The debate between black coffee vs lemon water for weight loss is certainly not new. For decades, people have been wondering if replacing morning coffee or sugary beverages with cup of black coffee can assist them in their weight-loss goals. The truth is that the answer to this question really depends on your personal preferences, habits and diet plan. But, in the meantime, I’ve summarized below all the benefits of drinking black coffee alongside lemon water for weight loss.
What is the coffee and lemon water weight loss trend?
Recently, a weight loss trend went viral on TikTok, the popular social media platform. It involves drinking a coffee and lemon every morning on an empty stomach. Here’s the recipe:
- Cup of brewed black coffee
- The juice of half a lemon
Pour the lemon juice directly into the coffee, mix and drink! That’s it! Some people have used instant coffee powder with hot water, and others have used nescafe espressos, or simply brewed coffee from coffee grounds. Either way, it’s the combination of lemon, water and coffee, which is said to help people lose weight.
Some of the most watched coffee and lemon water videos have claimed you can ‘get a flat tummy’, ‘lose weight’, and ‘stop bloating. Some have even called this strange combination the ‘magic elixir or weight loss’. So what’s the truth?
Does coffee and lemon water help you lose weight?
Like most other viral weight loss trends, drinking coffee and lemon water will not result in sudden weight loss. It’s important to understand that there isn’t a magic pill for weight loss, and adding in a beverage will not accelerate fat burning.
If you’re eating an unhealthy diet with too much processed foods and overeating, you’re not going to lose weight by drinking coffee and lemon water.
The only way to lose weight is to create a caloric deficit. Use this total daily energy expenditure calculator to see how many calories your body needs per day. Now, eat less than this number and you’ll be in a caloric deficit. Simply – you’ll be eating less than you’re burning, resulting in weight loss.
Does lemon and coffee water have any benefits for weight loss?
But like many weight loss trends, there is a grain of truth in the claim that lemon and coffee water can help you lose weight. Coffee and lemon are two food items that have been shown in research to speed up your metabolism.
Your metabolism is the rate at which you digest food. If you have a fast metabolism, you’ll likely be of a slimmer build, as your body efficiently processes food and stores less of it as fat. That’s why people with slow metabolisms (known as hypothyroidism) are more at risk of obesity.
There are things you can do to help boost a slow metabolism, which we’ll come onto a bit later. But for now, let’s analyze the metabolism-boosting effects of coffee and lemon water.
Lemons have been shown in research to increase your metabolic rate. This is because they delay the rate of starch digestion to keep your blood sugar balanced. When you eat starchy foods like white rice, white bread, pastries, or pasta, your blood sugar spikes. This triggers an insulin response and then a sudden crash of your blood sugar as your cells uptake the glucose from the bloodstream.
Coffee also helps to boost the metabolism. A study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that drinking four cups of coffee daily was able to reduce body fat in a group of participants by four percent.
This happens because the caffeine in coffee spikes adrenaline, which increases fat breakdown as stored fat is mobilized and used for fuel.
There is not any research to show that combining coffee and lemon into one beverage has any advantage over including both of these into your diet separately. What’s more, it probably doesn’t taste very good!
If you believe that you have a slow metabolism to help yourself lose weight, try these natural and scientifically proven ways to increase your metabolism which are more effective than coffee and lemon water!
How to boost a slow metabolism
- Get moving
The best way to increase your metabolic rate is to expend more energy, this optimizes metabolic function as your muscles and cells require more energy to be converted so your anabolic processes have a greater demand put on them.
Choose high intensity exercise (HIIT) or weight lifting if you’re really looking for that metabolism boost. One study found that during a six week intervention, high intensity training increased participants metabolism for up to eight hours post exercise.
- Eat protein at every meal
Eating small meals frequently has a positive effect on your metabolism due to the thermic effect of food (TEF) i.e. your body uses more energy in digesting food. Protein causes the largest increase in TEF, increasing the metabolic rate by 15-30% according to this study.
- Drink water
Staying hydrated is a key part of maintaining a healthy body weight. Firstly, it ensures that you are not misreading dehydration signals for hunger signals. Secondly, one study found that per half a liter of water you drink, participants metabolism increased by 25 percent.
If you want to really get your metabolism going, drink cold water. This is because drinking cold water requires your body to use energy to heat it up to body temperature, prompting your body to use the energy consumed rather than storing it; known as ‘water-induced thermogenesis’.
Drinking coffee and lemon water is not a magic weight loss pill. The only way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit by eating healthier and working out more. However, the metabolic boosting benefits of lemon and coffee might help you improve your metabolism to make weight loss easier.
Is drinking coffee with lemon juice helpful for reducing weight?
A straight NO when one asks regarding drinking coffee with lemon juice. If anyone were to see the outcome from this specific trend, it is possible from a calorie deficit. In other terms, there is no scientific evidence that drinking coffee with lemon without any other alterations to your diet and lifestyle will result in weight loss.
Is coffee alone good enough to lose weight?
Probably one of the factors for this trend to take off is because some (kind of outdated) research suggests that caffeine could serve as an appetite suppressant by boosting levels of the hormone serotonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine circulating through the human body. Additionally, it is possible that the caffeine inside coffee could help enhance your metabolism in a minor way. Truth is, “a minor” translates to vaguely a quarter of a calorie each day. This is why it will not make any difference in your weight.
