Don't Believe The Hype About Lemon Water

Lemon water tastes refreshing, but it doesn't have the magical wellness powers some people claim.

Lemon water has long been associated with a health-conscious lifestyle, whether it's part of a diet plan like the Master Cleanse (lemon water with cayenne and maple syrup) or an offering in the lobby of a fancy hotel. Although lemon water's connection with wellness has persisted for years, The Guardian recently took a closer look at the phenomenon to determine whether the combination has any actual dietary benefits—and why it continues to be a widely embraced lifestyle symbol.

Is lemon water actually good for you?

With all the celebrities touting lemon water's benefits, from Gisele Bündchen to Beyoncé (the latter has even invested in a lemon water brand), it's only natural to wonder if these A-listers know something we don't. However, there's no strong scientific evidence that lemon water has any unique properties, other than the fact that it's refreshing and... tastes nice?

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Sure, The Guardian notes that lemons have a decent amount of vitamin C in them, but one whole lemon yields approximately 18.6 milligrams of the vitamin, a far cry from the 90-milligram daily recommendation (that's for men; 75 mg for women) per day. You'd have to consume nearly five whole lemons every day to get the ideal amount of a single nutrient.

Something is better than nothing, at least, and coupled with a high-fiber diet with lean proteins, whole grains, and a lot of fruits and vegetables, the lemon water certainly can't hurt, aside from maybe eroding your tooth enamel if you drink it too often.

Dr. Debbie Fetter, an assistant professor in the nutrition department the University of California, Davis, told The Guardian that the beverage "is not going to do any harm."

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"Is it a miracle beverage?" Fetter continued. "Probably not."

Lemon water serves as a status symbol

The Guardian notes that lemon water's popularity could have a lot to do with its continued connection to diet culture. After all, it's nearly always associated with slim, conventionally attractive celebrities who proactively maintain a certain narrow image of beauty for their personal branding and, by extension, their business interests.

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In 2018, Insider dug into the myths surrounding lemon water's purported health benefits and found that it doesn't help you lose weight any faster, it doesn't "wake up" your digestive system, it doesn't detox your body, it doesn't make your skin look younger, and it doesn't boost your immune system, at least not directly.

If you love the taste of lemon water, drink as much as your heart desires. But if you're doing it because Jennifer Aniston does it every morning, well, just know that this particular habit isn't some cheat code to improving your health and wellness. (Not from a scientific standpoint, anyway.)

For what it's worth, I think lemon water tastes perfectly wonderful and will happily drink it if I'm at an expensive hotel, because it's there. But believing in any one food or beverage's capabilities as a miracle cure-all is only going to lead to disappointment. Don't let TikTok tell you otherwise.

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