Drinking lemon water right after meals

by Kerryswan

QUESTION: Is it okay to drink lemon water right after meals because I have heard that it is good to drink it on an empty stomach???

ANSWER: It is best to drink lemon water on an empty stomach. The best time to drink it is as soon as you wake up in the morning and/or 30 minutes BEFORE meals.

Drinking lemon water 30 minutes before a meal will provide additional enzymes and help produce adequate stomach acid to aid digestion and to get the most nutrients out of your food.

I do not recommend drinking lemon water or any fluid right after meals (or during meals) because I believe it will slow down the digestive process by diluting your body's digestive juices.

Depending on what you eat, the digestive process can take several hours, but the major part of the meal is digested within the first hour or so. Thus, it is best to wait at least one hour after meals to start drinking water or lemon water or any other beverage.

The other factor is that digestion is a chemical process in the body that generates heat. So, drinking any cold beverage during, right before, or right after eating will also hinder digestion.

For people who feel they have to drink during or right after meals, I recommend sipping small amounts of filtered water or warm tea.

Generally, when people are very thirsty during or after meals it is because their body is dehydrated or because they are eating foods with too much refined salt.

I am sure you know that optimal digestion is critical for good health.

I believe it is worth doing everything we can to preserve the limited number of enzymes in the body that we are born with and not make our bodies have to use an excess amount of enzymes by drinking fluids during or right after meals.

I hope you enjoy the many health benefits of lemon water! Thank you for visiting my site.

Comments for Drinking lemon water right after meals

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Mar 23, 2018
Very helpful! Thank you
by: Anonymous

This really works and I hadn’t known that before

Oct 25, 2017
by: lollypop

Thank you for this knowledge, please what can I use with lemon juice to slim down?

Sep 24, 2017
Coffee with breakfast?
by: PJ

You mention numerous times NOT to drink with meals and if so only small amounts. But then you say its best to wait 20 minutes after drinking lemon water before drinking coffee or eating.

You say you wait 20 minutes then have coffee with breakfast. So you're drinking coffee while eating breakfast? Contradicting and I need clarification. Thank you!!!

Nancy's response:

Sorry for any confusion, PJ. I think you are referring to my response to another question from someone who wanted to drink both lemon water and coffee in the morning. Here is my response to her:

"You should get the same benefits from drinking lemon water if you drink it either before or after coffee. I would just try it both ways and see how you feel. I prefer drinking lemon water first thing, when I wake up and have coffee with breakfast about 20 min later."

To answer your question, I do believe it is best not to drink anything during meals, except maybe sipping a small amount of room temperature water or warm herbal tea.

However, the question was regarding if someone wants to drink lemon water and coffee in the morning, when is the best time to take them.

Ideally, one would drink lemon water first thing, followed by breakfast 15-30 minutes later. This is because the lemon water will help prepare the body for digestion and nutrient absorption. If one wants to add coffee to the morning, ideally one would have coffee sometime after breakfast.

But some of us don't have the luxury of that much time in the morning, such as myself, because I get up very early and have to be at work by 6 am.

Thus, I drink lemon water upon arising and then have my coffee with a light breakfast (either a smoothie or piece of toast with almond butter usually). Or I will have my coffee on the way to work.

I believe the most important thing is not to drink too much of any beverage with a large meal (preferably no more than about 4 ounces) and never iced beverages for the reasons explained in my article: Lemon in Water - How Much, How Often, Hot or Cold?

It's not ideal to drink coffee with breakfast, but since I have limited time in the morning, I just have a small cup of coffee, and my breakfast is light, digestion has not been an issue.

So that is my compromise because I want to drink both lemon water and coffee in the morning on a tight schedule.

If I worked at home or had more time in the morning (or decided to get up a half hour earlier--which is not going to happen, haha), I would drink lemon water first thing, eat breakfast 30 minutes later, then drink coffee sometime after breakfast.

Hope this helps clear up the confusion. . .

Jul 21, 2017
Is water essential for digestion?
by: Anonymous

Thank you for this information!! My question is, shouldn't I drink water with my meals, since water is essential for digestion?

