Can lemon juice help you lose weight if you consume it for one week straight with no solid foods whatsoever?
The 7-day lemon diet promises to master cleanse your body by removing the toxins from it. Beyonce has used this diet. However, even though the concept is very popular, it doesn’t have any scientific proof or lasting results.
Namely, the Lemon Diet is a lemon detox diet that consists of consuming only three liquids for a period of 7 days. The approved liquids are:
The claim is that by following the lemon diet for 7 days (or more) you will lose weight, detox your body, and feel healthier, happier, and more vital. Plus, you will also remove your cravings for unhealthy food.
The question remains: Can lemons help you lose weight? Or, in other words, will you lose weight by drinking lemon water?
I think it all had begun with the book The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs where he introduces this popular diet. The book becomes popular and gets many variations of it, such as Peter Glickman’s Lose Weight Have More Energy and Be Happier in 10 Days, a book that continues Stanley’s legacy.
In this article, I will discuss the truth behind these claims, and we will discover together whether the lemon cleanse diet works and more importantly, whether it is safe or not.
The 7-Day Lemon Diet forbids the consumption of solid foods for a week. The only calories and nutrients that will enter your body will be from the lemon juice, the salt water, or the laxative tea. So, it is obvious that you will lose weight.
However, the weight loss will only be short-term since this diet doesn’t have nutritional value and is high in sugar. So, if your plan is to lose weight and improve your health in the long run, this is definitely NOT for you.
Since this diet is liquid-only, it can be difficult for most people to go with their day not eating any solid foods. So, it is highly advisable to ease into it first. Take a few days to prepare your body. Here’s some advice on how you can do that:
Days 1 & 2: Remove meat, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, added sugars, and processed foods. Eat only raw food, fruits and vegetables.
Day 3: Start drinking smoothies, soups, and vegetable and fruit juices as a complete meal.
Day 4: Start drinking only fresh-squeezed orange juice and water. And before you go to bed, drink laxative tea.
Day 5: Start the lemon cleansing diet.
All the calories will then come from the lemon-maple-cayenne homemade drink. Here’s the recipe:
Mix the ingredients and drink the beverage whenever you feel hungry. The daily recommendation is 6 servings.
Also, don’t forget to drink one quart of warm salted water every morning in order to stimulate your bowel movements. Plus, herbal laxative tea is also allowed and you can drink it before going to bed.
Some people recommend following this regime for at least 10 days for best results, but 7 days can also do the trick. However, there is no scientific research to back these sayings.
Finally, when you decide to stop the diet, it is recommended to slowly ease out of it. Again, you will need a few days to start eating regularly like you used to. Here’s how you can do it:
Day 1: Begin by drinking freshly-squeezed orange juice.
Day 2: Add vegetable soup to your menu.
Day 3: Start eating fruits and vegetables.
Day 4: You can now eat regularly. However, try putting the emphasis on whole unprocessed foods.
By following this diet you will most probably lose weight due to the low-calorie intake. Each serving of the drink has about 110 calories, with at least 6 servings consumed daily. Therefore, the majority of people will burn more calories than they consume, leading to (short-term) weight loss.
One study discovered that people who were drinking lemon water with honey for 4 days while fasting lost an average of 2.2 kilos (4.8 pounds). Plus, their triglyceride levels went down. (1)
Another study found that women who were drinking sweetened lemon drinks while fasting for 7 days lost an average of 2.6 kilos (5.7 pounds) and they also reported having less inflammation. (2)
And while this cleansing diet does lead to weight loss, there are no studies that show whether the weight loss is maintained long-term. There is research that shows that dieting only has a 20% long-term success rate. Therefore, the best is to make smaller but sustainable lifestyle changes for long-term weight control. (3)
Finally, when it comes to the claim that the lemon diet removes toxins, there is also no evidence that supports the claim. (4)
The reported side effects are:
The lemon diet is not recommended for:
As Dr. Hansa Bhargava, the Chief Medical Officer at Medscape Education says, “if weight loss is your goal, it may work temporarily. Anytime you limit your food intake, especially that drastically, you will lose some weight. The problem is, you will lose muscle mass. This diet puts you at risk for nutritional deficiencies, too. Also, you will likely gain the weight back really quickly once you start eating normally.” (11)
Therefore, this is not a diet that I would be following myself or recommend to anyone. If you want to lose weight best is to have a balanced diet with regular exercising.