Lemon Water Is Great For Hydration — But Don't Drink Too Much

Lemon water is considered a magic potion of sorts. It's often touted as a beverage that can help knock a couple of digits off the scale and provide hydration in an instant. While there is some truth to its power, the benefits of lemon water have been stretched a little too far. Additionally, much like anything consumed in excess, drinking too much lemon water can have negative side effects, too.

While adding lemon juice to your glass can help some people to drink more water – consequently boosting hydration – the thing about lemon water is it's high in citric acid. According to Healthline, citric acid helps your body to better absorb nutrients, metabolize energy, and prevent kidney stones. Citric acid is also why consuming too much lemon water can do more harm than good. 

As a study published by the National Library of Medicine explains, citric acid can have a harmful effect on your teeth, causing them to break down. In fact, lemon juice is even more acidic than sodas like Diet Coke, orange juice, or apple juice, which is why it's best to consume lemon water in moderation.

The side effects of drinking too much lemon water

The side effects of drinking lemon juice can be harmful and even painful. For one, the acid present in lemon juice can cause your tooth enamel to erode over time, according to Fischer Institute. This opens your teeth up to decay, pain, and sensitivity. A study conducted by PLOS One found that lemon juice can even cause more tooth erosion than Red Bull. Per Dentistry of West Bend, those who have canker sores should also be wary of lemons, as their juice could make things more painful. 

The acidity of lemons can also irritate your intestines and esophagus, causing ulcers and acid reflux. This makes lemon water a particularly harmful drink for those prone to these conditions. Lemons can also cause excessive gastric production, leading to health issues like vomiting,  nausea, and heartburn. Citrus fruits like lemons are also considered by Everyday Health to be a trigger food for migraines. As good as lemon water can be, it is best to keep these side effects in mind if you tend to drink several glasses of it every day.

This does not mean you should never drink lemon water

These side effects are not to say that lemon water must be avoided at all costs. A single glass of lemon water with the juice of a 48-gram lemon can make up for 21% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, reports Healthline. Ingesting vitamin C may aid your body in beneficial ways, in helping you to produce collagen and absorb iron. 

If you're craving the tart lemon-lime taste found in carbonated drinks, drinking lemon water may be a better alternative. The drink comes with additional benefits, like increasing gastric acid in your body. In turn, this may help you to digest food better. Prevention explains that drinking lemon water may even be able to reduce your hunger pangs, which could aid in weight loss. 

In general, it is considered safe to consume around four to six tablespoons of lemon juice — roughly two to three lemons — diluted over several glasses of water in a day, per Care/of. Consider drinking lemon juice with a straw to minimize its contact with your teeth. In case you have ulcers, mouth sores, or acid reflux, it might be best to steer clear of lemon water altogether.