Drinking lemon-infused water to boost weight loss is touted by some celebrities as their preferred way to shed pounds, but is it backed by science? The answer is, not really—at least according to Time magazine. While research is limited, there is no evidence currently showing a connection between lemon water and weight loss. One 2008 study did find that mice on a high-fat diet who were fed lemon polyphenols gained less weight than mice on the same diet who didn’t receive the polyphenols. However, this study applies to mice, not to lemon water-sipping humans. In addition, the mice received the polyphenols via large amounts of lemon rind, where polyphenols are concentrated, and it’s highly unlikely you’d get a similar amount from the juice and other parts of lemon that may be in your glass of lemon water. That said, here are a few ways lemon water may indirectly help you lose weight:
Replacing sugary drinks with lemon water could reduce your overall caloric intake, thereby bolstering weight loss.
Dehydration can slow down metabolism, which may lead to weight gain in the long-term. So, if you’re more likely to hydrate with lemon water, you may see some benefits.
Drinking water before meals has been shown to increase weight loss, possibly because it helps you feel full faster. If adding lemon makes that pre-meal glass of water more appealing, it could help you maintain this possibly weight-reducing habit.
The bottom line is that, while lemon water isn’t a proven weight loss aid, if you enjoy drinking it—bottom’s up!