Does Lemon Juice Really Burn Calories?

By K. Aleisha Fetters for Details

Image via: Deposit Photos

Image via: Deposit Photos

Why do people always add lemons to their water….and is it even worth it?

Well, yes and no. See, like most health myths, the claim that lemons contain a magical weight-loss super-elixir is false, though it does have a seed of truth to it.

First of all, drinking lemon juice will help you de-bloat: It has diuretic properties, meaning it pulls water away from your body’s cells and makes you have to pee more often. It might make you poop more, too. The result: You shed some water and lose a bit of your pooch, explains Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., senior science adviser for Elements Behavioral Health and author of The Hunger Fix.

Meanwhile, Peeke does note that if you drink it with water, you could see a teeny-tiny blip in your metabolic rate. But is it the lemon juice or the water to thank? In one study published in The Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that chugging 17 ounces of water increased men’s and women’s calorie-burning rates for the following hour.

Either way, lemon juice is packed with vitamin C, which, apart being good for your overall health, could benefit your fat-burn potential. Research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows that people with adequate levels of vitamin C burn 30 percent more fat during high-intensity workouts that those with sub-par levels.

Lemon juice is also rich in pectin, a type of fiber that, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may prevent blood-sugar spikes by delaying how long it takes for food to leave your stomach. Both could mean good things for any weight-loss efforts.

But you don’t have to start juicing lemons to up your intake of either nutrient. You can get vitamin C out of just about any piece of produce—and bell peppers, kiwis, broccoli, kale, papayas, and strawberries are all particularly packed. Meanwhile, apples, oranges, and grapefruits are some of the best pectin sources around.

So, yeah, adding lemon juice to your diet is good for weight loss. But is it any better than eating a piece of fruit and washing it down with a glass of water? Probably not.