The 2 Week Lemon Water Challenge.

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Lemon water sounds like a good idea, and you’ve probably seen pictures on Pinterest of large pitchers of water with vibrant lemons and the Top 10 reasons why you should be drinking it.

It’s easy to take these images and lists at face value, and most won’t end up actually drinking lemon water regularly, or be able to tell their friends the Top 10 reasons lemon water is good for you.

We’re interested in the part that adds vitality and incredible cleansing effects to the body. If you’re just getting started on a path of feeling better through diet change then replacing our morning coffee with lemon water is a great first step.

I truly believe that we have the power to heal our bodies by adapting what we consume every day. Our challenge is to:

1. Look through the top benefits we’ve listed below and find the one benefit that will motivate you to start incorporating lemon water into your daily life.
2. Commit to 14 days of drinking lemon water.
3. Write down how you feel on day 1, then on day 14.
4. Let us know what you experienced.

Let’s get started by finding out why lemon water is so beneficial to help us get motivated.

Lemons as a Source of Vitamin C

We know lemons are high in Vitamin C which is essential for normal growth and development (2). A single lemon contains around 30-40 mg of Vitamin C (3) (in comparison an orange contains around 80-90 mg).

Vitamin C has been studied extensively and shown to have a myriad of health benefits from protecting against prenatal problems to cardiovascular disease, eye diseases, skin wrinkles, and immune system deficiencies (4). I’ve worked with obese and unhealthy people and getting them to replace a sugary drink with lemon water each morning has been a catalyst for many on their path to better health.

It acts as an antioxidant and helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals (5). This might be something you’ve heard before as healthy buzz words, but it basically means your body will be better at fighting and repelling disease.

If you’d like to go down the rabbit hole of Vitamin C start with this fact sheet, as we’ll be focusing on some of the more unique properties of lemon water.

Unique Health Benefits of Lemons

1. Lemon Water as Detox and Cleanse

This is the first benefit that comes to mind when it comes to lemon water, and usually the most overstated. We’ve cited a few scientific sources that give true insight on the potential for lemon water as a natural detox.

Not surprisingly, the amount of urine is increased when drinking lemon water, however, lemon water brings with it the primary compound known as Citrate.

This is a naturally-occurring inhibitor of toxins (which can build up in the form of crystals in the body). The Citric acid enhances your body’s ability to naturally flush out these unwanted toxins.

Toxins come into our systems through various sources: from the air we breathe to some of the foods we eat.

The main premise behind lemon water as a detox revolves around its ability to enhance your bodies enzyme function and stimulate the liver. Basically your liver acts as your body’s filtration system, and lemon water enhances its ability to filter unwanted junk.

Studies indicate that in cases where toxins have built up in the body, the lemon juice and peel have cleansing properties. Using lemon water, especially after meals may help you lower the amount of toxins in your body.

2. Improve Digestion with Lemon Water

Citrus flavonoids are the primary cause of improved digestion when drinking warm lemon water. They aid in the assimilation of food, help prevent fatty liver, decrease chances of cardiovascular disease, fat-lowering, and reduced insulin sensitivity. This has to do with its ability to inhibit certain syntheses of fat in the body (7). Sounds like a good thing right, but is it going to make you feel better?

Citrus flavonoids act as a great digestive tonic, with appetite suppressing abilities (8). It has also been shown to calm an upset stomach or mild indigestion. This has to do with the hydrochloric acid in your stomach that starts the process of breaking down your food. It is believed the citrus flavonoids in lemon water support the hydrochloric acid in the stomach in breaking down food (9).

Many people are beginning to discover that their digestion problems have to do with the health of their stomach. Feeding your body the right things over time builds your bodies ability to process foods better, much like building a muscle.

The best way to utilize lemon water as a digestion aid is to also include the zest of the lemon which will improve the good bacteria in your gut.

3. Alkalize with Lemon Water

If you’re new to the concept of alkalinity, it’s the process of neutralizing acid in the body. The basic idea is your body has certain acids that can build up causing negative side effects such as acid reflux, upset stomach, acidosis and beyond (10).

There are various ways to check the pH levels of your body to find out if you are too acidic. I would suggest getting some pH strips online, and getting an idea of where you’re at.

An ideal range to fall between is 4.6-8.0 and can be tested with pH strips using saliva or urine (11).

If you plan to use lemon water or alkaline drinking water to manage your body’s acid levels we recommend speaking with your doctor first and identifying your pH levels.

If you identify a need to alkalize, then as we recommend earlier, get some home pH strips that will allow you to stay within the recommend ranges.

