Finding ways to make it through the fasting may require some support, and certain beverages may help. Drinking lemon water while intermittent fasting is ideal for giving you some taste, and it is known to have many beneficial effects for your body.
It certainly is not pleasant to be hungry, and a few glasses of lemon water is good if you do not want to only drink plain water. While lemon water has undoubtedly become a favorite drink for those who apply intermittent fasting, others say to avoid it.
To understand why that is, read on to how it can technically break your fast and also what their benefits are that they can still be included during your fast.
How To Do An Intermittent Fast
In intermittent fasting, there are generally no food or calorie restrictions. The only limitation is when to eat.
An example of this is restricting your meals to an 8-hour window during the day, with 16 hours of fasting in between.
Some of the popular methods of intermittent fasting include:
- 16/8 daily – 8 hours of eating followed by 16 hours of fasting.
- 5/2 method – eating only 500-600 calories for two non-consecutive days and five days of normal eating per week.
- “Eat-Stop-Eat” method – two 24-hour fasts per week on non-consecutive days.
It can take your body two to four weeks to adjust to an intermittent fasting period. It must be noted that it is generally not advised to go for periods longer than 24 hours without eating because it might be unhealthy.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Fasting is widely appreciated not only because of its less restrictive rules but because of its numerous benefits, particularly fasts that last at least 16 hours. These benefits1,2,3 include:
- Weight Loss
- Preventing Obesity
- Fat Burning
- Improved Blood Pressure and Resting Heart Rate
- Improved Memory
- Increased Endurance
What Is Lemon Water?
Lemon water is water infused with the citrus juice of lemon or lime. It can vary in concentration, depending on how much citrus infusion you add to the water.
The more the citrus infusion, the more concentrated the water will be, which means the lemon’s taste will be more detectable.
Since fasting requires you to withhold consuming drinks containing calories, lemon water is a much healthier option than other flavored drinks, like juices or non-diet sodas, which are often loaded with sugar.
However, there isn’t much finding yet as to how much lemon juice is required to make one glass of lemon water and what should be the ideal temperature of lemon water to maximize its benefits.
Lemon Nutritional Information
Lemons are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. According to data4, a 48g of raw lemon juice contains:
- Calories – 10.6
- Vitamin C – 18.6 mg
- Folate – 9.6 mcg
- Potassium – 49.4 mg
- Vitamin B-1 – 0.01 mg
- Vitamin B-2 – 0.01 mg
- Vitamin B-5 – 0.06 mg
- Iron – 0.038 mg
Benefits Of Lemon
1. Aids in digestion – lemon water is known to aid in digestion by increasing the production of bile in the liver5. Bile is a fluid that helps to break down fats in the small intestine. The acidity in lemon juice also helps to stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is necessary for proper digestion.
Additionally, lemon water can help to flush out toxins and waste products from the body, promoting regular bowel movements. Furthermore, drinking lemon water before meals can also help to reduce bloating, relieve constipation, and allow your body to detoxify naturally6.
2. Promotes weight loss – fruits containing the most pectin are citrus fruits, including lemon. Pectin, mainly found in a lemon’s peel, seed, and pulp, assists in fighting hunger cravings.
The pectin fiber present in lemons acts to give you a feeling of fullness, meaning you won’t have to eat as much to feel satisfied. While it won’t actually burn off any of your excess fat, it can help you replace the empty calories in soda or sweetened coffee with something much healthier in comparison, which may also help you lose weight7.
3. Boosts your immunity – the Vitamin C in lemon helps boost your immune system. Vitamin C plays a role in maintaining healthy skin, bones and blood vessels8.
Possible Disadvantages Of Lemon
1. Acidity – citrus fruits have a high acid content, and the increased acid production in your stomach can trigger heartburn symptoms.
2. Damage to teeth – because lemon water can be highly acidic, regularly drinking it can wear down the enamel in your teeth, causing tooth decay.
Lemon Water While Intermittent Fasting
Many of you may have wondered if lemon water breaks a fast. The answer to this can depend on what your goal with intermittent fasting is and how much lemon juice you’re using.
In a fast, you can infuse your water with lemon to give your drink some flavor. But keep in mind in strict fasting, any amount of calories will break it, even drinks or foods with extremely low calories.
So while lemon water has a really low-calorie count, it can break a strict intermittent fast. However, if you intend to get some small boost to help you see your fasting window through to the finish, then go for it. You can have lemon water during a fast to help reduce hunger and cravings, making it easier to stick to the fast.
Everyone works differently, and you should always find what works and feels best for you. If you’re feeling faint or ill, you should listen to your body and modify when to eat or drink when needed.
Why Take Lemon Water During A Fast?
Intermittent fasting and lemon water can be combined to provide even greater health benefits. Because of this, while it technically breaks a fast, its benefits overshadow its ability to break it.
One of which is that drinking lemon water during a fast can benefit and complement a fast as it promotes fat-burning and helps curb your hunger.
