Lemon Water Fast or The Lemon Water Detox Diet - Swolverine

A couple of new detox diets have hit the internet lately, Lemon Water Fasting and the Lemon Water Detox Diet. But before you go grabbing a restaurant size bag of lemons and chugging water, you’re going to need a pre and post-game strategy, as well as a little more information as to whether not it is right for you and your health. Many sources claim that lemon water fasting and the lemon water detox diets have powerful detoxifying, weight loss, and health benefits, but what does the research say? 

Lemon Water Fast or The Lemon Water Detox Diet - Swolverine

What Is Lemon Water

It’s just that - lemon and water. The amount of lemon juice in the water depends on your goals and the person’s preference. Too little may not be enough for any benefit, while too much can end up being too acidic and harsh. Some people like to drink lemon water warm while others prefer to drink it cold (I personally like it warm, like a tea). More recently, lemon water has become popular with individuals who like to practice intermittent fasting, a pattern of eating (not to be confused with a diet), as a morning elixir.

According to the United States Department for Agriculture database, the nutrient breakdown for lemon water containing one 48 gram (g) squeezed lemon is as follows:

  • 10.6 calories
  • 18.6 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, or 21% DV
  • 9.6 micrograms (mcg) of folate, or 2% DV
  • 49.4 mg of potassium, or 1% DV
  • 0.01 mg of vitamin B-1, or 1% DV
  • 0.01 mg of vitamin B-2, or 1% DV
  • 0.06 mg of vitamin B-5, or 1% DV

While the nutritional impact is small, lemon water can be a great way to hydrate while boosting vitamin C intake.

Does Lemon Juice Break A Fast?

Putting lemon juice in your water doesn’t have enough of an effect on your blood sugar or insulin levels to break your fast. Sure, lemons and other citrus products do contain calories in the form of fructose, which does stimulate the liver to break a fasted state, but eating and drinking aren’t seen the same in the digestive process.

RELATED ARTICLE What Can You Drink During Your Intermittent Fast

When you drink your lemon water during the intermittent fast with the juice from the slices, the fructose is maintained within the cellular matrix of the lemon. Therefore they’re not released into the liquid, and the fructose hangs out in the lemon outside of your cup, not in the water you’re drinking. Lemon water is a great addition to an intermittent fasting routine or as another way to increase hydration throughout the day.

What is The Lemon Water Detox Diet

The lemon water detox or the lemon water diet. The lemon water diet incorporates a two-week time frame, with no solid foods. The idea behind the diet originates from medical procedures that use drug-based therapies to remove drugs, toxins, and alcohol from the body.

Unlike other diets, you don’t actually change anything else about your diet, you just go on a 14-day fast. The recommended time period is two weeks and designed to help individuals lose weight (there’s no research for this, by the way).

Each day you will need to drink lemon juice mixed with water, just in different amounts (see recipes below).

Lemon Water Detox Diet Recipes:


Day 1

1 lemon juice mixed with 1 cup of water


Day 2

2 lemons juice mixed with 2 cups of water.


Day 3

3 lemons juice mixed with 3 cups of water.


Day 4

4 lemons juice mixed with 4 cups of water.


Day 5

5 lemons juice mixed with 5 cups of water.


Day 6

6 lemons juice mixed with 6 cups of water.


Day 7

3 lemons juice mixed with 10 cups of water (add 1 tbsp. of honey and drink the mix during the day).


Day 8

6 lemons juice mixed with 6 cups of water.


Day 9

5 lemons juice mixed with 5 cups of water.


Day 10

4 lemons juice mixed with 4 cups of water.


Day 11

3 lemons juice mixed with 3 cups of water.


Day 12

2 lemons juice mixed with 2 cups of water.

Day 13

1 lemon juice mixed with 1 cup of water.


Day 14

3 lemons juice mixed with 10 cups of water (add 1 tbsp. of honey and drink the mix during the day).



Lemon Water Fast or The Lemon Water Detox Diet - Swolverine

What Is A Lemon Water Fast

Anytime you fast, your body internally burns calories from stored energy. The most abundant source of energy is adipose tissue, aka fat. So it makes sense to enter into a fasted state to burn fat for energy instead of glucose from food, right? Right. This is the idea behind the lemon water fast. The lemon water fast is a time in which you drink 1-2 quarts of water per day with the juice of 1 squeezed lemon per 16-oz of water. This is performed for a period of three days, as anything longer than this requires direction from a medical professional.

How To Do A Lemon Water Fast

In order to do the lemon water fast properly (which also has no research behind it) you will want to prepare your body prior to the fast as well as prepare to reintroduce foods to the body after the 3-day fasting period.

Lemon Water Fast: Before

About a week before your lemon water fast start state, it’s recommended that you phase out any processed foods, including sugars, stimulants like caffeine, and alcohol. For at least three days prior to the beginning of the fast, you should be eating only raw foods, like fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. These foods will kickstart the liver to be in a more detoxifying state due to the reduction of added chemicals and food overall. The last time you eat is the night before the morning of your first lemon water fast day.

