You can make lemon water by adding the juice from a fresh lemon to a glass of water. You can slice the lemons or use a citrus reamer or a juicer. Many online sources claim that homemade lemon water provides health benefits and may help with weight loss.
This article discusses what research has to say about the possible health benefits and risks of drinking lemon water.
What Are the Health Benefits of Lemon Water?
Lemon water is a subject of some current studies, but at this time, quality scientific research does not support many of its health benefits. These benefits are based on what we know about the lemon fruit, but these claims have limited scientific support, if any.
Measuring the benefits of lemon water can be challenging. There is no current way to measure the amount of lemon that might be mixed in a lemon water drink. And many people like adding flavors or foods to the drink, which may affect how the body responds to it.
If you are drinking lemon water for possible health benefits, be sure you are not adding sugar or other sweeteners that may offset them. Sweeteners are often high in calories; adding them to your drink can affect its nutritional value.
Adequate water intake is vital for your body to function. Human bodies are 55–60% water. It helps dissolve nutrients that the blood carries, and removing waste from the body helps.
No quality scientific studies show that adding lemon to water improves hydration. However, if you have trouble drinking plain water, adding lemon may help with the taste and make it more enjoyable.
Benefits of Drinking Water
Water offers several benefits, including:
- Preventing dehydration
- Maintaining a safe body temperature
- Getting rid of body waste
Adding lemon to your water might help ensure your vitamin C intake reaches the recommended amount. On average, lemon (56 grams or about 2 ounces) contains 34 milligrams of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is essential in multiple body functions, including:
Evidence shows that adding lemon (and other citrus) to water may help prevent or treat specific kidney stones. If you have kidney stones, a healthcare provider typically collects and analyzes their contents to recommend the most effective dietary changes and treatments.
Adequate water intake and urination are also mainstays of kidney stone prevention and treatment. If the flavor of lemon water helps you drink enough fluids, it may help prevent future kidney stones.
Is Lemon Water Good for You?
Most healthcare providers agree that drinking water is good for you. Adding lemon to your water may offer some mild benefits or improve its taste and help you drink the recommended amount of it.
If a healthcare provider has recommended you limit fluids due to other health conditions, you should speak with them before adding lemon water to your drinking choices. Heart failure, kidney disease, and other health conditions may require careful monitoring of your fluid intake.
Lemon Water Nutrition
Lemon water nutrition facts can vary. Lemon varieties, sizes, and ripeness levels may affect your lemon water’s exact nutrition stats. An average lemon weighs about 65 grams (or just over 2 ounces). Including its peel, it contains:
- Water: 57.8 grams
- Calories: 18.8 kilocalories
- Protein: less than 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 6.06 grams
- Fiber (total): 1.82 grams
Water contains no calories, fat, protein, or carbohydrates. It can help dilute lemon juice’s tart or sour taste in your beverage. Sometimes, people add honey, herbs, or spices to their lemon water to further alter its taste and improve its possible health benefits.
Does Lemon Water Help You Lose Weight?
Though you may see claims that lemon water is helpful for weight loss, much of that information is only in theory. There are no quality studies that support lemon water as helpful for weight loss.
It may be possible that drinking water helps people feel fuller and results in eating fewer calories, which may lead to weight loss over time. Some mixed studies have shown that drinking water might be helpful in weight loss, but lemon water has not been studied specifically.
Water may help with weight loss when:
- Your total daily water intake increases
- Water replaces other high-calorie drinks
- You consume water before meals
Though drinking more water may improve your health and offer some weight loss benefits, drinking lemon water alone is unlikely to lead to weight loss. Reach out to a healthcare provider if you need help pursuing weight loss.
Other Misconceptions About Lemon Water and Your Health
In addition to weight loss, claims have been made that lemon water helps eliminate belly fat. There is no scientific evidence to support this.
There have also been claims that lemon water “alkalinizes” the body (makes it less acidic). Many mechanisms in the body exist to keep the internal pH level in a narrow range regardless of the pH of our food and drinks.
Take any claims you read or hear about specific foods with caution. Contact a healthcare provider if you have concerns about health conditions or what to eat.
Disadvantages of Drinking Lemon Water Daily
Lemon is a citrus fruit that many people can consume safely. However, there are also some potential side effects or risks.
There are some known interactions between citrus juice and medications. Scientific studies have shown interactions between grapefruit juice, lime juice, and lemon juice and certain medications. Make sure you speak with a healthcare provider about possible interactions with any prescribed medications.
Lemon juice contains citric acid, which can damage tooth enamel over time. Drinking lemon water through a straw and rinsing with plain water afterward may help to offset these risks.
The citric acid in lemons can increase acid reflux after you consume them. Research shows that consuming citrus fruits and juices (including lemon) increases the risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you struggle with GERD, you may want to decrease your intake of acidic foods to see if that helps with your symptoms.
Lemon water may have mild health benefits and, in most cases, is safe to drink. However, it’s not particularly effective in weight loss (though drinking more water may help you reduce your intake of high-calorie beverages. If a healthcare provider has recommended limiting your overall water intake, check in before adding lemon water to your diet. Lemons can cause damage to the enamel of your teeth, so see a dental professional if you consume lemon water often.