The latest weight-loss trend to conquer social media is coffee mixed with lemon. Videos of people trying the concoction on platforms like TikTok have become common and searches for the terms “coffee, lemon, and weight loss” have increased substantially over the last year.
Uploads like the one posted by Hilda Ama Braso, which showed the TikTokker drink a coffee and lemon brew on her third day of the diet, have received thousands of likes.
“Millions of people are being benefited by the coffee lemon mixture to lose fat and weight which are itself two unique ingredients best known for its calories burning and fat cutting abilities,” claims website Health Buffet, which features different ways to mix the two common kitchen staples.
Is there any truth in the claim that coffee mixed with lemon is a “weight-loss hack” or that it is the “STRONGEST BELLY FAT BURNER,” as one YouTube video which has been viewed over 600,000 times boldly states?
“This is nonsense,” Marcela Fiuza, dietician and member of the British Dietetic Association (BDA), told Newsweek. “There is no physiological explanation that would justify mixing coffee and lemon to lose weight.”
Fiuza, who operates the website Marcela Nutrition, adds that as there is no evidence of coffee and lemon assisting in weight loss, she wouldn’t advise anyone going down this route.
The dietician adds: “Not only it is unlikely to have any beneficial effect on weight, but too much caffeine might also cause nervousness, insomnia, nausea, increased blood pressure, and other problems.”
Aisling Piggott is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with the BDA. She told Newsweek that there was no scientific evidence of coffee and lemon assisting weight loss in humans.
“Much of the research into either lemon or coffee and weight loss is done in mice. Mice are not human and have very different metabolic pathways to us,” she says. “There is not a scientific basis to link weight loss to coffee and lemon in humans.”
Like Fiuza, Piggott also points to the possible negative effect of too much caffeine in a diet, adding that alongside the possible benefit of boosting alertness comes side effects like withdrawal.
She continues that while lemons can be considered healthy due to the fact they are high in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant, it would be wrong to consider the fruit a “wonder food” or a pill for weight loss. Any benefits conferred by lemons depend on the diet in which they sit.
Fiuza offers her opinion on why trends like the coffee and lemon “hack” spread so easily on social media platforms like TikTok.
“People compare themselves to others and social media creates an environment in which people compare their lives, eating habits, etc to the perceived ones of the person posting, often in sponsored posts which have been heavily edited,” she says.
The dietitian added that the best solution for weight loss suggested by science is still a combination of a healthy diet and exercise.” The best diet needs to be one that works for you in the long term,” Fiuza continues. “Overly restrictive diets are not the solution and often lead to yo-yo dieting which is harmful to overall health. “
Piggott believes that there is no easy answer when it comes to weight loss, seeing it as a complex problem that hinges on dietary balance and individual needs.
Both BDA dieticians warn against the tendency to seek “magical solutions” to weight loss. Fiuza says: “Posts promoting quick fixes and magical solutions can be extremely damaging and trigger problematic behaviors.”
While Piggott highlights why such solutions may seem appealing: “When a professional like me is saying it’s a complex area, with lots of effort and energy required to solve and an Instagrammer comes up with this magic solution of lemon water… which one is more appealing?
“We love a magic solution to a complex problem!”
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