Lemon Water Fast: During

Every day it is recommended that you drink two quarts of water per day. While you can drink more than this, its extremely important to not drink more than three quarts per day, as it is possible to drink too much water (this can cause death). Spreading water consumption throughout the entire day, you’ll want to make sure that in every 16 ounces of water that you drink there is the juice of 1 whole lemon.

During the fast individuals experience lethargy, loss of strength, focus, and clarity due to a lack of nutrients. Many explain the feeling similar to that of being heavily medicated or being under the influence. That being said, it’s not really advised to do intense workouts with heavy lifting or operating motor vehicles because your judgment may be impaired from a lack of nutrients. Instead, it’s recommended that you take the three days to detox from most things that you regularly do and to lean more into mentally restorative activities, such as yoga, meditation, or reading.

The fast will cause you to lose water weight, which will most likely all come back when you’re done with the lemon water fast. The goal of the fast is to give the GI tract a break and to clean out any gunky, leftover food particles, and waste that becomes built up in the digestive tract.

Lemon Water Fast: After

When breaking a fast it is extremely important not to gorge yourself with everything in sight. Instead, plan your meal out ahead of time and start very, very small. When your body hasn’t had food, too much can cause a giant disruption and shock to the system. Instead, opt for little pieces of juicy fruit every couple of hours and by the end of the day, depending on your body, you may be ready to have a gentle and small meal. As you progress into the days after the fast, gently reintroduce whole, natural, and minimally processed foods with an emphasis on avoiding sugars and processed foods.

Lemon Water Fast or The Lemon Water Detox Diet - Swolverine

Lemon Water Fast Side Effects

Look, your liver naturally detoxifies your body. Trying to detoxify your body on top of that can have good intentions, but turn out quite sour (excuse the pun). Even though lemon is great for the body, too much lemon in the mouth can cause unnecessary and unwanted tooth decay because of the citric acid. Other side effects may be heartburn caused by the acid in the lemons, headaches, nausea, and lethargy or fatigue from a lack of nutrients and food.

Lastly, the biggest warning against the lemon water detox diet is this — a severe lack of nutrients. Without real food, you miss out on vital vitamins and minerals that contribute to the functioning of your entire body. So is it a diet that most nutritionists or registered dietitians would recommend for someone looking to advance their health? Probably not.

How Does Your Body Naturally Detox

The body detoxifies itself every day.

  • Large Intestine: The large intestine absorbs nutrients from food and takes them into the bloodstream. The body then excretes the remaining nutrients as solid waste.
  • Liver: The liver acts as the body's primary filtration system, helping to eliminate toxins from the body, cleanse the blood, and metabolize nutrients and medications.
  • Kidneys: The kidneys filter blood, removing leftover waste and making sure that the body has sufficient amounts of water to stay hydrated
  • Lungs: The lungs remove waste CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the blood, exhaling it out of the body

Does The Lemon Water Detox Diet Work

Fasting and drinking lemon water for 14 days isn't a sustainable weight loss or detox diet. If adding in a lemon drink in the morning creates a healthy habit and jumpstarts your day so that you have the encouragement to make progress happen the rest of the day, then sure, do it. But that doesn't mean that you have to not eat for 2 weeks as if it's your only chance at seeing your body composition change. If anything, it'll probably put undue stress on your body, mind, and everyday life, taking away from your health instead of contributing to it.

Does The Lemon Water Fast Work

Sure, I mean, not eating food and starving yourself just about always creates weight and water weight loss. Does that mean it works? No, not really.

If you’re looking to remove buildup and toxins in your body and reducing the pressure on your GI system, instead of turning to a fad diet and fasting pattern, take a good hard look at what you eat every day.

This will tell you whether or not what you're choosing to put in your body is improving or taking away from your overall health. Your liver’s job is to naturally detoxify your body, so if you want to help it out, maybe stop putting so many dang toxins in your body in the first place.

Which One Should You Do

Neither. In our opinion, the lemon water detox diet and the lemon water fast are just another fads and quick-fix traditional diet culture BS created for someone looking to feel better about themselves and their health without actually making significant or sustainable changes. We're not the only ones that think this. In fact, there isn't any viable or sufficient clinical evidence or science to support the diet or the fast.

If you’re looking to make a nice, long, sustainable change and improvement in your health, then it’s time to start making better decisions with the food and drink that you decide to put into your body. You can’t put low-grade fuel in a rocket ship, why should your body be any different? Instead, start by making small changes to what you eat on a daily basis by incorporating whole foods like vegetables and fruit, paired with functional complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Watch your body transform without fasting, restricting, or any sour water concoctions with no scientific evidence behind them. 

Need Help With Optimizing Your Diet And Nutrition Plan To Finally Get The Results You've Been Waiting For?

The Swole Kitchen is an exclusive membership opportunity for those who are looking to pursue a performance-driven lifestyle. By combining wellness consulting, nutritional lifestyle improvement, and 1:1 customized nutrition plans to our members, our programs aim to optimize human potential. In each of our programs, you’ll receive guidance to reclaim your health, fuel your lifestyle, and pursue performance ambitions, all while learning how to make nutritional decisions from a place of self-trust and intuition. All of our coaches are committed to providing the highest level of results-driven wellness to our members.

We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.

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