To lose weight, you need to consistently burn more calories than you consume each day. While this caloric deficit is the major factor of weight loss, certain foods help to increase your body's ability to burn fat and calories. High in fiber, low in calories and rich in antioxidants, limes help you to lose weight, burn fat and limit damage due to conditions that may arise from being overweight.
Calories and Fiber
A lime 2 inches in diameter typically contains 1.9 grams of fiber. As this represents approximately 6 percent of your daily fiber needs, limes are an ideal source of dietary fiber. By helping you to feel full for longer periods and promoting regular digestive functioning, limes' fiber content makes them one option for a weight-loss diet. Fiber also contributes to blood sugar regulation, potentially reducing or preventing diabetes-related weight gain.
A 2-inch lime typically contains 19.5 milligrams of vitamin C -- 26 percent of a woman's and 21.8 percent of a man's recommended daily intake. As vitamin C is essential to building, maintaining and repairing your skin, bones and tissues, limes help you to maintain the physical condition necessary for effective exercise. In the June 2005 issue of the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition," nutritionist Dr. Carol Johnston of Arizona State University noted that vitamin C also helps to burn fat. During a moderate exercise routine, people with adequate amounts of vitamin C burn approximately 30 percent more fat than those with low vitamin C levels, Johnston stated.
Like other citrus fruits, limes owe their sour flavor to high citric acid concentrations. As an antioxidant, citric acid helps to prevent damage that compounds called free radicals can afflict on healthy cells. Antioxidant properties contribute to prevention of heart disease and cancer, both of which are related to being overweight. In addition to these disease-prevention roles, citric acid is an essential part of the Krebs cycle. Otherwise known as the citric acid cycle, this collection of reactions breaks down fats, protein and carbohydrates, thus helping you to lose weight and build muscle.
Despite limes' weight-loss benefits, your daily caloric use and energy expenditure largely determine your ability to lose weight. With just 20 calories in a 2-inch lime, limes contribute very little to your daily caloric intake. Due to their high-fiber content, limes are a very filling low-calorie food. As such, even an excessively high number of limes per day can help you to reap their weight-loss benefits with little impact on your daily caloric intake. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet.
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Limes, Raw
- Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies: Dietary Reference Intakes
- Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies: Dietary Reference Intakes -- Macronutrients
- Linus Pauling Institute: Fiber
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss -- From Vitamin C to the Glycemic Response
- UK Food Guide: E330 Citric Acid
- "ScienceDaily": Citric Acid