Lemon water might not be the magical drink that some make it out to be.
Even though lemon water is a pretty great alternative to sugary sodas, juices, and energy drinks, many lofty claims about it accelerated weight loss or boosting liver function are overblown at best and inaccurate at worst.
Here are the eight myths about the benefits lemon water that just aren’t true.
MYTH: Lemon water will help speed up your weight loss efforts.
Some suggest water with lemon is the secret to speeding up weight loss, but these claims are often inflated.
Registered dietitian Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. told Food Network that lemon juice won’t actually speed up weight loss.
Lemons contain pectin, a fibre that, according to Livestrong, can help you feel full and satisfied without additional calories. But squeezing a slice of lemon into your water only leaves trace amounts of this fibre – which mostly exists in the rind, not the juice – thus doing little to nothing for your satiety levels.
MYTH: It helps “wake up” your digestive system.
Staying hydrated with water is what benefits your digestive system – adding lemon won’t make a huge difference.
According to the Mayo Clinic, water helps break down foods in your system, allowing your body to more easily absorb their nutrients.
Although the lemon could add some flavour to your drink, plain water could essentially provide the same digestive benefits.
MYTH: It cleanses or “detoxifies” your body.
If you’re thinking of adding lemon water to your diet to cleanse and detox your body, there’s simply no need.
“There is not any scientific evidence that it provides health benefits,” Joy Dubost, RD, food scientist and former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics told Healthline. She said a lemon water detox will only starve your body of certain nutrients.
In most cases, your body cleanses out toxins on its own.
MYTH: Lemon water will help balance your pH levels.
Balancing your pH levels is said to benefit your overall health including kidney and liver function, but drinking lemon water won’t make any drastic difference to your levels and your body is probably already balancing them.
According to Web MD, “Nothing you eat is going to substantially change the pH of your blood. Your body works to keep that level constant.”
MYTH: It will boost your metabolism.
Lemon water doesn’t actually have much of an impact on your metabolism.
According to Jillian Michaels’ website, your body won’t burn calories at a faster rate simply by adding lemon water to your diet.
In fact, popular theories about certain foods or drinks speeding up your metabolism are likely exaggerated because any metabolism-boosting effect is just temporary.
MYTH: Lemon juice will help your skin look younger.
Lemon water contains vitamin C, which can serve as a natural skin brightener and can help to rid skin of antioxidants and damage.
But you’d likely have to drink a lot of lemon water to reap these benefits in any measurable way. Lemons contain the most vitamin C in their peel, which typically isn’t what you drink. You’d actually get more vitamin C from freshly squeezed orange juice.
MYTH: It will help clear your blemishes.
Although it probably won’t hurt your skin if you sip on lemon-infused water, it’s not the miracle cure for acne many would like it to be. Using lemon juice on your skin as a topical treatment can actually be dangerous.
“Lemon water is actually one of my least favourite ingredients for the skin,” said board-certified dermatologist Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD, who previously told INSIDER that you can develop a rash called phytophotodermatitis when lemon water is applied to the skin and it is then exposed to direct sunlight.
Plus, board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse previously explained to INSIDER that, when applied to the skin, lemon water can cause chemical burns and inflammation.
MYTH: It will boost your immune function.
Like many of the other impressive health claims, you’d have to drink an unreasonable amount of lemon water to see any quantifiable health benefits.
According to the National Institute of Health, most adults require between 75 mg and 90 mg of vitamin C per day to keep their immune system going strong. A whole lemon – much more than the few slices you’re adding to a glass of water – only contains 18.6 mg of vitamin C.
In reality, you can get more vitamin C from other foods and drinks that aren’t lemon water.
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