This is one of those areas of health that can go unchecked. Most people are far to acidic and this causes a whole range of negative side effects. Popping an antacid, is putting a band-aid on the issue, which is why you should take some time to understand your pH levels and how to get them in balance.

Lemon water is a safe and effective way to manage your pH levels and achieving healthy alkalinity may benefit in bone health, reduced muscle wasting, decrease chances of hypertension and strokes, improved cardiovascular health, and improved memory (12).

4. Weight loss/Appetite Suppressant

We’re approaching this claim with caution since any new health fad that becomes popular can get turned into a “fat burning miracle.”

There is a lack of scientific research that supports the claim of weight loss fully, however, this doesn’t mean the claims are false, simply that additional research is needed (13).

One of the studies that does exist was not a human trial but did show significantly reduced weight gain when a diet high in fat was being consumed (14). Most people whether they want to admit it or not fall in the high fat diet category.

Pectin and polyphenols are the main substances found in lemons that have more research available showing weight loss and appetite suppressing qualities.

Pectin gives a feeling a fullness much like other soluble dietary fibers, that may help reduced caloric intake. For some people simply staving off hunger and cravings can allow for long term weight loss. If you find yourself struggling with always being hungry this is worth looking at.

Every “body” will respond differently to lemon water, which is why we recommend adding this to your diet without any other major changes to isolate the effects.

This will allow you to better attribute any changes you experience and not be confused if it was the new multivitamin you started taking.

While additional research is needed regarding the weight loss benefits of lemon water, positive benefits are achieved by replacing sugary drinks for lemon water.

We recommend replacing your morning coffee with lemon water for at least two weeks. Keep a journal of your mood, energy and cravings for the two weeks to see what positive benefits you experience.

Lemon Water Safety Measures

Safety measures for lemon water?! I know what you’re thinking, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

First off you really shouldn’t be eating the seeds of the lemon. A few here and there isn’t going to be terrible for you but if you plan to drink lemon water regularly then make sure you’re avoiding the seeds. They contain small amounts of salicylic acid which is the main ingredient in asprin, along with the bitter/astringent coating on the outside of the seed which gives it the bitter taste.

The easiest way I’ve found to get rid of them is to use a small strainer or a lemon press.

If you’re used to sweetening your tea or coffee then your taste buds are going to want a spike of sugar in your lemon water.

Try to avoid adding sweeteners other than raw honey as it will negate many of the benefits I mentioned previously.

If you can start to cut more and more sugar out of your diet you will find your taste buds resetting and your cravings for sugar drop dramatically.

I had never experienced this until I cut out most of the sugars in my diet, but I can honestly say my cravings for sugary foods dropped dramatically.

Another common concern is what effects lemon juice has on the enamel of your teeth. As long as you’re not using it like mouthwash your teeth will be safe.

With the amount of soda that people drink in our time, substituting lemon water will actually save your teeth. If you’re super concerned about it then try using a straw.

Drinking lemon water is one of the little things that we can do on a regular basis that can have long term benefits.

The people who will experience the most dramatic effects in the beginning will be those who can replace a morning coffee or soda with lemon water.

As with any new addition to your diet, I recommend giving it a minimum of two weeks to see what positive benefits you’re getting.

We’re so used to instant gratification in almost everything we do, so when it comes to healthy diets and exercise it can be easy to get discouraged if we don’t see results in a few days.



Relephant Read: 

Start your day with water & lemon


To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse? The pros and cons of cleansing and how to do it in a mindful and healthy way: 



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Author: Max Williams

Editor: Travis May

Image: DeviantArt

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About Max Williams

Max Williams has been involved as a health and wellness coach to inspire others to achieve a healthier life.  He is the founder of Roots and Sprouts where he writes to educate and motivate people to take action based on real research.  His specialty is utilizing plant based solutions combined with the right kind of exercise to live an optimal life through simplicity.  You can connect with him on Twitter.


44 Responses to “The 2 Week Lemon Water Challenge.”

  1. Melissa says:

    Max, I want to give this a try, how many lemons a day are recommended?

  2. Cristina says:

    Watch oout for your teeth! The acid will slowly but surely ruin your enamel! Make sure to rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth right after drinking lemon water!

  3. Mary says:

    Hi Max, I have been cautioned by somebody in the “growers” industry that you should avoid using any part of the lemon peel, as in zesting. Even organic lemons have the worst toxicity from sprays and such in the peel of any other fruit or citrus product out there. Here is one short details about lemon peel.

