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The main ‘dangers’ of drinking lemon juice on an empty stomach, According to experts

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Although it is often believed to have benefits, drinking lemon juice on an empty stomach could lead to a number of problems in the long run

The lemon juice in the morning could be very beneficial to our health, not only for its ability to weight loss, but for the great benefits it contains to boost the immune system. However, there is a false belief that taking lemon juice on an empty stomach increases its benefits, something that is not entirely true and that it could carry certain risks.

For a lifetime it has been believed that a glass of warm water with some lemon juice on an empty stomach is one of the healthiest and most recommended practices to start the day. 

According to hypotheses, warm water prepares our stomach to eat food, as well as to stimulate the intestines. For its part, lemon “purifies the body” and “alkalizes it”, as it forms part of the alkaline diet, and also provides the vitamin C necessary for proper daily functioning.

Fasting Lemon Juice Misconceptions

In general, lemon juice is attributed a satiating power by the dietary fiber of the lemon, as well as a great contribution in polyphenols that prevent weight gain by acting as a fat burner and even improve the skin and prevent cancer.

Despite all these beliefs, the only demonstrable benefit in this that we have just said is that a freshly raised glass of warm water can hydrate us, but nothing to do with lemon. The rest of the supposed benefits are not scientifically proven, so saying that lemon juice “cleanses the body” is false and totally ambiguous.

In addition, it is also completely false that lemon juice contributes to body pH in accordance with the alkaline diet, since it implies a contribution of ascorbic acid that in the first instance presents a low pH. In addition, it is not satiating either, beyond the power of the water itself, because the squeezed lemon juice lacks vegetable fiber unless we eat the pulp later.

Despite its low pH, lemon juice is considered alkaline-forming because after it’s metabolized it leaves an alkaline ash in the body.

says dietitian Lauren O’Connor, owner of Nutri Savvy Health and author of The Healthy Alkaline Diet Guide.

For their part, polyphenols, which are found mainly in the pores of the lemon peel that produce the characteristic smell of lemon, it is true and they certify that these substances help in mice to control weight by inhibiting the formation of fatty matter, but in the same they were given to the animals large quantities of them, which would be disproportionate to humans.

In addition, it is not proven to improve the quality of our skin, nor they stimulate the synthesis of dermal collagen. On the other hand, the contribution of vitamin C, if it is correct, the amounts they contribute do not cover the daily minimum: 90 mg/day in men and 75 mg/day in women.

Reasons not to drink lemon juice on an empty stomach

There are numerous reasons not to drink lemon juice on an empty stomach. The first one is that being a clearly acidic product, it can lead to heartburn or the beginning of gastric ulcer, which can accentuate these problems, given the low pH of the juice. Therefore, it is best to take products that do not further acidify the mucosa.

“Lemons are naturally acidic with a pH between 2 and 3. That is bad news for acid reflux sufferers because acidic foods trigger heartburn and can irritate an already inflamed throat (a symptom of Silent Reflux)”, said O’Connor.

Moreover, what we are drinking is lemon juice, a drink that contains free sugars and no vegetable fiber. Probably the amount of sugars is ridiculous, but if we think its vitamin contribution is enough for the morning, we will refrain from eating one or several pieces of fruit with its pulp, which are equal to or richer in vitamins, have satiating fiber and they also hydrate us.

“Any acidic beverage like lemon water will wear away tooth enamel over time,” explains Jack Hirschfeld, DDS, a clinical instructor at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s School of Dental Medicine.

If you are slowly eroding your enamel – or outer layer of your teeth – you may be setting your teeth up for being more sensitive or prone to cavities down the road.

Image Credit: Getty

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