- Adding lemon to your coffee may aid weight loss according to TikTokers.
- But weight loss experts disagree and say this super-acidic drink could cause GI issues for some.
- That said, coffee and lemon on their own come with some notable health benefits.
If you’ve been scrolling through TikTok looking for health hacks, it’s likely you’ve come across some people who claim that drinking coffee with lemon has helped them lose significant amounts of weight, even without making other major changes to their diet or lifestyle.
But like any diet hack that claims an easy fix to a complex problem, this TikTok trend is false.
Here’s what you need to know about the potential benefits and risks of drinking coffee with lemon –– and what the professionals have to say about whether you should try it.
Will drinking coffee with lemon aid weight loss?
“Coffee and lemons individually have been shown to have some potential health benefits,” says Dr. Jorge Moreno, an internist at Yale Medicine who is board certified in obesity medicine and an associate clinical professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine.
But mixing the two does not magically boost the benefits of each substance.
“Mixing coffee and lemon juice have not shown additional benefit, nor demonstrated weight loss properties,” says Courtney Cary, a senior registered dietitian at Baylor College of Medicine.
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Basically, this is an overhyped online myth, giving people false hope.
That said, Moreno notes that if you’re trying to lose weight by cutting out sugary beverages and looking for substitutes, both black coffee and lemon water are great low-calorie options to replace your soda.
Benefits of coffee
As far as weight loss goes, there is some evidence to support coffee and fat loss. A 2020 study of overweight participants found that drinking four cups of coffee a day resulted in a 3.7% loss of fat mass. This is due to the fact that coffee may boost your metabolism.
Of course, short-term benefits of coffee include increased mental alertness and improvement in cognitive performance due to the caffeine content, Moreno says. But there are lesser-known potential long-term benefits, too.
The caffeine and chlorogenic acid in coffee are linked to a decreased risk of developing type two diabetes, says Moreno. A 2021 review found that habitual coffee drinking can benefit the liver, which in turn reduces type two diabetes risk.
Furthermore, coffee is even linked to decreased mortality risk. A 2019 review of studies containing almost four million participants found a connection between drinking two to four cups of coffee a day and reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer.
Benefits of lemons
There is not conclusive evidence that says consuming lemons results in weight loss, says Moreno. But again, if you’re switching sugary beverages for lemon water, this is a healthier alternative that can lead to lower calorie intake, and in turn, potential weight loss.
While lemons alone aren’t going to make you lose weight, they do have nutritional value. Lemons are a good source of flavonoids, which act as antioxidants that may help prevent diseases and cancer, says Cary.
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Additionally, Cary says lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which boosts immune function. According to the FDA, one lemon has 40% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C you need.
What are the risks of drinking coffee with lemon?
First, it’s important to consider the risk of drinking too much caffeine alone.
“High levels of caffeine may increase headaches, anxiety, tremors, and insomnia,” Moreno says. However, this varies from person to person, as some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others.
Second, people with sensitive GI tracts may not respond well to the acidic combination of these substances. “Coffee and lemon juice are both very high in acid content, so those with reflux or heartburn should avoid drinking this combination,” Cary says.
Aside from this, drinking coffee with lemon is safe. When consuming any kind of caffeine, the daily recommended max is 400 milligrams, which is about four cups of coffee. However, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, so know your body and don’t overdo it.
On a non-safety related note, the bitter and acerbic taste may not be very pleasant for many people.
Should I try it?
Just because the coffee and lemon combo is low-risk for most people, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should try it –– especially if you are hoping for dramatic weight loss results as some TikTokers may promise.
There is simply no actual supporting literature that proves that coffee with lemon in particular can aid in weight loss or any other health benefits, says Cary.
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“I wouldn’t advise coffee with lemon for weight loss. The likely weight loss effect will be minimal, if at all,” Moreno says.
If you’re hoping to lose weight, you need to make changes to your overall diet and physical activity. Additionally, for people who are obese, Moreno says there are options like anti-obesity medications and bariatric surgery in more severe cases.
While coffee and lemons individually have science-backed properties helpful for health, there is no proof that drinking lemon with your coffee will result in any extra special benefits or weight loss –– so you shouldn’t get your hopes up about this elixir.
Plus, Cary notes you can get any benefits of coffee and lemons by consuming them separately. No need to drink this not-so-pleasant tasting beverage.
If you’re trying to lose weight, remember that this involves diet and physical activity, and in some cases, additional help from your doctor.
“Losing weight is not as simple as drinking coffee with lemon,” Moreno says.