Drinking THIS before breakfast really can help you lose weight – and it helps banish spots too

Jennifer Aniston. Hilary Duff. Christie Brinkley – they're all supposed to massive fans of drinking a daily dose of lemon water.

But what exactly does it do, and can it really help us to lose body fat?

What exactly is lemon water?

It's exactly what it says on the tin – it's hot water with lemon juice added in.

There are no rules about how much lemon juice you add; you can slice up a bit of fruit and add it in or squeeze an entire lemon. Some people add the rind too.

It's great for the skin

Lemon water contains a load of vitamins

Celebs and other wellness freaks drink it because it's supposed to lift your mood, energy levels, improve your immune system and your metabolism – helping you lose weight.

Half a lemon contains 25 per cent of your recommended daily intake of the vitamin – which can help improve cardiovascular and eye health, as well as reducing our risk of things like stroke and cancer.

Dr Sarah Brewer told The Sun: "Citrus fruits contain antioxidant polyphenols and vitamin C which protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals (the things that cause cancer and wrinkles).

"Vitamin C also helps to lower cholesterol levels by promoting the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. Antioxidants in general also lower cholesterol by protecting circulating LDL (good cholesterol) particles from oxidation so they return to the liver for recycling rather than contributing to furring up of the arteries."

The beauty industry has known about the anti-ageing properties of vitamin C for some time, and you can buy a tonne of vitamin C serums and creams.

But Dr Brewer says that diet should always come first.

"Preclinical studies suggest that a citrus-based juice drink can “potentially prevent oxidative stress-induced premature skin ageing."

And it helps us stay hydrated

So we know that lemon water might help us to combat the signs of ageing because of its vitamin C content.

But the water aspect is also important. Water improves the health of our skin – particularly if you're not getting enough generally.

One of the things about weight loss is that many of us think we're hungry when we're actually thirsty. So kicking off the day with a very low-calorie, refreshing drink can give us a little clarity about how we're genuinely feeling.

It may also prolonge fasting

There's a load of evidence to suggest that intermittent fasting is great for weight loss. It involves reducing the pocket of time in which you eat to (normally) around eight hours, allowing your body to fully digest what you've eaten for the other 16, and get to work on any excess stores of fat.

During those fasting hours, you're supposed to only consume fat-free, sugar-free drinks like black coffee, tea and water. But a hot lemon water is also a good caffeine-free alternative.

But it can't detox the body

Loads of people drink lemon water because they think it's got detoxifying properties and that by waking up and drinking it first thing, they're somehow cleansing their systems.

But the truth is, the whole concept of detox is a load of nonsense.

You can think of your digestive system a bit like a rubbish treatment plant. It's there to treat and dispose of trash – which releases enzymes and chemicals to break down and dispose of harmful compounds. And that system runs 24/7, meaning that it doesn't need a break or a helping hand.

Leading Harley Street Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert previously told The Sun: "Any suggestion that the human body can be detoxed with a juice cleanse is incorrect. We are naturally designed to remove toxins using our liver and kidneys – a juice cleanse won't perform such a detox."

And it can't help us lose weight in and of itself

Lemons do genuinely increase your metabolic rate and can help to keep blood sugar balanced by slowing down the rate at which your body digests starch via a fibre called pectin.

But you're not eating an entire lemon here – you're taking some of the juice and majorly diluting it.

A cup of the stuff is only going to contain a trace of pectin so it's not going to help you lose any more weight than a glass of regular water would.

It's also can destroy your tooth enamel

Citrus is terrible for acid erosion – eating away at the top protective layer of your teeth. In fact, studies have found that people who eat citrus fruits more than twice a day are 37 times more likely to experience dental erosion than someone who eats them less frequently.

With lemon water, you're diluting that problem a bit so it's not as if you're squeezing acid straight onto your gnashers, but it might still be a risk.

Make sure that you rinse your mouth with pure water after drinking it, use a straw if possible, and definitely do not brush your teeth straight after having a lemon water (it might make erosion worse).

But that's not to say that it can't help us to make better decisions

Sometimes doing something you believe to be healthy can help to put in place other healthy habits. Lemon water might not have any weight loss properties per se but having a cup in the morning might make you feel refreshed in a way that say, a sugary cappuccino might not. And its refreshing taste probably suits something healthy like a fruit salad or boiled eggs better than your regular pastry breakfast.

Drink lemon water for the taste rather than for any supposed health benefits because realistically, you won't be getting the nutrients in the amount needed to make any difference.

But drinking more low-calorie fluids is always good and apart from anything else, it might help you to break out your unhealthy morning cycle of calorific hot drinks and foods.

So no, it won't help you to lose weight but it might help you to make better decisions.

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