    The Food and Drug Administration has approved several waxes for such use, made from shellacs, paraffins, palm oil derivatives and synthetic resins. Those ingredients are also in waxes for your car and kitchen floor, but as far as anyone knows, the waxes used on produce are safe.

    The caveat is necessary because the FDA has never adequately tested them for safety. Before 1958, food additives were not tested, but were permitted if there was no evidence of hazard. Such products have been categorized under the FDA heading: Generally Recognized As Safe.

    There are 21 fruits and vegetables that may be waxed: apples, avocados, bell peppers, cantaloupes, cucumbers, eggplants, grapefruits, lemons, limes, melons, oranges, parsnips, passion fruits, peaches, pineapples, pumpkins, rutabagas, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and turnips.

    The waxes sometimes contain fungicides. Both the waxes and the fungicides are used to prevent spoilage, the former to retard moisture loss and prevent shriveling, the latter to prevent mold. Any fungicide allowed on the produce as it is grown may also be applied after harvesting, whether under the wax, in combination with it or alone.

    Seven fungicides are approved for use on food crops after harvesting. Of those only one, benomyl, has undergone a complete review by the EPA. The agency says it has insufficent evidence of human risk in the others:

    thiabendazole, ortho-phenylphenol, sodium ortho-phenyl phenate, imazalil, dicloran and sodium borate.

    The EPA has classified benomyl a possible human carcinogen. In test animals, the chemical has caused birth defects, low sperm counts and mutations. The EPA says the risks are so small that they are outweighed by the benefits.

    Benomyl is registered for post-harvest use on apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, citrus fruits, mushrooms, nectarines, peaches, pears, pineapples and plums, either with wax or alone.

    • Ginger says:

      This is a little scary if all is true (but I wouldn't doubt it). Many people, including professional chefs cook/bake with "zest" to give a dish the flavor of citrus that you can't get just from the juice. Lime and lemon are the biggest zesting items in my baking repertoire. Hmmm…now I must seriously rethink things. Thanks for the info!

  4. Travis May says:

    Would lime be as good?

  5. Melanie says:

    Another warning not previously mentioned. Consuming lemon water before eating my breakfast drastically affected absorption of my thyroid medication!!! Actually, anything acidic does…coffee had the same effect.

    • Shannon says:

      Always take your thyroid medication one hour before eating anything and with a full glass of water. I take my medication around 3 or 4 AM when I get up to use the bathroom, then I can take my warm lemon water as soon as I wake up. Then I brush my teeth with homemade toothpaste. So far, so good. Good luck!

  6. Anne says:

    Looking at the comments above, shame that you can't get home grown lemons, no wax, potentially no downfall at all 🙂

  7. Jamie says:

    Hi! If you don’t have fresh lemons on hand, can organic lemon juice (nothing added) work?

  8. Dan says:

    Really? Why do people post things like this that have no basis in reality. Alkalinize the body by drinking lemon water? Lemons are full of citric acid. Acid, as in the opposite of alkaline. Nevermind the fact that the body’s pH is in a tightly regulated range between about 7.35-7.45 regardless of what you eat or drink and the little bit of citric acid you will get in some lemon water will merely be oxidized with approximately < 1% even reaching the urine.

    This entire post is fiction that is nearly 100% disproved by science. Drinking water is good. Adding lemons won't hurt. Drinking water instead of soft drinks is definitely good. But don't pretend that there are all kinds of amazing detoxification things happening from it.

    • guest says:

      Consuming things such as lemons and apple cider vinegar actually help maintain a desirable body Ph by stimulating the body to make its own adjustments. I used to wonder about that too until I did some research.

      • kubz says:

        Your body naturally "maintans a desirable body pH and it doesnt need lemons to help stimulate it… In fact, by comsuming lemon wtaer and the alkanline (i know it's weird because we naturally think it's acidic because of the idea of citric acid and what not but it's actually very alkaline!) that comes along with it, you're attempting to deviate from the natural pH range… which of course the body NATURALLY counteracts and it definitely does not need acidic foods to help stimulate that!

        • Bubb says:

          Do you realize that the manner in which your body accomplishes "maintaining a desirable body pH" if it's too acidic is by LEACHING alkaline minerals, such as calcium, from bones and tissues? That's one of the reasons why the four countries with the highest consumption of meat and dairy products (which raise acidity in the body) also are the four countries with the highest incidence of bone density loss and osteoporosis.

          Yes, the body regulates it's pH to keep blood chemistry in the range of 7.35 to 7.45 without which we would die. But it frequently does it at the expense of the health of various tissues, bones and organs.

          • @MimaGeere says:

            agree with this sentiment. Seems counterintuitive but the body counteracts its internal acidity by alkalinizing the acidity from the lemons.

