Lemon water, or simply water mixed with lemon juice, has been in and out of diet industry trends for decades. Chances are you’ve probably heard someone raving about their daily lemon water routine at least once before! Some claim it can prevent viral illness, heart disease, and cancer. Others claim it is a miracle for weight loss. But what’s the actual deal with this trend? Does it really have amazing health benefits? Before we dive in, allow me to introduce myself:
My name is Tony Stephan, and I’m a dietitian business coach. I help RDs make more IMPACT and more INCOME through nutrition coaching. However, before becoming a dietitian business coach, I was an RD nutrition coach. I served thousands of nutrition coaching clients over a time span of 12 years. My successful nutrition coaching business is what led me to where I am today. Now let’s review the claims about this nutrition trend and determine if it actually lives up to the hype!
Lemon Water and Immune Health
Like other citrus fruits, lemons are a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient that supports healthy immune function. According to the USDA nutrient database, one lemon provides approximately 30 mg* vitamin C. One cup of lemon water each morning would provide a little less than that, so it definitely won’t meet all of your needs. However, regularly consuming a sugar-free vitamin C-rich beverage such as this would support normal immune function.
*For reference, the vitamin C RDA (or recommended daily allowance) for healthy non-smoking adults is 60 mg/day.
Lemon Water and Chronic Disease Prevention
As mentioned, lemons are a good source of vitamin C. They are also a source of healthful plant compounds called flavonoids. Vitamin C and flavonoids have antioxidant properties which help protect our cells from damage. Research does suggest increased antioxidant intake is associated with a decreased risk for various chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. While lemon water by itself will not prevent chronic disease, incorporating it into your healthy lifestyle would likely contribute to your overall antioxidant load which does have its benefits.
Lemon Water and Weight Loss
There is no conclusive evidence to support the claim that lemon water directly aids weight loss. However, if you are replacing a higher calorie sugar-sweetened beverage (such as a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha or a cup of orange juice) with lemon water, this can aid weight loss efforts by contributing to an overall calorie deficit.
Another way drinking more lemon water can indirectly support weight loss is by helping you stay well hydrated! In a normal healthy adult who is well hydrated, the natural detox systems will efficiently filter and remove toxins from the body. This can help prevent constipation and bloating! So drinking lemon water may be especially helpful if you don’t like the taste of plain water and need a hydrating alternative.
Remember, there is NO single ingredient or food you can consume that will result in rapid weight loss. It’s about finding what works for you!
Will It Damage My Teeth?
Lemons are naturally acidic fruits. The acidity when lemon juice has been diluted in water might erode the enamel of your teeth, therefore some caution should be advised. It likely would not be as damaging as eating lemon wedges or drinking other citrus fruit juices. So you might try using a straw!
The Bottom Line
Sorry “health gurus” — lemon water is NOT some magical weight loss aid or cure-all. If you enjoy the flavor, drinking lemon water daily can help you stay well hydrated throughout the day without reaching for sugar-sweetened beverages! This small habit change may indirectly support your weight loss goals, heart health, immune health, and normal bowel habits simply by helping you consume more water in general!
If you are a dietitian looking to start your own nutrition coaching side hustle or build a thriving 6-figure business, you’ve come to the right place. I’m proud to be a part of the movement of dietitian entrepreneurs who are making more IMPACT and more INCOME! In the Dietitian Nutrition Coaching Certification, we teach our students how to set their dietitian nutrition coaching business up for success.