing benefits.
Lemon Water Detox Recipes
If you would like to rid your body of toxins while also flushing out the fat, here are a couple of lemon water detox recipes to try:
Slim Down Detox Water (5)
To ½ gallon of spring water, add ½ of a medium grapefruit, ½ a cucumber, ½ lemon and ½ lime. The fruits should be thinly sliced. Add a couple of mint leaves. Allow the fruits to steep into the water for about two hours before serving. For optimal results, drink at least ½ gallon of the Slim Down Detox Water per da
Lemon, Watermelon, Ginger & Mint Water for Flat Tummy (6)
For this recipe, you will need a pitcher or a mason jar; 1 sliced cucumber, 1 sliced lemon; 1 grated ginger; ½ cup mint leaves; 6 glasses of water. Place all the ingredients in a pitcher of water. Steep overnight. The next morning, you can start drinking one glass of this detox lemon water to help you lose weight, and have a flat tummy. The author recommends drinking the water for four weeks to experience best results.
A Final Note about Drinking Lemon Water
The best time of day to start drinking warm lemon water is when you wake up first thing in the morning. During this time, the tissues are dehydrated and that is when the body is in desperate need to push out the toxins (7).
By starting your day off with warm lemon water, you can help the body quickly flush out the harmful toxins. Not only that, but it also provides the body with hydrating electrolytes, it promotes better digestion, better liver function, aids metabolism, cleanses the arteries, suppresses hunger cravings, and even revitalizes the skin (7).
With all these benefits and more, there really is no reason why you should say no to the habit of drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning, and all throughout the day.
If you want to check out ANOTHER awesome way to make water work for you, check out the turapur water pitcher and thank me later! 🙂
- Morton, Julia. “Lemon in Fruits of Warm Climates”. Purdue University. Pp. 160-168
- Snyder, Kimberly. “The One Day Cleanse”. Kimberly Snider. KimberlySnider.com, 13 Sep. 2011
- Beljanski, Sylvie. “9 Things You Didn’t Know About Detoxing”. Marie Claire. MarieClaire.com, 10 Nov. 2015
- Heitz, David. “Lemon Water Detox: The Truth”. HealthLine. Healthline.com, 15 Sep. 2014
- Beaty, Vanessa. “20 Delicious Detox Waters to Cleans Your Body and Burn Fat.” DIY & Crafts. DIYNCrafts.com, 29 Jun. 2014
- Miller, Maria. “8 Simple Detox Lemon Water Recipes for Weight Loss”. 9 Jun. 2015
- Wolfe, David. “20 Incredible Things That Happen When Adding Warm Lemon Water to Your Morning Routine”. DavidWolfe. DavidWolfe.com, 23 Sep. 2015.