            Heres a great review article that summarizes the research on diets that are meant to "alkalinize" your blood.

            Alkaline diets result in a more alkaline urine pH and may result in reduced calcium in the urine, however, as seen in some recent reports, this may not reflect total calcium balance because of other buffers such as phosphate. There is no substantial evidence that this improves bone health or protects from osteoporosis. However, alkaline diets may result in a number of health benefits as outlined below

            Increased fruits and vegetables in an alkaline diet would improve the K/Na ratio and may benefit bone health, reduce muscle wasting, as well as mitigate other chronic diseases such as hypertension and strokes.
            The resultant increase in growth hormone with an alkaline diet may improve many outcomes from cardiovascular health to memory and cognition.
            An increase in intracellular magnesium, which is required for the function of many enzyme systems, is another added benefit of the alkaline diet. Available magnesium, which is required to activate vitamin D, would result in numerous added benefits in the vitamin D apocrine/exocrine systems.
            Alkalinity may result in added benefit for some chemotherapeutic agents that require a higher pH.
            From the evidence outlined above, it would be prudent to consider an alkaline diet to reduce morbidity and mortality of chronic disease that are plaguing our aging population. One of the first considerations in an alkaline diet, which includes more fruits and vegetables, is to know what type of soil they were grown in since this may significantly influence the mineral content. At this time, there are limited scientific studies in this area, and many more studies are indicated in regards to muscle effects, growth hormone, and interaction with vitamin D.

    • Ginger says:

      Nice post. If there were some kind of miracle detox, our M.D.'s would be telling us about it. All I ever hear is "drink a lot of water, watch sugar and caffeine intake, eat healthy and exercise". With that being said, this article is probably a good way to get people thinking and perhaps get them to drink water.

  9. Deb Mendoza says:

    I have been a warm lemon water convert for 3 years….my pH tests always run in the normal range, and I test 2x per month.
    I have not had a cold, or flu, in as many years, and I am a school teacher!
    I have one cup upon rising, and rinse my mouth immediately after based on advice from my dental hygienist, do not brush teeth immediately after, but rather, swish water and wait about an hour before brushing.
    It does seem to curb my appetite, but I have never been a breakfast person.
    I gave up coffee, yes, gave up coffee, 5 years ago and was looking for a morning ritual beverage, and warm lemon water with a capful of Liquid Light is it.

  10. Charlie says:

    I have been practicing the lemon detox in the morning for some time and I can vouch it is good. I am reaping the benefits from this yellow zesty zing!

  11. helen carolan says:

    I been drinking lemon water for couple of years. I've not noticed any I drink it because I like it and c
    Not fond of water without lemon in it. I drink average of 3 pints a day, hot/warm

  12. Maggie says:

    Hi Max, I appreciate all the hard work you put into this article. However, where you were talking about pH, as a nurse I understand saliva and urine having broad range for pH, however for the human serum blood pH is an extremely tight range of 7.35-7.45 and even a slight change can be very serious. It would take many lemons to change blood chemistry but thought it should be mentioned as most physicians would look at a patient as being a bit off the deep end if they came in and said they wanted to change their pH. Just thought this is worth mentioning.


  13. Joanna says:

    I have been drinking a cup of hot water with the juice of half a lemon every morning for more years than I can remember. Sometimes I add liquid stevia to have a kind of hot lemonade. If coming down with a cold, I will add honey and steep with a teaspoon of dried elderberries. Delish!

  14. Breny says:

    I m an average weight lady And don’t want to lose weight.. I have known the benefits of lemon+ water and want to have it as part of my routine. Can I have this during any time of the day?? And any other option having it without loosing weight..

  15. Heather Franchini says:

    A couple questions/wonders:

    I had a friend tell me about her experience with the Master Cleanse. I don’t ever plan on doing this specific cleanse, but she did mention how quickly you have to use the lemons because once cut open the lemon begins to lose its nutrients/compounds/etc. What is your expertise on this? On occasion I find myself craving hot lemon water instead of coffee in the mornings, in which i use half a lemon one morning and use the other half the next morning. If I were to start the 14 day lemon water challenge would a fresh lemon each morning be necessary?

    Lastly, what are your thoughts on adding honey to the morning lemon water mixture? (health benefit wise, not flavor)

  16. carol says:

    So Do we keep the peels or no

  17. Shirley Cutter says:

    I’m a 57 yr. old women with a small frame. I’m about 114 pds. I’m a healthy eater. I started drinking about 3 8oz. glasses a day for about 3 weeks. I have noticed that I haven’t had that bloaty feeling in my stomach and I’m very regular now. That alone is a great thing. Also I don’t feel as hungry. My daughter is a dental hygienist and said to use a straw and rinse after drinking lemon water.

