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Ways Drinking Lemon Water Helps You Lose Weight, Says Science

Halve a lemon and get to squeezing.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Lemon water has been a popular beverage for years. But if you haven't tried it yet, should you? Well, if you're looking to lose weight, it might be worth it.

To be clear, there aren't a lot of scientific studies around lemon water and its health benefits. However, there is a lot of research around the health benefits of drinking plain ole water, and a little lemon just spruces up the drink, right? Think about it this way: If lemon water gets you to drink more water, then the more health benefits you reap.

For example, one 2011 study split a group of 48 adults into two groups: a low-calorie diet with 0.5 liters of water prior to each meal and a low-calorie diet with no water before meals. After 12 weeks, those who had water before each meal of the day lost 44% more weight than those who didn't drink water.

Below, we give four possible explanations (based on science!) as to why lemon water could assist you in your weight loss efforts. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss Simple Ways to Start Losing Weight Immediately, According to Science.

1

It's the perfect swap for lemonade.

lemonade
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An 8-ounce glass of Simply Lemonade contains 28 grams of sugar, 27 grams of which are added sugars. For context, the American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar daily, while men should cap their consumption at 36 grams (9 teaspoons). With just one cup of this lemonade, you already wipe out the suggested allowance for good heart health.

But, by switching to just lemon water, you skip the cane sugar, and therefore the calories, and get to enjoy the natural tartness of the lemon. Squeeze half of a lemon into sparkling water to jazz up the beverage.

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2

It can help you increase your overall water intake.

lemon water
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Hydration is key for overall, general health. In a previous article about dehydration, Sakiko Minagawa, MS, RDN, LD told us that general recommended water intake for women is around nine, 8-ounce cups a day whereas for men it's 12.5 cups. However, those recommendations fluctuate as activity levels and outside temperatures increase. For example, someone who is running a few miles in 80-degree weather will need to drink more water.

With that being said, some research suggests that hydration alone can aid in weight loss. For example, one 2016 review shows that increasing your water intake may also increase the breakdown of fats and enhance fat loss. Plus, when you don't drink enough water, your body holds onto every last bit of water it can—which causes "water weight." Drinking water can help to combat this bloat-inducing water retention.

3

Lemon water may boost metabolism.

Lemon water
Daiga Ellaby/Unsplash

Something as simple as lemon water could be the trick to revving up your metabolism and as a result, help you lose weight a bit easier. Again, research has indicated that drinking water alone can help to increase metabolism by inducing thermogenesis: a metabolic process in which calories are burned to produce heat. The lemon just adds a little kick of flavor!

One 2013 study had 50 overweight girls drink 500 milliliters of water, or almost two 8-ounce cups, of water three times a day for eight weeks. They drank the water a half an hour before breakfast, lunch and, dinner, which exceeded their usual water intake. The results were statistically significant, as all participants experienced a considerable drop in body weight, body mass index, and body composition.

4

Lemon water may make you feel full.

While this may not seem like a big deal, drinking water can dull your appetite a bit. This isn't to say you should replace food with water by any means, however, drinking a glass or two of water before chowing down could help you eat less. And if lemon water is more appealing to your taste buds than regular water, by all means, halve a lemon and get to squeezing.

One 2008 study revealed that those who drank 16.9 ounces (just over two cups) of water before breakfast consumed 13% fewer calories during that meal than those who didn't drink water.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of <Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more