A tall glass of ice water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice is a refreshing treat and a nice change from plain old water. It's also low in calories, so if you drink it in place of higher-calorie beverages, it may help you slim down. Drinking a big glass of water with lemon before meals might also help you eat less at that meal, another way to shave calories from your diet to aid weight loss.
Low in Calories
Ice water with lemon is virtually calorie-free. Water, of course, contains no calories, and the juice of one lemon wedge provides only 1 calorie. Even if you mixed your water with 1/4 cup of lemon juice, you'd still only get 13 calories. Compare that to a glass of orange juice, which has 112 calories, or a 12-ounce can of cola, which has 152 calories. Replacing these beverages with a cup of ice water with lemon can help you shave hundreds of calories off your daily intake to help you lose weight.
Fills You Up
When you drink a glass or two of lemon water, you might notice that it makes you feel a bit full. Even though water isn't food, it can create a feeling of fullness that might help you to eat less at a meal, if you drink the water right before the meal, according to study findings presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Researchers found that over the course of 12 weeks, the 24 dieters who drank 2 cups of water before each meal of the day lost 15.5 pounds, while the group of 24 dieters that did not drink water before meals only lost 11 pounds.
Helps Curb Cravings
If you find yourself craving sweet or salty foods that are high in calories, immediately drinking a glass of tangy, ice cold water with lemon could help satisfy you, or at least distract you, so that you can get on with your day without bingeing on high-calorie foods. Sipping on lemon water throughout the day will help you stay hydrated, which could prevent hunger and cravings all together. Thirst is sometimes mistaken for hunger, which can lead you to reach for a snack when what you really need is water.
The Cold Water Myth
The temperature of your water with lemon won't make much of a difference for weight loss, contrary to what you may have heard about ice water raising your metabolism. Your body does expend energy to maintain a constant body temperature, but according to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences website, you'll only burn about 8 calories drinking a glass of ice water versus a glass of room temperature water.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Lemon Juice, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Orange Juice, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Carbonated Beverage, Cola
- American Chemical Society: Clinical Trial Confirms Effectiveness of Simple Appetite Control Method
- University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences: Does Drinking Cold Water Burn More Calories Than Warm Water?
- The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition; Anita Bean