I remember learning this in high school and thinking my parents were ignorant for forcing me to drink milk with my meals even after I informed them that my body needed water to break down the foods. Thank you for your thoughts.


Throughout all of my water research and nutrition training, I have learned that it is best to drink only a small amount of liquid with meals.

If anything, the best beverage to drink with meals is room temperature water (preferably no ice) or warm herbal tea.

I agree with you that milk is about the worst thing to drink with meals. First of all, cow milk protein is extremely difficult to digest for most human beings, children and adults.

My parents said the same thing as yours when I was a child. And of course, they were doing what they thought best at the time. We’ve all been conditioned by the milk industry for many, many years to believe that we need milk for calcium, and it is simply not true.

Milk is not the best source of calcium and there are many other nutrient-dense foods that are healthier—especially seafood and dark leafy green vegetables, as well as almonds, sesame seeds, asparagus, broccoli, brewer’s yeast, cabbage, kale, watercress and prunes.

You are right that we do need water for the digestive process, but it is better to drink the water before meals. For example, drinking 8 to 12 ounces of clean water about 20 to 30 minutes before each meal is ideal. This amount of water will prepare the digestive tract for optimal digestion.

However, if a person is chronically dehydrated, this amount may not be enough. For optimal digestion, we need to stay fully hydrated (between meals) on a daily basis. This means that we are drinking about half our body weight in ounces of water each day.

If interested, you can read more here on drinking enough water if interested.

The main reason we recommend avoiding beverages during meals (or just sipping small amounts of water or warm tea) is because many health experts believe that too much of any type of beverage with a meal can potentially dilute the digestive enzymes, causing the body to work much harder to digest.

The body may also potentially have to utilize even more enzymes in the process. Since we are supposedly born with a limited number of enzymes, I prefer to preserve them when I can because enzymes are critical for every metabolic process in the body.

I believe that drinking iced beverages is also not a good idea because digestion is a chemical process that generates heat in order to break down the food.

Knowing this, I think it stands to reason that drinking iced beverages with meals would affect this process, at least to some degree.

The body would of course adapt and do whatever it takes to try to digest the food, but I am pretty sure it would have to work much harder and use more metabolic resources than necessary.

So in summary, from personal experience and research, I believe that staying hydrated between meals and just sipping (as needed) room temperature water during meals is the best way to support our body’s digestive system.

Thank you for visiting our site and taking time to ask the question.


Jun 09, 2017
by: Sunny

Can I drink the lemon water first and then my morning tea???

ResponseYes, of course.

Mar 28, 2017
Coffee after lemon drink?
by: Diane

I love my coffee in the morning so how soon after drinking the lemon water can I drink my coffee or can I have my coffee first?!


You should get the same benefits from drinking lemon water if you drink it either before or after coffee. I would just try it both ways and see how you feel.

I prefer drinking lemon water first thing, when I wake up and have coffee with breakfast about 20 min later.

Jan 12, 2017
Seen at right time...
by: Sujal soni

Thank you...so much to give this information at right time. Because I was going to drink lime water right now...after read this, I immediately stop to drink lime water...so what my brother was suffering by stomach ache now...🙄🙄🙄

Sep 25, 2016
Reduce weight and glowing skin
by: Anonymous

I want to reduce weight and also want glowing skin. Will it help to get both? I have thyroid problem. Can you please suggest some good tips to reduce my weight?


Drinking lemon water is just one simple way that may help some people improve overall health. The actual benefits depend a lot on the person and the underlying causes of any imbalance in the body.

Drinking lemon water has helped some people lose weight and has also promoted healthy skin for others. So it may or may not bring you those specific benefits, but I think it is worth a try, as long as you don't have any citrus allergies.

Regarding tips for weight loss, you might be interested in the following articles I wrote:

6 Tips for Weight Loss - Normalize Blood Sugar and Raise Metabolism

Healthy Weight Nutrition - 5 Key Areas of Focus

Since you also have a thyroid problem, I suggest you consider seeing a naturopathic doctor who can help you resolve or at least manage the thyroid issue. It is difficult to lose weight or manage weight with specific thyroid issues.

