Lemon water, does it really help you lose weight?

Lemon water, does it really help you lose weight?

The lemon water diet promises to activate our metabolism, modify our pH, cleanse our toxins and greatly improve the speed with which we will lose weight . Why? There’s the quid of the question.

However, the lack of explanation has not stopped one iota from the fact that this new trend has ignited like wildfire, spreading through the Internet at breakneck speed. But what is behind it?

Where does the lemon water diet come from?

Probably the first diet that popularized lemonade (lemon water) as the main agent was known as Master Cleanse , a diet that replaces all solid foods with tea and water with lemon, maple syrup and cayenne . From this diet, which was first seen in 1976, in Stanley Burroughs’ The Master Cleanser .

Already in more modern times, several authors, no dietitian / nutritionist, by the way , have rescued this "diet" with modifications and completely unfounded claims about it. Currently, most of the "benefits" collected in the dark rooms of the Internet assure that "a glass of water with lemon on an empty stomach helps to activate the metabolism", that "alkaline blood is good for eliminating toxins (sic)" or that " the nutrients provided by citrus are beneficial to the body ".

Of these three, chosen broadly as they summarize the all-powerful benefits attributed to lemonade almost completely, only the first speaks to the question we started with: losing weight. The diet, in particular, as we explained, replaces all foods with this drink for at least 10 days in a row , along with tea and salted water, becoming a hyper-restrictive, extreme hypocaloric diet and, ultimately, terribly dangerous.

Sure it works, how can it not work?

If we stop eating and only drink lemonade, no study is needed to understand that in just one week we will lose weight . The question is at what price. The lemon water diet is one of the manual miracle diets. It promises a quick loss, with little effort. In return, what we will get in the long term is a terrible rebound effect that if we do not suffer other side effects.

For example: fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of muscle mass, and an increased risk of heart attack. If it becomes a consistent habit, the lemon water diet can end up causing us significant malnutrition since lemonade practically does not provide us with almost nothing apart from a few mineral salts (and excess sodium and potassium), free sugars, some vitamin C and other antioxidants in ridiculous amounts.

Activator, detox, alkalizing and other invented superpowers

Starting with the Burroughs diet, others have jumped on the bandwagon using and taking advantage of the principles proposed by lemon water. A perfect example is the fashion of drinking lemon water on an empty stomach . This convenient substitute for a complete fast promises to help you lose weight. Its basis is that the lemon, on an empty stomach, "activates" the mitochondria, the organelle in charge of burning fat and producing energy.

There is no evidence for this, or that it improves metabolism or anything like that . This is an unsubstantiated idea, and therefore we can consider it a false claim. Another ability attributed to lemon juice is to detoxify the body. This would occur thanks to the incredible powers of flavonoids, vitamin C or any other component of citrus.

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But unfortunately it doesn’t work either . First of all, because the toxins produced by the human body do not exist. Waste products, however, are excreted, but you don’t need the help of any lemon juice or anything like that. In fact, there is also no evidence that it helps in the elimination (in a significant way) of waste substances. Finally, there are those who claim that taking lemon juice on an empty stomach, or throughout the day (this varies depending on who advocates the diet), helps to alkalize the blood.

First of all, lemon is acidic. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid, the main pH modifiers in lemon juice, are, as their name suggests, acids. How could they change the pH of the blood to be just the opposite, alkaline? There is no indication, much less evidence, that drinking lemon juice increases the pH of your blood. It’s practically impossible, thank heaven. Blood pH is quite delicate and many of the functions of transporting nutrients, or oxygen, depend on slight changes in this pH.

An example is the acidic effect that muscles have when they are in full action, which produces an easier release of oxygen, which helps to maintain muscle activity. So we would counteract the effects of an hour of intense exercise thanks to a glass of lemon juice? It seems unlikely and, of course, nothing indicates that this is so.

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In addition to all of the above, lemon juice has been attributed an excellent satiating power, thanks to the pectins, despite the fact that almost all of this fiber (which is used as a gelling agent) is found in the lemon albumen and not go to the water; that improves digestion (unless you have a peptic ulcer or chronic heartburn, of course); or even that it has anti-inflammatory effects, when this is something totally false and invented for some strange reason.

In short, absolutely nothing, not a single piece of evidence, supports the use of lemon juice as a drink that helps us lose weight due to its intrinsic properties. No, at least, more than drinking water and stopping eating, for example. In addition, the beneficial properties that it supposedly has are exactly the same (vitamin C, antioxidants, etc.) as those that we would obtain with a normal diet. At the moment, the only thing that is worth to lose weight and live healthier is to have good eating habits, move a little and stop drinking lemonades.