The carbs in lemon juice are negligible, so drinking water with a generous squeeze of this juice is acceptable for people on a low-carb eating plan, such as the keto diet. In fact, because lemons are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients, the beverage is healthful for anyone.
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Nutrition in Lemon Juice
According to the USDA, a large lemon contains 7.83 grams of carbohydrates, while a small one contains 5.41 grams, and one slice of the fruit contains a mere 0.65 grams. Since 1 tablespoon of lemon juice has only 1.4 grams of carbohydrates and 4.35 calories, lemon water is a good beverage for anyone on a low-carb or low-calorie diet.
A small lemon contains 30.7 milligrams of vitamin C, 80 milligrams of potassium, 15.1 milligrams of calcium and 4.6 milligrams of magnesium. The fruit has no cholesterol, and virtually no sodium, which is good because most Americans already consume too much sodium.
Lemon juice is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which help reduce blood pressure, as well as mitigate stress and fever, according to Food&Nutrition. The juice is also been used to fight colds and flu.
Regardless of whether or not one is counting carbs, lemon water is an excellent beverage to include in the diet. This is especially true when compared to unhealthy beverages, such as sodas and other sugary drinks.
Read more: Benefits of Lemon Water
Lemon Juice and Keto Diet
Cleveland Health defines the keto diet as a high-fat, low-carb eating plan, where meals are 70 to 80 percent fat, 20 percent protein and only 5 percent carbohydrates. The concept that underlies this diet is ketosis, a phenomenon whereby the body starts burning fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates, which are the energy source in a typical diet. Once a person starts following this diet, ketosis occurs within approximately 72 hours.
Arizona State University states that lemon juice as a keto-friendly dietary element, so drinking lemon water doesn't interfere with ketosis. Conversely, most other fruits, including pineapples, are excluded from the keto diet, because of their high carbohydrate contents. The major exception is berries, so small portions of those are allowed, says Harvard Health Publishing.
Although the keto diet might help people with type 2 diabetes, or those who have obesity, it's not for everyone. It carries risks, including low blood pressure, constipation, nutritional deficiencies, kidney stones and an increased risk of heart disease, warns University of Chicago Medicine. Check with your doctor before starting on the keto diet.
Read more: 6 Reasons the Keto Diet Is NOT for You
Lemon Juice and Intermittent Fasting
In recent years, some studies have investigated the benefits of intermittent fasting. This practice takes various forms, but it generally involves limiting food intake to certain hours each day, or certain days each week, states the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. During fasting hours, you may only consume beverages with 0 calories, such as water and tea. The calories added to a glass of water by a squeeze of lemon juice are few enough that it would likely be an acceptable beverage during these fasting periods.
Is intermittent fasting beneficial? A July, 2018, review published in Cureus examined studies to date, to determine the value of the practice. The results showed that it resulted in weight loss, but further research is needed to evaluate the long-term effects, and to determine if the weight benefit is maintained over time.
It's possible that the advantages of intermittent fasting extend beyond weight management. Cedars Sinai reports that some data indicates that the fasting has a longevity effect as well.
- FoodData Central: "Lemon, Raw"
- Food&Nutrition: "Lemon Juice Three Ways"
- Arizona State University: "Keto Friendly Food"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Should You Try the Keto Diet?"
- Cleveland Health: "What Is the Keto Diet (And Should You Try It)?"
- University of Chicago Medicine: "Ketogenic Diet: What Are the Risks?"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "What Is Intermittent Fasting?"
- Cureus: "Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle"
- Cedars Sinai: "Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy?"