Feel free to drink a mix of water, lemon and ginger if you enjoy it, but don't expect simply adding this beverage to your diet to result in weight loss. Including it as part of a balanced, reduced-calorie diet may slightly boost your weight loss, however, especially if you increase the amount of time you spend being active as well.
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Water as Part of a Diet
One simple way to consume fewer calories when trying to lose weight is to switch to drinking water instead of beverages that contain calories. This can really add up over the course of the day. For example, a 12-ounce glass of orange juice has about 168 calories, and the same amount of regular cola has about 136 calories. By switching to water instead of a daily soda, you'd save enough calories to lose a little over a pound in one month. Drinking a large glass of water before each meal may also be helpful for weight loss, helping you eat fewer calories during the meal, according to a study published in Obesity in February 2011.
Potential Lemon Diet Benefits
The evidence for the benefits of lemon during weight loss is very preliminary. Substances found in lemon called polyphenols may help to limit weight gain and the development of high cholesterol, according to an animal study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition in November 2008. More research is necessary to verify that lemon polyphenols have the same effect in people. Even if it turns out that lemons don't help with weight loss, they can be useful for adding flavor to water without greatly increasing its calories.
You can also add lemon to plain sparkling water instead of regular water if you prefer a fizzy beverage. This may make it easier for people to make the switch from drinking high-calorie sodas to drinking water.
Ginger and Weight Loss
While the evidence is preliminary, ginger may have some weight-loss benefits. An animal study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences in 2013 found that rats fed ginger powder lost weight. A human study published in the European Journal of Nutrition in 2015 showed women who took ginger supplements for 12 weeks experienced small decreases in body mass index. More long-term research is necessary to know if ginger has potential for being a weight-loss aid in people.
Just be careful with how much ginger you consume each day. Amounts found in food are likely safe, but high amounts in supplements can cause safety concerns for people with bleeding disorders or heart conditions and those taking certain medications. Check with your doctor to determine how much is safe for you to consume before greatly increasing your intake.
Don't expect drinking water with lemon and ginger to make a large difference in your weight-loss results. The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. A calorie deficit of 3,500 calories is necessary for each pound of body weight you want to lose. This means you'll need to cut 500 calories per day if you are trying to lose 1 pound per week. Cutting more calories will help you lose weight more quickly, but don't go below 1,200 calories per day if you're a woman or 1,800 calories per day if you're a man. Eating fewer calories than this could adversely affect your metabolism and interfere with weight loss.
Other Helpful Dietary Changes
While most people understand that cutting calories is the way to lose weight, they don't necessarily know the best way to go about doing so. You'll get the most benefits from removing high-calorie foods that don't contain a lot of nutrients, such as refined grains, processed snack foods, sweets, and sweetened beverages. Fill your diet with fruits and vegetables, which don't contain many calories per gram, so they allow you to fill up without eating a lot of calories. Be sure to eat plenty of lean, protein-rich foods as well because protein is particularly filling.
Importance of Exercise
The more lean tissue -- or muscle -- you have, the more calories are burned to maintain your body. You can build more muscle through exercise, particularly strength training. If you diet to lose weight without exercising at the same time, however, approximately 25 percent of any weight you lose will come from muscle instead of fat. The American Council on Exercise notes that the best way to limit muscle loss during weight loss is to do a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training exercises each week. Aim for at least half an hour of aerobic exercise each day as well as at least two strength-training sessions per week.
- MedlinePlus: Ginger
- European Journal of Nutrition: Changes of Serum Adipocytokines and Body Weight Following Zingiber Officinale Supplementation in Obese Women: A RCT
- European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences: Comparative Evaluation of the Efficacy of Ginger and Orlistat on Obesity Management, Pancreatic Lipase and Liver Peroxisomal Catalase Enzyme in Male Albino Rats
- Obesity: Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-Aged and Older Adults
- Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition: Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-Induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in β-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Rethink Your Drink
- American College of Sports Medicine: Metabolism Is Modifiable With the Right Lifestyle Changes
- American Council on Exercise: What Are the Guidelines for Percentage of Body Fat Loss?
- University of Illinois Extension: Dieting That Works
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Finding a Balance