Does Drinking Lemon Water Break a Fast

January 5, 2022

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Whenever you’re fasting, it’s important to stay hydrated, however, drinking plain water can get old fast. Lemon water provides the flavor in addition to some vitamins, making it a healthy, tasty choice. 

If you’re actively fasting, does lemon water break a fast? The answer is, no— but while adding lemon water to your routine does not break a fast, there are other considerations.

We’ll be covering when it’s not allowed to drink lemon water based on different fasting types, and more including:

  • Different fasting types and lemon water: when is it allowed?
  • Why does lemon water nutritional value matter during a fast?
  • What’s the difference between lemon water and lemon juice water?
  • What are the benefits of drinking lemon water when fasting?

Different Fasting Types and Lemon Water: When Is It Allowed?

The reasons for fasting are varied, from religious holidays to weight loss plans, and as such, the requirements for lemon water are also different. While the health benefits of lemon water are consistent, in some situations lemon water is not allowed. 

So, when does lemon water break a fast, and when is it allowed? Let’s take a look at the top three scenarios for fasting, and whether you might need to choose plain water over lemon water.

Intermittent Fasting 

One of the more popular diets, intermittent fasting is a great way to shed fat, boost metabolism processes, and achieve a healthier GI tract— and to get these results, you have to balance nutrition and drinking water to stay hydrated.

As a time-restricted eating pattern, those who try intermittent fasting balance a meal plan that has both fasting periods and eating windows, to put the body into a state of fat burning and weight loss, through flipping the metabolic switch to ketosis.

This metabolism switch works by reducing calories into a deficit— so, the key is to not take in calories in the fasting window, sticking to zero-calorie or low-calorie drinks like water, coffee, or green tea. But how does lemon water fit in, given that it’s not a zero-calorie drink— does lemon juice break a fast?

Great news: lemon water is a low-calorie beverage, and as such, it typically doesn’t have enough calories to push you out of a fasting period. 

However, it’s very important to know what kind you are drinking, as even one tablespoon of sugar to sweeten it will raise your insulin levels and break your fast!

So, plain lemon water is acceptable to drink during intermittent fasting periods, for methods like alternate day fasting, OMAD, and even the Warrior Diet.

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Ramadan Fasting

Over the course of an entire lunar month in the spring, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is celebrated. However, part of these festivities involves fasting from dawn to sunset, every day, and only consuming food and beverages at night.

The Ramadan fasting schedule is more rigorous than other forms of intermittent fasting, such as for weight loss, and the eating window is not able to be changed. 

This means lemon water and lemon juice are not allowed during the daylight time period, as the even small amount of calories it contains does not conform to this practice and breaks a religious fast.

Medical Fast

The specifics of your fasting or eating allowances in terms of medical procedures can be very detailed, so it’s best to consult a medical professional to determine what is allowed. 

However, medical fasts generally require the patient to abstain from a full meal or any type of food to eat, with the exception of water in some circumstances. 

It’s important to always follow the instructions of medical professionals in this case, and inquire about lemon water before drinking it, as the citric acid contained in lemon slices or the juice itself might alter any tests or procedures being performed.

Why Does Lemon Water Nutritional Value Matter During a Fast? 

In essence, the whole point of a fasting period is to push your body into a calorie deficit, whether to progress towards weight loss or to fulfill a cultural or medical practice. 

Thus, it’s important to abstain from substances that contain enough calories and carbs to break your fast. And while lemon water might break a medical fast or a Ramadan fast, it does not have enough calories in it to break intermittent fasting for weight loss.

The nutrition information for 3.4 fl. oz of water with 1 ounce of lemon is as follows:

  • 7 calories.
  • 2.4g carbohydrates.
  • 0.1g protein
  • 0g fat.
  • 0.1g fiber.
  • 0.7g sugar.
  • 0.3mg sodium.

As such, because lemon water with lemon juice is only 2 calories for one serving, it does not break fasting. You need to eat or drink something with more than 50 calories to break a fast— and a cup of lemon water doesn’t come close!

That’s why it’s crucial to understand the nutritional information for even seemingly harmless beverages, as accidentally consuming more than 50 calories will break a fast and stop the fat-burning process before it’s even started.

What’s the Difference Between Lemon Water and Lemon Juice Water?

The main difference between lemon drinks is the number of additives they contain. For example, if you simply pop lemon slices into your glass of water, or squeeze the juice in, that is very low in calories and carbohydrates. So, does lemon water break a fast itself? No, but other products might.

However, if you purchase a bottle of “lemon water” with added sugar and other ingredients, the calories, carbohydrates, and especially sugar levels will be much higher, and will likely break a fast.

Beverages that you should stay away from include lemon drinks with artificial flavoring and lemonade. Instead, while intermittent fasting, keep your body in the mode to burn fat and drink water with just the citrus slices or lemon juice in it.

What Are the Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water When Fasting? 

Not only is it important for healthy adults to drink lemon water for hydration, but it also helps during an intermittent fast. In particular, it’s great for freshening the digestive tract, adding to your body’s vitamin levels, and losing weight while intermittent fasting.

Pro: Antioxidants and Vitamin C

Fruits and vegetables bring much-needed nutrition to a diet, and lemons are no different. With plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants, the nutrition aspect of lemons for your immune system and other body processes is important.

Additionally, vitamin C creates collagen that helps keep the skin looking dewy and young, for better dermatological health!

Pro: Helps Treat Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are a painful thing to experience, but studies show that lemons squeezed into your water can help prevent kidney stones from forming and treat them, by increasing urine citrate levels.

Pro: Promotes Weight Loss

A common question about water with lemon and intermittent fasting is, does lemon water help you lose weight? And while hydration is beneficial for health in general, it is a great addition to your diet to lose weight and burn fat.

Instead, staying hydrated during intermittent fasting really helps with the feeling of fullness, staves off hunger pangs, and prevents snacking on carbs or breaking your fast. 

Additionally, scientific evidence shows that polyphenols contained within lemons assist in the process of metabolizing fat stores in the body.

Con: Tooth Damage

Because foods with fresh lemons contain citric acid, repeated consumption could damage your dental health— in particular, the enamel on your teeth. However, this can be offset by using a straw to drink water with lemons, or brushing your teeth afterward.

Con: Upset Stomach

The acid within lemons can also be harsh for your GI tract, leading to heartburn, possible nausea, or even acid reflux when drinking too much. Try alternating plain water between water with lemons to give your system a break.

Conclusion 

Water with lemons is a great way to get hydrated during intermittent fasting, as the calorie count it contains is not enough to break a fast. But does lemon water help you lose weight? 

Well luckily, it keeps you full enough to extend fasting periods and beat meal cravings, so keeping hydrated with citrus in your water is generally a good idea— just be wary of added sugar! 

Plus, track your water intake, fasting windows, and weight loss progress with the DoFasting app, your resource for everything you need during intermittent fasting.

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