If one goes by sheer calculation alone in an attempt to reduce weight, based on caffeine only, one would have to gulp down way more coffee than what is considered safe. And the consequences of caffeine abuse are not good. Possible side effects could include anxiety, insomnia, stomach issues, nausea, and even straight-up nervousness.
How does coffee help in weight loss
Coffee is a stimulant and can help you workout for longer hours at the gym. But apart from that, coffee contains biologically active substances like caffeine, theobromine, theophylline and chlorogenic acid that are very effective in helping you lose weight.
Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, therefore sends signals for the breakdown of your fat cells. Apart from that it also stimulates the release of the hormone epinephrine or adrenaline, which also helps mobilise those broken down fat cells and makes them available for use by your body as free fatty acids.
The compound also helps increase your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories. And finally, chlorogenic acid helps in preventing the absorption of carbohydrates by your body.
To this mix, you can also add some lemon juice to hasten the fat burning process. This is because lemon helps cleanse and detoxify your body. It also helps improve digestion and get rid of stored waste in your stomach, helping you get that flat tummy you have always wanted.
How to use it
All you have to do is take some instant coffee (or coffee decoction) and add hot water to it. You should ideally make it drinkable warm and have it once a day, preferable just before you start your exercise regimen. Another great way to speed up the weight loss process is to add about one spoon of lemon juice to the mix. While this might not taste great, drinking this mixture when it is warm helps a great deal.
The original coffee lemon and hot water for weight loss recipe
Back in 2021, TikTok viewers started going crazy for the coffee and lemon challenge. It was as simple as squeezing half a lemon juice into your regular coffee powder and the weight would start falling off. People claimed to lose pounds in just a matter of days. There are now hundreds of videos of challengers revealing their disappearing belly fat and thousands of viewers.
What do the experts say about coffee lemon for weight loss?
Sadly, dieticians are cautious of this latest weight loss fad. Samantha Cassetty, registered dietician, goes as far as saying “this behavior to be a red flag for disordered eating”. Why such strong words? As one would imagine, coffee and lemon juice isn’t the most delicious drink. To force yourself to drink something you don’t like isn’t a healthy way to lose weight. So far, there hasn’t been any scientific proof that coffee with a boost of fresh lemon will help you with that. That’s not to say that all these TikTokers are lying. Experts are aware of the health benefits of both coffee and lemon. The combination may help you lose weight, but not by burning calories and therefore fat loss.
What are the health benefits of drinking lemon water?
There is an excellent amount of vitamin C in lemon that boosts the immune system. Lemon water acts as a diuretic. Citric acid has been shown to help improve liver function and purify the body from toxins. The juice also has a similar structure to digestive juices that can help digestion. Both lemons and lemon juice are a source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free radicals in the body that cause damage to cells. This can help with a number of things from improving skin to reducing the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Drinking hot water, warm water, or cold water with the juice of one lemon is enough to give you 21% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C!
What are the health benefits of drinking coffee?
We all know that coffee gives us that caffeine hit and energy boost we often need. Studies have shown that people who drink one to two cups of coffee per day are 17% more likely to reach the daily recommended amount of exercise. Coffee has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all beverages. The health benefits are extensive including promoting heart and brain health as well as depression.
Whether it’s instant coffee or your freshly brewed coffee beans, drinking coffee is generally considered good for you. Still, you don’t want to overdo it in case it affects your blood pressure.
The effects of coffee and lemon on weight loss
The reason why people are having success with weight loss and coffee lemon is that it has a similar impact as drinking water. A glass of water before each meal can help you to feel fuller and therefore you eat less. Less food means fewer calories. Caffeine may alter the way the body stores fat. This could explain why drinking coffee has been linked to a decrease in body fat in both men and women. Combine this with the water used to make coffee, you can even prevent hunger and reaching out for those high-calorie snacks. Finally, with a decent amount of vitamin C in lemon juice and improved digestion, we can start to see how people are having positive results with their weight loss.
Warm lemon water may help with weight loss but added to coffee consumption, weight loss can be increased. Take advantage of the caffeine to up your exercise intake, the best fat-burning solution!
Weight loss recipes with coffee and lemon
There are three ways to add lemon to coffee. Squeezing juice into black coffee is one way but you could also add slices of lemon to the black coffee. Some people will add fresh lemon to a coffee percolator too. As mentioned, your caffeine treat doesn’t sound so appealing with half a lemon squeezed into it. However, whether you want to try and stop weight gain or begin to lose weight, there are some ways to improve the lemon coffee flavor. In the first place, don’t add cream to your coffee with lemon, and don’t add lemon to lattes. The cream or milk and lemon will curdle! You can try adding raw honey to your coffee and lemon. This might be healthy for blood sugar levels compared with sugar. Ginger is another superfood that has been linked to weight loss. It’s incredibly high in antioxidants and can stimulate digestion. Some people find that ginger curbs the appetite and again lowers calorie intake. Try adding a teaspoon of ginger to your lemon coffee for a bigger health benefit and better flavor.
A word of caution: While all these effects sound great, there have been studies that have shown that your body becomes resistant to the effects of coffee over time, thereby reducing it efficacy. Also too much coffee is extremely harmful to your body, so please use this remedy with caution.