Ask the Dietitian: Does Lemon Juice Speed Weight Loss?
I've been approached with this question more times that I can remember. If you're looking for a quick-fix weight-loss solution, this isn’t it.
A: If you’re looking to lose weight or speed up your efforts, it’s all about eating right and regular physical activity. Sipping on lemon juice or adding lemon juice to warm water isn’t the magic solution.
There are many myths surrounding lemon juice that just don't have the scientific evidence to back them up. I've heard that lemon juice improves digestion and regulates sugar absorption -- both don't have enough scientific evidence to make strong claims. One of my favorite myths is squeezing lemon juice on chicken in order to melt the fat away-- unfortunately, that's an unfounded claim. Acidic ingredients like lemon juice, however, are used in marinades to help tenderize meat and poultry by breaking down collagen, a fibrous compound that aids in the formation of connective tissue.
A second myth that's often discussed around the water cooler is that when lemon juice is mixed with cold or lukewarm water it'll dissolve fat in your body. Again, this doesn't happen metabolically, though drinking more water (cold or lukewarm) will help you stay hydrated.
Lemon juice does have numerous benefits. It's a great source of the antioxidant vitamin C, which helps fight infections, assists with iron absorption and helps make collagen. Lemons also contain the antioxidant limonene, which has been shown to help fight against certain forms of cancer, though more research is needed to support that.
Lemon juice is also a low-calorie way to flavor drinks and recipes; one fluid ounce has a mere 8 calories.
Bottom Line: If you love lemon juice, go for it! Although it won't melt away the pounds, it's a tasty and healthful way to flavor food and drinks.