Deliciously Ella, Gisele Bundchen, Gwyneth Paltrow and the rest of Team Wellness guzzle hot water with lemon as if the liquid was bottled at the Fountain of Youth itself. Their reasons for doing so? These range from better digestion to 'flushing the fat' to balancing PH.
The internet believes lemon water aids in weight loss. But truly, honestly, can lemon water help you lose weight?
"Hot water with lemon in and of itself does not cause any actual weight loss," says Alissa Rumsey, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. However, if this drink is replacing a beverage that is higher in calories, like a milky coffee with sugar or fruit juice – and that results in a calorie deficit – then it can help you lose weight.
Drinking water –whether hot or cold, infused with lemon, or plain –also helps keep your metabolism humming. "Staying hydrated is an important component of a healthy diet because it boosts your metabolism," says Rumsey. "For those that don't enjoy plain water, adding some lemon is a great way to boost the flavour without adding calories."
Benefits of lemon water
Okay, so the experts aren't exactly on board. But what about the lab rats? Has research managed to find a rationale for linking hot water and lemon to weight loss? Potentially. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition discovered that polyphenols (plant compounds that also act as antioxidants) found in the lemon peel and juice may help to stimulate the liver to burn fat. However, this research was conducted on rats eating high fat so unless you have a tail and are following the ketogenic diet their findings probably won't translate to your human body.
The verdict: can drinking lemon water help you lose weight?
In the short term, drinking water with lemon can reduce bloating – it acts as a mild, natural diuretic, says Rumsey. However, if you're experiencing bloating in the long-term, it's best to figure out what is causing it and works to stop those habits: Eating too fast, drinking through a straw, drinking carbonated beverages, consuming too much salt, and consuming foods with sugar alcohols are common culprits.
You also don't want to chug water with lemon religiously if you experience heartburn or acid reflux, as the citrus in the lemon will only exacerbate your symptoms, says Rumsey.
Lemon Water for weight loss alternatives
There are some drinks that, when coupled with a healthy lifestyle, are better for your body than your regular brew. Here are three to start sipping.
Call it nature's perfect energy drink: Research shows drinking two to three cups of coffee before a workout can spur you to work out longer and harder than you would if you hit the gym caffeine-free—and that means you torch more calories.
One study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that exercisers could do almost 20 per cent more reps on a leg press machine when they fuelled with java.
But remember: Always drink it black (or add a little no-calorie stevia extract), since loading up on cream and sugar is the fastest way to undo the benefits of your coffee-fueled extended workout.
Plain ice water
Swap out the squeeze of lemon for a handful of ice: Cold drinks prompt your body to expend more energy to maintain its preferred 37-degree Celcius temperature.
This means downing three 682ml servings of ice water in a day could help your body burn up to 100 extra calories, says Mitzi Dulan, RD, nutritionist for the Kansas City Royals and author of The Pinterest Diet.
Not only is green tea gloriously calorie-free, it can also help spur fat burn and weight loss. In one study, participants who drank four cups of green tea daily for 2 months lost an average of about 6 more pounds, compared with those who drank just plain water, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Another 2013 analysis from the European Journal of Nutrition found that regular green tea drinkers weigh less and have smaller waists. (Scientists speculate green tea's combo of catechin antioxidants and caffeine are behind the effect.)
Choose fresh, hot brewed tea with nothing added—store-bought bottled brews tend to have fewer antioxidants and can be loaded with excess sugar.
Stay away from unregulated green tea supplements, too: They're a frequent cause of liver damage and may contain unsafe doses of compounds isolated from tea.
Lemon juice for weight Loss – lasting word
Lemon water won't magically help you shed kgs. In fact, no beverage in and of itself is a silver bullet for slimming down. You need to eat well, be active and strike a healthy balance.
This information originally appeared on Women's Health US.