We all know how important it is to stay hydrated and drinking enough water has been hailed as the solution to many health issues — from losing weight to clearing skin breakouts. But lemon water? For a long time, adding citrus fruit to your daily H20 has been dubbed as the holy grail of detox drinks, but is it just a fad?
Famous faces such as actress Gwyneth Paltrow and model Gisele Bundchen all claim that drinking lemon water upon waking is the gold standard of bodily cleanses. Plus, there are hundreds of ‘What I Eat In A Day’ influencers on social media, all of whom seem to kick off their days with a squeeze of lemon in their water.
As a personal trainer, I’ve always been an advocate of hydrating before you caffeinate, knocking back at least 600ml of room temperature or cold water upon waking. In the past I have gone months drinking apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning (spoiler alert: it left me with a skin condition), green juices, chia seed water (gross), and even Epsom salt water (even more gross).
I’ve dabbled in lemon water but for some reason, I never really got on board with it. Until now. When I was asked to drink lemon water every day for two weeks, I figured this would be a good time to try it and see what all the fuss was about. So off I popped to the supermarket to stock up on lemons and got drinking. Read on to find out what happened.
What are the benefits of drinking lemon water?
Lemon water — as in water with a lemon squeezed into it — supposedly has many health benefits. From helping support weight loss to alkalising the body, it’s been praised endlessly. Plus, it is said to cleanse and detox the body.
But what does the science say? If we’re looking at the nutritional status of lemons, then vitamin C is the real stand-out nutrient in this citrus fruit. Vitamin C is needed for a healthy immune system, among other things, so is not to be overlooked. My research tells me that one lemon squeezed provides around 20% of our daily recommended vitamin C intake, plus, being part of the citrus family, alongside fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and limes means lemons are rich in flavonoids, which are compounds that can help to fight disease.
One study found that the flavonoids in citrus fruits, along with antioxidants, can help with heart health as well as fat metabolism. So perhaps lemon water is a good addition to a weight loss plan.
But, daily lemon water isn’t without its critics. After all, lemon is acidic, and drinking lemon water every day has been said to damage tooth enamel over time.
I drank lemon water every day for two weeks — here's what happened
Every morning, I squeezed half a lemon into a pint glass of water and sipped it as I read through my emails. Here’s what happened:
I had the urge to ‘go’
The quicker I drank my morning lemon water, the more likely I was to experience the ‘urge’. You know, that feeling where things start moving down there and you have to cautiously make your way to the bathroom. Whilst I could claim that it was the lemon water that caused this feeling, I’ll admit that a pint of water alone, drunk fast, tends to spur things on.
My skin stayed the same
I expected to have glowing skin after my two weeks were up; instead, I looked the same. I feel as though a pint of lemon water really won’t detox the skin unless you clean up your diet at the same time. Me? I maintained the same diet; a balance of 80% whole foods and 20% chocolate.
Lemon water tastes pretty nice
Some people aren’t a fan of the taste of lemon water, however, I found it quite refreshing — it was like a gentle palate cleanser first thing in the morning. Not keen? You could try adding a squeeze of orange too; after all, you’ll likely reap more of the citrus fruit benefits and your morning drink will have a hint of sweetness too rather than just sour lemon.
I felt invigorated
Who needs a coffee when you can neck lemon water instead? Rather than that instant hit of caffeinated energy, I experienced a delightfully stable and calm wake-up when I drank my daily lemon water. It was like energy was slowly infiltrating my body and setting me up for the day. But don’t get me wrong, I did soon follow up my lemon water with a strong cappuccino.
I drank lemon water every day for two weeks — here’s my verdict
This is one health trend with a celebrity following, but I’m glad the two weeks are over. I’m the first to admit that 14 days isn’t long enough to notice any real change in the body, so I’d probably need to keep up my lemon water routine for several months, but in terms of ‘detox’, I didn’t feel or notice any changes in my body.
Yes, I did quite like the taste of lemon water, and while it did give me (and my bowels) a gentle wake-up, I think plain water does the trick. Plus, lemon water is an expensive habit, so for now, I’ll stick to a slice of lemon in my weekend tequila thanks!