Does lemon coffee help with weight loss?

Reviewed by Felix Gussone, MD, Ro, 

Reviewed by Felix Gussone, MD, Ro, 

last updated: Jul 07, 2023

4 min read

Every year new weight loss trends come and go through social media. But not all of these fads have the benefits they claim. You may have seen videos claiming drinking lemon coffee will help you lose weight fast. While it can be tempting to try a get-results-quick trend, the reality is adding lemon to your coffee is, at best, a culinary choice and not a weight loss trick. 

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Does drinking lemon and coffee help you lose weight?

Despite the popular trend, no solid evidence supports the claim that adding lemon to your coffee will boost weight loss unless you implement lifestyle changes like an overall healthier diet, and exercise.While some believe that coffee alone (more on that below) may help them on their weight loss journeys, no research assesses the impact of drinking lemon and coffee together. And there is also no solid evidence to support lemon helps speed up weight loss.

Can coffee help with weight loss?

Drinking coffee could indeed help with weight loss. Several studies have examined the influence of coffee on body weight and weight loss efforts. 

First, there’s temporary weight loss from waterResearch shows caffeine increases blood flow to the kidney and may increase urine production. It has a diuretic effect meaning you will produce more urine and must use the bathroom more frequently to pee. So you could experience some weight loss from more water leaving your body (this is why weight fluctuations throughout the day are common). But changes in water weight are temporary, and this weight loss isn’t the same as long-term, sustainable weight loss, which involves losing fat tissue.

Besides peeing more, coffee's other potential weight loss benefits may come from the caffeine in coffee. A 2019 review of research found caffeine intake was associated with lower body weight, BMI, and body fat. The findings suggest caffeine intake may promote weight loss. 

Another 2019 research review concluded that higher coffee intake was modestly associated with reduced fat tissue, especially in males. Caffeine could help people lose weight because it appears to increase fat oxidation rate during exercise, meaning more calories burned during exercise may come from fat tissue. However, these benefits may be limited. Research suggests the impact of caffeine on fat oxidation may decrease as activity level increases. Meaning it had the biggest impact on more sedentary people before the study

The potential benefits of coffee do not stop with weight loss. Research suggests coffee consumption is associated with lower rates of some chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease, but that doesn’t mean coffee can prevent these diseases or cure them. It might just be that coffee drinkers have other healthy habits that lower the risk for chronic illnesses. 

Coffee is also thought to help boost mood, alertness, focus, and concentration and leaves people feeling more energized. The added alertness and focus may make it easier to stay motivated when adding workouts to a busy schedule. 

Besides these positive and encouraging studies, more research is needed to understand the full effect of coffee on weight and overall health. Coffee alone will never replace a healthy dietexercise, or weight loss drugs proven by science, such as Ozempic and Wegovy.

Can lemon help with weight loss?

Lemon has become popular in many weight loss fads, like lemon water and apple cider vinegar mixed with lemon juice. So, can lemon actually help with weight loss?

At this time, there is no evidence to support the claims of these weight loss fads. 

2015 study assessed the effects of a “lemon detox diet” on body fat and insulin resistance. They found the lemon detox group and the control detox group had greater changes in body weight and body fat percentage compared to a group without any diet changes. However, the measured changes in weight are likely from calorie restriction both detox groups experienced rather than lemon. What’s more, these detox or very low calorie (VLC) diets are hard to maintain, and you’re likely to regain any weight you lost as soon as you stop the diet. 

There could be weight loss benefits from consuming citrus fruits or citrus extract. A 2020 review of 13 randomized clinical trials noted that citrus fruits have beneficial effects on supporting healthy body weight control. Examples of citrus fruits include oranges, limes, grapefruit, and lemon. 

While the impact of consuming lemons on weight loss is unclear, there are some known health benefits of lemons. Lemons provide vitamin C, antioxidants, and citric acid within the juice and peel. These nutrients can have positive effects on the immune system, skin health, iron absorption, and maintaining joint health

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Are there any risks with adding lemon to coffee?

While there may be some health benefits to consuming lemon and coffee separately, there could be a potential risk to regularly consuming them together. 

Both coffee and lemon are naturally acidic which can damage tooth enamel over time. Frequently consuming vitamin C, natural fruit juices, and acidic snacks is associated with more erosive tooth wear. Because of this potential impact on teeth, it is important to consider how frequently you are consuming acidic foods. Be sure to talk with a dentist if you have any questions about the health of your teeth's enamel. 