Nancy Hearn

Sep 24, 2016
Great answer
by: Anonymous

Brilliant, good reasoning with the answer given.

Aug 15, 2016
Lemon juice benefits
by: Anonymous

Lemon juice has been great for my skin. I drink it in the morning before breakfast.

Jul 27, 2016
Result of taking water 1 hr after meal
by: Anonymous

If i take water or lemon juice 1 hr after a meal, normally i get constipation or heartburn. So i feel good when taken right after meal.


For optimal digestive benefits, you might want to try drinking it 20 to 30 minutes before a meal.

Jun 06, 2016
Date fruit
by: Muhi

Hi. Is it good to break my fast with dates then drink lemon / lime water or drink lemon water then eat dates? I wanted to eat protein food and carb/fats after the lemon water or dates. I don't have much time to wait after I drink lemon water as we have prayer to attend then I have to workout after prayer. Thank you.

Jun 03, 2016
Lemon water makes you thirsty
by: Anonymous

The reason why lemon water is good for you? Because it makes you thirsty for more water...... and then you drink more lemon water.

May 14, 2016
Loved it
by: Sakshi

I wanted to know how much time I should wait to have breakfast after lemon water and you exactly informed me that.thank you

Feb 26, 2016
Low Blood Pressure
by: Anonymous

Hi - My blood pressure generally is in the 90s so my mornings are not so great. I was suggested by my doctor to drink some sweet juice in the morning to start my day.

Can I still drink the lemon water with a teaspoon of honey? Will my blood pressure drop with lemon water? Thanks.

Feb 24, 2016
Raw lime juice after dinner
by: Anonymous

My friend advised me to drink a lime juice (raw) after dinner to burn the excess body fat & every morning I also take a raw lime juice with one spoon of olive oil in empty stomach. After that I used to go for jogging & exercise...so, is it hygienic or unhygienic?

Feb 16, 2016
hot lemon water
by: Anonymous

Good morning. I read this page and it's really interesting and the answers are really helpful.

I have one question though, I read that drinking coffee after lemon water kills the effect of lemon, so I was wondering if I could take it like 2 hours after breakfast, maybe around 9 o clock since I have breakfast at 6 a.m.

Would the benefits be the same? or could it cause constipation? thanks


Waiting a couple hours to drink it should be fine. Try it and see.

Feb 13, 2016
Constipation with lemon water
by: Anonymous

For me, it is essential regularly going to the toilet, but since I consume lemon water I have constipation.

So I want to ask, do you know what caused my constipation and how can I avoid it? Thank you in advance.


No, I do not know what is causing your constipation. It may or may not have anything to do with the lemon water. Constipation can be caused by any number of things, from diet to stress to medications.

It also depends somewhat on how much lemon water you are drinking. If you are drinking more than 1/2 lemon in water per day, your body may be trying to detoxify.

If you are even slightly dehydrated and your body is trying to detoxify, that can potentially cause temporary constipation.

Lemon water should not replace one's daily intake of clean water.

Nancy Hearn

Sep 03, 2014
Thank you so dearly
by: Ramzy

Hello! I've only just discovered this site and this is the 3rd page I read about the benefits of lemon water. I have to say, I'm eager to read every page here.

But anyway, I started my morning 1 liter lemon water routine about 2 weeks ago, and I won't be lying if I said I already feel positive change in my life.

Since I live in the Middle East, and being a carrier of Beta Thalassemia, my body almost readily sweats even when the temperature is somewhat fine. Thus, my physician recommended me to drink ample amounts of water and always keep that bottle nearby, but then asked if I like lemon. And that's how it began.

I have to admit, my day turned brighter ever since, both physical and mental states are improving just by drinking lemon water.

I'll mention also that I'm so overweight (110 kg which is roughly 240 lbs,) but I plan on changing that with lemon water and exercise (heard swimming is a good/fun start.)

