Lemon Water To Lose Weight: The 14-Day Lemon Water Challenge

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Although drinking plain water has tons of health and weight loss benefits, there are also diets that suggest that drinking lemon water for weight loss is especially beneficial.

But is it a myth or a fact that drinking lemon water to lose weight is better than regular water? Does lemon water help you lose weight?

In this article, we will discuss drinking lemon water for weight loss and present a 14-day lemon water weight loss challenge.

Grab your water bottle and be prepared to pucker up!

We will cover: 

  • Can Drinking Water Increase Weight Loss?
  • Does Drinking Lemon Water To Lose Weight Work?
  • How to Do a 14-Day Lemon Water Challenge

Let’s get started!

A person drinking a glass of lemon water to lose weight.

Can Drinking Water Increase Weight Loss?

Drinking regular water has been shown to support weight loss

For example, one study looked at the impact of drinking 500 milliliters of water, or just under two 8-ounce cups, of water three times a day (an hour before breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for eight weeks in 50 overweight girls. This water intake was over and above the participants’ usual daily water intake.

There was a statistically significant decrease in body weight, body mass index, and body composition over the eight weeks. Subjects lost an average of about 1.4 kg, 0.6 kg/m2 on their BMI, and 3 mm in skinfold thicknesses (indicative of body fat percentage). 

The researchers attributed most of the weight loss and favorable body composition changes to water-induced thermogenesis or an increase in metabolic rate simply due to being better hydrated.

Other research has similarly found that drinking water can indeed increase metabolic rate through water-induced thermogenesis. The body has to heat up the water, which burns calories.

A pitcher of lemon water and lemons.

In the study, drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%. This metabolic boost began within 10 minutes after drinking the water and reached a maximum after 30-40 minutes, with a total thermogenic response of about 100 kJ (about 24 calories).

Interestingly, the body fuel burned to supply these calories differed between sexes, with men burning fat and women burning carbohydrates.

The researchers concluded that drinking 2 liters of water per day would burn 400 kJ per day or about 100 extra calories. Though this does not seem like much, over a year, this would equate to a little over 10 pounds of fat.

Moreover, since most of the increase in caloric expenditure is due to heating the water, drinking lemon water with lots of ice may boost your metabolic rate even more.

In addition to the metabolic boost of drinking water, many people find that drinking water helps them feel fuller, which can lead to eating fewer calories. 

For example, one study found that people who drank 16.9 ounces (just over two cups) of water before breakfast ended up consuming about 13% fewer calories during breakfast than subjects who did not drink water.

A pitcher and glasses of lemon water.

Does Drinking Lemon Water To Lose Weight Work?

So, does drinking lemon water increase weight loss compared to regular water? Essentially, is it better to drink plain water or lemon water to lose weight? 

The majority of the potential weight loss benefits from drinking lemon water are attributable to the benefits of drinking water on metabolic rate previously discussed.

With that said, many people find that drinking lemon water is more palatable and appealing, encouraging them to drink more water and thus have greater weight loss results. Lemon water tastes more “exciting,” so it can be easier to drink enough water.

There is also some evidence to suggest that lemons may further suppress body fat accumulation and may increase metabolic rate. In this way, drinking lemon water to lose weight may actually be more effective than drinking plain water.

Lemon also provides vitamin C, an important antioxidant that supports the immune system in decreasing oxidative damage from free radicals.

With that said, there can be some side effects from drinking too much lemon water. Lemons are acidic because they contain citric acid.

This acid has been shown to erode tooth enamel, which can potentially increase the risk of cavities over time. Additionally, citric acid can exacerbate heartburn or symptoms of GERD, so a 14-day lemon water challenge may not be appropriate for those with GERD.

Three glasses of lemon water and lemons and lines on the table.

How to Do a 14-Day Lemon Water Challenge

There are different versions of the 14-day lemon water challenge, and there’s no one “right” way to do it. Some people dive right in and aim to drink three 8-ounce glasses of water a day, one about 30 minutes before each meal. Others take a progressive approach to drinking more and more lemon water over the 14-day lemon water challenge.

Most of the common 14-day lemon water challenges that circulate social media are quite different from the one that we have created below in that they taper off the amount of water you drink significantly towards the end of the challenge and they encourage adding honey.

You are welcome to add a teaspoon of honey into your lemon water in this challenge as well, but our goal is to not only ramp up the amount of lemon water that you are drinking but also to establish a habit of drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. 

Over the course of this challenge, you will increase the number of glasses of lemon water that you are drinking through the first half of the challenge and then taper off how much lemon juice you are adding to help your taste buds get accustomed to drinking plain water. You will be establishing a habit of drinking water at regular intervals.

Note that you can keep drinking lemon water that is just as concentrated, but for those worried about tooth enamel or reflux, follow the tapering protocol we’ve created.

A person squeezing a lemon into a glass.

Here is a sample 14-day lemon water to lose weight and gain optimal hydration challenge:

Day 1

Drink 8 ounces (240 mL) of lemon water as soon as you wake up. Squeeze one full lemon into the water.

Day 2

Drink 8 ounces (240 mL) of lemon water as soon as you wake up and another 8 ounces right before breakfast. Squeeze one full lemon into each cup of water.

Day 3

Drink three 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for one before each meal. Use two lemons split between the three glasses.

Day 4

Drink four 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for one as soon as you wake up and one before each meal. Use three lemons between the four glasses.

A person holding a bottle of lemon water.

Day 5

Drink five 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for one before each meal and two when you wake up. Use three lemons split between the five glasses.

Day 6

Drink six 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for one before each meal, and two when you wake up, and one before bed. Use three lemons split between the glasses.

Day 7

Drink seven 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for two before each meal and one when you wake up. Use the juice of four lemons.

Day 8

Drink eight 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for two before each meal, one when you wake up and one before bed. Use four lemons split between the eight glasses.

A bottle of lemon water.

Day 9

Drink eight 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for two before each meal, one when you wake up and one before bed. Use five lemons split between the eight glasses.

Day 10

Drink nine 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for three before each meal. Use four lemons split between the eight glasses.

Day 11

Drink nine 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for two before each meal, one when you wake up and one before bed. Use three lemons split between the eight glasses.

Day 12

Drink eight 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for two before each meal, one when you wake up and one before bed. Use two lemons split between the eight glasses.

A lemon slice falling into water.

Day 13

Drink eight 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of lemon water throughout the day, aiming for two before each meal, one when you wake up and one before bed. Use one lemon split between the eight glasses.

Day 14

Drink eight 8-ounce (240 mL) glasses of water throughout the day, aiming for two before each meal, one when you wake up and one before bed. Feel free not to use lemons if you don’t want to.

It’s important to keep in mind that although you might see lemon water challenges promoting major “detox“ benefits and massive weight loss results, your kidneys, liver, digestive system, and skin are already detoxing your body. 

Drinking lemon water in a 14-day lemon water challenge will certainly be beneficial for your overall health, but it’s not a “magic cure“ that will transform your body in two weeks.

The most sensible and sustainable approach to healthy weight loss is to combine a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet with physical activity and yes, lots of water!

Looking to spruce up your daily nutrition? Take a look at our nutritional guides to see which plan works best for you.

A glass of water with a lemon slice on the brim.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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