Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Lemon water: Nature’s greatest cure?

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Can I just say no? No? Okay, for the sake of a post longer than one sentence and for the sake of argument, I’ll go through this list.

1. Lemon is a natural energizer it hydrates and oxygenates the body so it feels revitalized and refreshed

Run on sentence not withstanding, this statement is untrue. The amount of oxygen in your blood is very closely regulated by your body. It is possible to have low blood oxygen (hypoxemia) but none of the myriad causes can be resolved by the consumption of lemon water.

2. Boosts your immune system

Sadly, there is no such thing as an “immune booster”. While lemon juice does contain vitamin C (which has had mixed results in studies of its effect on colds) one wedge of lemon contains less than 4 mg of vitamin C, nowhere near a supplementary dose.

3. Balances pH

Your body does an excellent job of regulating blood pH and diet will not impact that. If it did, many of us would die from the fluctuations in pH level. For more on this subject, I have an older post on the pH diet.

4. Flush out unwanted materials

Well, your kidneys are going to filter any “unwanted materials” (what are we even talking about here?) and you’ll excrete them in your urine regardless of your consumption of lemon water or not.

5. Decrease wrinkles and blemishes

Sorry, as we age we all get wrinkles. As for blemishes, they’re caused by bacteria on our skin and consumption of lemon water is not going to affect them.

6. Relive tooth pain

This one kind of blows my mind. I know it’s anecdotal, but I have little enamel on my molars due to grinding and while I enjoy a nice glass of lemon (or lime) water now and again but I can’t drink it regularly because it makes my teeth hurt. An acidic beverage is not going to do anything to alleviate tooth pain. If anything, it’s liable to increase it.

7. Relieves respiratory problems

There are a lot of respiratory problems: asthma, COPD, emphysema, allergies, bronchitis, and cystic fibrosis, to name a few. Lemon water will not treat or cure any of them. I can only guess that this is another benefit falsely attributed to lemon juice due to its vitamin C content.

8. Cures throat infections

It is possible that the acidity of the lemon juice could destroy some bacteria if the cause of the throat infection is bacterial. Of course, any benefit will be dependent upon the cause of the infection.

9. Excellent for weight loss

Where to even begin? Consuming fewer calories than you expend is the simplified explanation of weight loss. Adding lemon to your water will not contribute to weight loss, unless you’re replacing caloric beverages like pop or juice with lemon water.

10. Reduces fever

Fever is actually often important for fighting off illness. Unless fever becomes extremely high, it’s best to let it run its course. There’s also no evidence that lemon water can reduce a fever.

11. Blood purifier

Please tell me you’re not injecting lemon water into your veins. How do you think that lemon water would effectively purify your blood? Just because lemons work well in floor cleaners doesn’t mean that they’re any good at cleaning your blood. That’s actually the job of your kidneys and if they’re not up to the task you may need dialysis. A glass of lemon water is not going to suffice.

Lemon water can be a delightful beverage and a fun way to spruce up your water. However, besides hydration, it’s not going to impart any magical health benefits.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

8 thoughts on “Lemon water: Nature’s greatest cure?

  1. I love this! I’ve been seeing the whole lemon water/detox your liver thing all over and it drives me nuts! I especially like your comment about balancing pH!

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  2. Love your candid approach to getting the truth out there. Danielle I am totally with you – drives me crazy.

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  3. Ha!! I always see those pins about “drinking lemon water when you first wake up!!” I just roll my eyes… Thanks for this post!

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  4. Love this! I have always thought that drinking lemon water was a cure for multiple ailments…. now I know it’s just refreshing :) Keep up the great work !

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  5. Pingback: Currently: February 2014 - Green is the New Black

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