  18. BWalters says:

    I've been drinking lemon water for about two months now. Having a harder time replacing my morning coffee but when I do it makes a difference. The crazy thing is, is that now I have to have lemon all the time, as though IT has now become my craving. The more lemon in my water, the better.

  19. Jew says:

    This may sound ridiculous, but what about lemon herbal tea, with nothing else added, not even honey?

  20. sophia says:

    Hi .. Great article. Nicely detailed. Any good suggestions to replace the morning coffee with hot lemon water. Tried it a few times – fails every time. I just love my coffee.. it brings me some kind of safety. I feel comforted. But I do want to change for the sake of my beautiful body.
    Much love,

  21. Carey says:

    Carey Reams published this information in the 70’s.

  22. Paula says:

    Hi, I'm 62 and I want to know can you drink hot lemon more than twice a day? I weigh 200 lbs.

  23. Deanna says:

    The photo shows a pitcher of water with cut up lemon. Others talk about one glass and squeezed lemon in it. Exactly how do I make this lemon water and if I make a pitcher of it how long will it last? 3 days? A week? Thanks.

  24. @MimaGeere says:

    I think you mean "increase insulin sensitivity" not "reduce insulin sensitivity". Lemon water reduces insulin resistance and allows your body to do what its meant to do, metabolize blood sugar rather than keeping it elevated in the blood stream. Hope that makes sense.

  25. Casper says:

    Max WIlliams, you might want to know that this scam blog has plagiarized your text:
    The just ran it throgh Google translate, but didn't bother to translate certain words such as 'alcalize' into Danish. Even if you don't read Danish, your text is easily identifiable by the footnotes list.
    It appears to be a non-commercial blog run by a physiologist and a dietist, but actually they also sell 'Garcinia Cambogia – the slimming pill that works'. The two persons behind he blog have been equipped with very common Danish names, so they will be difficult to verify. There is a very unlikely background story telling that they have a cooperation with the Danish full grain business, but that text has English words in it and mentions a US based organisation.

  26. avalerino says:

    I've been drinking warm lemon water daily for almost a year now. I've noticed a ton of positive changes in my body. I used to drink coffee all day long but now I have lemon water, one cup of coffee, and lemon water for the remainder of the day. My teeth are actually better off (according to my hygienist) without the coffee even with the acidity of the lemon. I oil pull, brush my teeth, then have lemon water. I don't know what improvements are from the oil pulling and what are from the lemon water but my skin has cleared up, my hair is thicker and shinier, my energy levels are way higher than before, my teeth are whiter and stronger (stronger is probably from the oil pulling). I've heard a lot about it increasing metabolism and helping with weight loss but I cannot attest to either. I'm at a healthy weight now and was before the lemon water/oil pulling so it's hard to say if it's affected me in that area.

    Great article. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Caz says:

    Could you tell me if it is safe to drink lemon water if you are taking prescription medications? I am on Riociguat, diuretics and warfarin

  28. emily says:

    I've been drinking warm lemon water with a dash of honey and apple cider vinegar every morning for over a month and have noticed 0 differences. That's right. A big fat lot of nothing has changed. I don't feel any different, my digestion, weight, skin are all exactly the same. My moods haven't altered and I'm even coming down with a cold. Another fad from the health food industry and a waste of money on fresh lemons every day!

  29. Resh says:

    I have been drinking lemon infused water daily now for the past year (1 to 2 Litres during the course of the day) and have experienced huge benefits. My IBS has all but dissapeared (no horrid cramps, bloaded tummy, etc), haven’t had a bladder infection at all this year (usually at least once a month). My skin glows! My monthly cycle has been so much more bearable…no cramps, mood swings, ect. I have only taken 2 sick days this year (had the flu). The benefits are real and i have recommended to all my friends and family that they add lemons to their water!

  30. Arda says:

    Is it possible to drink too much lemon water in a day? I've been drinking but lemon water for the last three days plus one cup of coffee in the morning. Also, are fresh lemons necessary to get the full benefit? I'm using concentrate that you can find in those small lemon-shaped bottles in the produce section. Thanks!

  31. aquib says:

    it is good for itching?

  32. len says:

    in less than 2 weeks I lost 5inches off my waist.. my skin's brighter.. I drink lemon water all the time and it really helped me and I will continue drinking this 🙂 I'm just so happy with the results! 🙂

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