I do however have one question: does the amount of lemon water per day matter?

I mean I became somewhat addicted to it, I drink 1 liter per morning but sometimes get the urge to make another liter by dusk.

Is it ok or is there a limit for lemon water before it starts to cause more harm than good?


You have a smart doctor! Congratulations on the positive health changes you are experiencing, beginning with drinking lemon water.

Yes, the amount of lemon water you drink per day does matter. Please see Drinking Lemon in Water--How Much, How Often, Hot or Cold? for our recommendations.

Also, good luck on your weight loss journey.

Apr 03, 2014
Lemon water after every meal
by: dymondgrl

I read what you put.. I have been drinking a hot cup of lemon water after every meal. I heard it breaks down the fats of the food.

I know now in the morning it's good to drink lukewarm lemon water, which I will do, but how about the hot warm lemon water. Am I doing more harm than good?

Thank you,

Oct 17, 2013
What is the best temperature for lemon water?
by: VKhan

Hi! I found this article really interesting and am planning to include lemon water regularly in my diet.

Just a little question...can we have lemon in cold water first thing in the morning? Or does it have to be water at room temperature only?



I believe you will get the most nutrient and enzyme benefits of fresh-squeezed lemon in water if you drink it at room temperature.

However, as far as I can tell (without being a food scientist), cold or warm water will be nearly or just as effective.

I do not recommend using ice cold water or boiling hot water when making a lemon juice beverage if you are interested in getting the most health benefits.

We know that boiling water when cooking food will destroy many of the enzymes. I suspect it would be the same with lemons.

Many health experts advise not drinking ice cold beverages with food because the chemical processes in the body involved in digestion generate heat. It only makes sense that ice cold beverages would impair that process or at least slow it down.

But you never know, sometimes the only way to find out is to try different temperatures and see if you notice a difference. - Nancy

Jul 15, 2013
Lemon water and meals...
by: Deb

I've found drinking lemon water (yes cold) after a meal really helps with my digestion and mine is awful due to parasites.

If I eat meat or vegetables, I sometimes find they seem stuck in my esophagus and nothing apart from lemon water during/after a meal. It actually helps more than some digestive enzymes and helps a lot more than ACV.

If I drink it in the morning on an empty stomach, I find it makes my mouth and throat REALLY dry for awhile. I only drink it in the morning because it seems to help my skin. It doesn't really help me get moving.

Everybody's body is different. I say listen intently to yours.

Mar 13, 2013
Response to Advantages of Lemons
by: MR X

Thanks for the great advice! Your post totally made sense, it was so easy to comprehend and most of all, your logic regarding keeping the lemon 1.75 cm from the ice tray was something I could never have conceived! Of course,just squeezing half a lemon into a glass of warm water would suffice.

Feb 10, 2012
Lemon water and bloatedness
by: Amy White

Hi, I have heard about the benefits of drinking lemon water and have started drinking it for the past two weeks.

Will it help to reduce bloatedness of my tummy and flatten it? And will it reduce bum and thigh fat? Thanks, Amy

Answer: To answer your question about bloatedness, please see my comments related to lemon water, food intolerance and IBS.

And to answer your question about reducing bum and thigh fat, please see my comments on losing weight with lemon water.

Dec 16, 2011
Advantages of Lemons
by: anonymous

Take a lemon and put in 1 glass full of cold water at room temperature for 15 minutes then replace the cold water with slightly warm water...and let it sit there with lid closed for another 15 minutes.

Take out the lemon and wipe it with clean cloth and keep it in the refrisgerator, then mix the recent slightly warm water with earlier cold water.

Put it in fridge for 20 minutes till it forms ice. Then transfer the lemon from the refrigerator to freezer. Keep it 1.75cm away from ice tray. Let it be there in this condition for 2 hours throughout the lemon and eat the ice cubes.


Nov 14, 2011
Lemon Water When You Feel Thirsty or Weak
by: vikas kumar

I like the article. It is good to drink lemon water when you feel thirsty or when you feel weakness.........

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