Also, lemon water, as a low-calorie drink, does not trigger an insulin response. In fact, it’s been known to improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity9.
Additionally, by adding lemon to your water, you’ll add some key vitamins and nutrients to your drink. Drinking lemon water can help to flush toxins from the body, which is especially beneficial during a fast.
The important thing to note is that if you follow a modified version of intermittent fasting and do not add any sweeteners, drinking a small amount of lemon water can be considered as fasting safe drink and won’t break it.
Other Types Of Lemon Water
The type of lemon water you drink, and the number of calories it contains, can be detrimental to your modified fast.
As such, here is a guide on taking lemon water:
- Plain Lemon Water – won’t break a fast.
- Lemon-herb Water – won’t break a fast if it’s low-calorie.
- Artificially Flavored Lemon Water – it won’t break a fast if free of added sugar.
- Lemonade – will break a fast due to its sugar content.
- Diet Lemonade – won’t break a fast as long as it’s low-calorie.
Intermittent Fasting Drinks
Just like lemon water, there are a few other drinks that are low when it comes to the calorie count and won’t have you worrying about breaking your fast. These are:
- Water – besides dry fasting, where no liquids or solids are consumed, water is essential for all fasts. You are typically recommended to drink a minimum of six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water, you need to drink more while fasting.
- Mineral Water – drink mineral water to make sure you don’t get a mineral imbalance which can cause headaches and nausea. Since your body does not produce minerals, it receives them only from food and water and stores them mainly in your muscles and bones.
- Sparkling Water – also known as carbonated water, is safe to drink because it does not affect insulin or raise blood sugar levels. It’s an excellent way to stay hydrated and promote healthy blood sugar levels because it has no calories, carbohydrates, or sugar, just like ordinary water.
- Green Tea – you can drink unsweetened tea during your fast. Green tea contains catechins and caffeine, which both have an antioxidative effect and stimulate your metabolism.
- Black Coffee – a different kind of caffeine fix that’s safe for fasting is black coffee. It must be black coffee without added cream, sugar, or other calories. Because of caffeine, a stimulant that can increase alertness and wakefulness, it’s beneficial for you if you’re trying to improve your energy levels during fasting.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – drinking apple cider vinegar will not break a fast. As long as your body sustains a low carb intake, it remains in a state of ketosis.
Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle that allows you to reach your health goals. You will find this technique of fasting to be very beneficial because it’s not too restrictive.
Drinks other than water are allowed, but lemon water may break your fast if you follow a strict intermittent fast regime. Consider drinking lemon water if you want to make it through the required fasting hours.
Plain lemon is particularly more favored when following the intermittent fasting method. Avoid those lemon water beverages with added sugar, such as lemonade, which will cause you to break your fast even more.
Having one or two glasses of lemon drink, when following intermittent fasting can also help you burn fat and curb hunger. So add those lemon slices to your water and enjoy your fruity drink.
2 Malinowski B, Zalewska K, Węsierska A, Sokołowska MM, Socha M, Liczner G, Pawlak-Osińska K, Wiciński M. Intermittent Fasting in Cardiovascular Disorders-An Overview. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 20;11(3):673. doi: 10.3390/nu11030673. PMID: 30897855; PMCID: PMC6471315.
3 Marosi, K., Moehl, K., Navas-Enamorado, I., Mitchell, S.J., Zhang, Y., Lehrmann, E., Aon, M.A., Cortassa, S., Becker, K.G. and Mattson, M.P. (2018), Metabolic and molecular framework for the enhancement of endurance by intermittent food deprivation. The FASEB Journal, 32: 3844-3858. https://doi.org/10.1096/fj.201701378RR
5 Abdel-Salam OM, Youness ER, Mohammed NA, Morsy SM, Omara EA, Sleem AA. Citric acid effects on brain and liver oxidative stress in lipopolysaccharide-treated mice. J Med Food. 2014 May;17(5):588-98. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2013.0065. Epub 2014 Jan 16. PMID: 24433072; PMCID: PMC4026104.
6 Penniston KL, Steele TH, Nakada SY. Lemonade therapy increases urinary citrate and urine volumes in patients with recurrent calcium oxalate stone formation. Urology. 2007 Nov;70(5):856-60. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2007.06.1115. Epub 2007 Oct 24. PMID: 17919696.
8 Erickson, T. (2021, June 28). Boost your senses with citrus fruits. Mayo Clinic Healthy System. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/boost-your-senses-with-citrus-fruits#:~:text=Citrus%20fruits%2C%20including%20oranges%2C%20lemons,skin% 2C%20bones%20and%20blood%20vessels.
9 Mahmoud AM, Hernández Bautista RJ, Sandhu MA, Hussein OE. Beneficial Effects of Citrus Flavonoids on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 Mar 10;2019:5484138. doi: 10.1155/2019/5484138. PMID: 30962863; PMCID: PMC6431442.