What are the Dangers of the Lemon Water Diet?

The lemon water diet works on the principles of detox. A mixture of water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup are concocted to drink several times a day. Lemon Water Diet.com suggests that you take 60 oz. of this drink per day and only supplement this with water between doses. Some form of laxatives can be used as well. Normally this diet is meant for 10 to 14 days, and proponents claims that results are usually seen within a week. Although this claim sounds good, consult with your doctor about this diet as there are dangers involved.

A glass of lemon water. (Image: VankaD/iStock/Getty Images)


This diet is commonly used with laxatives, and Harvard Medical School says laxatives can cause dehydration. Although this diet supplements with a lot of water, the loose stools and possible diarrhea that could result have the potential to deplete any incoming source. The University of Maryland Medical Center describes dehydration as a life-threatening problem if not treated in a timely manner.

Nausea & Vomiting

According to the Mayo Clinic, detox diets such as the lemon water diet can cause nausea. This can lead to vomiting, which would further dehydration. Vomiting also would rid the body of any nutrition that might have been garnered from this diet that already lacks nutritional value. If nausea or vomiting is experienced during this diet, quit the diet and consult a physician.

Abdominal Discomfort

Changing your food habits might affect your bowels, and the American Heart Association claims that diets like the lemon water diet might lead to abdominal discomfort or gas. This flatulence is not only embarrassing, it could be very painful. If you experience abdominal discomfort while trying this diet, speak with a care provider.

Weight Gain

Most detox diets, such as the lemon water diet, wreak havoc on your metabolism. This is why the Harvard Medical School and the American Heart Association both agree that after normal food intake is attempted, the dieter will gain weight. This usually results in more weight than what the dieter had to begin with.

Metabolic Acidosis

A dangerous side effect of detox diets is metabolic acidosis. According to the Harvard Medical School, if someone consistently is on this diet, he can disrupt his acid-base balance. This creates a hazardous rise of acidity in the blood—and it can lead to coma or death.

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