In addition to affecting your teeth, consuming acidic foods or beverages could take a toll on a sensitive stomach and worsen acid reflux symptoms.

The symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also called heartburn or acid reflux, can be triggered by the foods and drinks you have. The exact foods that affect GERD vary from person to person. Still, it is commonly recommended to limit coffee and citrus fruits in people with acid reflux. 

While research suggests coffee and caffeine intake may benefit health, it is important to note the potential health risks of them. High caffeine intake could lead to side effects like:

In addition, caffeine can be addictive leading to withdrawal symptoms if someone suddenly stops consuming it. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms could begin 12-24 hours after last consumed and persist for up to a week. 

It is generally recommended to slowly reduce caffeine intake to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Caffeine withdrawal could cause symptoms such as headachefatigue, low energy, drowsiness, trouble concentrating, irritability, foggy feeling, and depressed mood.

Final word

Remember, while it can feel tempting to look for a quick fix to lose weight, these options are often unsustainable or do not provide the desired effects. 

Both lemon and coffee have potential health benefits from the nutrients they contain. However, there is no research to assess their combined impact on weight loss. Compared to other fad diets that severely limit calories or cause other people, adding lemon coffee to your regular, healthy diet is safe. So if you enjoy drinking lemon in your coffee you could have it. Just know there is no evidence to support it will melt away fat and there can be potential health effects of drinking too much coffee and citrus.

If you are interested in sustainable weight loss, talk to your healthcare provider or connect with one through the Ro Body Program. GLP-1 medications like Ozempic, Saxenda, and Wegovy are highly effective when combined with healthy lifestyle changes, and may be prescribed for weight loss if appropriate.

DISCLAIMER

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

  • Collado-Mateo, D., Lavín-Pérez, A. M., Merellano-Navarro, E., & Coso, J. D. (2020). Effect of Acute Caffeine Intake on the Fat Oxidation Rate during Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 12(12), 3603. doi: 10.3390/nu12123603. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7760526/

  • Evans, J., Richards, J., & Battisti, A. (2022) Caffeine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519490/

  • Kim, M. J., Hwang, J. H., Ko, H. J., et al. (2015). Lemon detox diet reduced body fat, insulin resistance, and serum hs-CRP level without hematological changes in overweight Korean women. Nutrition Research, 35(5), 409–420. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.04.001 Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25912765/

  • Lee, A., Lim, W., Kim, S., et al. (2019). Coffee Intake and Obesity: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 11(6), 1274. doi: 10.3390/nu11061274. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6628169/

  • Nehlig, A. (2016). Effects of coffee/caffeine on brain health and disease: What should I tell my patients?. Practical Neurology, 16(2), 89–95. doi: 10.1136/practneurol-2015-001162. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26677204/

  • Saads Carvalho, T. & Lussi, A. (2020). Chapter 9: Acidic Beverages and Foods Associated with Dental Erosion and Erosive Tooth Wear. Monographs in Oral Science, 28, 91–98. doi: 10.1159/000455376. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31940633/

  • Safe, S., Kothari, J., Hailemariam, A., et al. (2023). Health benefits of coffee consumption for cancer and other diseases and mechanisms of action. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24(3), 2706. doi: 10.3390/ijms24032706. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9916720/

  • Tabrizi, R., Saneei, P., Lankarani, K. B., et al. (2019). The effects of caffeine intake on weight loss: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59(16), 2688–2696. doi: 10408398.2018.1507996. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30335479/

  • Tejpal, S., Wemyss, A. M., Bastie, C. C., & Klein-Seetharaman, J. (2020). Lemon Extract Reduces Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Expression and Activity and Increases Insulin Sensitivity and Lipolysis in Mouse Adipocytes. Nutrients, 12(8), 2348. doi: 10.3390/nu12082348. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468735/

  • Wang, X., Li, D., Liu, F., et al. (2020). Dietary citrus and/or its extracts intake contributed to weight control: Evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis of 13 randomized clinical trials. Phytotherapy Research : PTR, 34(8), 2006–2022. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6673. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32182635/


How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

July 07, 2023

Written by

Ashley Braun, RD, MPH

Fact checked by

Felix Gussone, MD


About the medical reviewer

Felix Gussone is a physician, health journalist and a Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.

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