On a TikTok channel with more than 38,000 followers and 360,000 likes, a man who presents himself as a doctor reacts favourably to videos by people who claim to have lost weight thanks to combining “a spoonful of instant coffee, the juice of half a lemon and a cup of hot water”. The reactions have generated tens of thousands of views. However, this association is FALSE. There is no scientific evidence that this combination has any nutritive properties that would facilitate weight loss.
A spoonful of instant coffee, the juice of half a lemon and a glass of hot water help you lose weight.
The TikTok channel contains several posts in which the person who calls himself a doctor reacts positively to numerous videos in which people of all kinds claim that they have lost weight by mixing coffee and lemon juice.
“There is no proof that coffee, lemon or a combination of the two” has any effect on weight loss, Giuseppe Russolillo (Spanish only), PhD in Nutrition and president of the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, explains to Verificat.
Emili Ros, former director of the Lipid Clinic in the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service of Hospital Clinic Barcelona, agrees with him. He rules out the possibility that mixing coffee with lemon has any positive effect.
A search for the terms “coffee” and “lemon” in the PubMed search engine, a database with over 34 million citations for biomedical literature, yields 35 results, but none of them suggest that the combination of the two foods would cause weight loss.
Since no studies on the subject exist, it is not possible to know whether the combination could have adverse effects on health, explains María Sanchidrián, expert in Clinical Nutrition at the University of Granada, to Verificat. The expert points out, nevertheless, that lemon and coffee “are two things that trigger reflux individually, and if you put them together, it gets worse”, and emphasises that “the acidity of lemon juice damages the enamel of the teeth, especially if the person brushes their teeth after” consuming this mix.
Coffee in studies
Caffeine promotes the secretion of noradrenaline and dopamine, two neurotransmitters – chemical messengers that send, drive and balance the signals between neurons – that stimulate neuron activity in various parts of the brain. These mechanisms, which in theory could be translated into a loss of weight and body fat, have resulted in research about whether consuming coffee could have any effect on weight loss.
In this sense, a number of revisions (here and here) suggest that, despite several studies that show positive results, there is still not enough scientific evidence for definitively including coffee in diets for reducing body weight.
Rumours on social media sharing supposed secrets to losing weight, such as this one that we already fact-checked, are common. The one about mixing coffee and lemon having weight-loss properties is a recurring rumour that gets rehashed periodically and that other fact-checkers from the International Fact-Checking Network, such as AFP, have already disproven. By contrast, health authorities recommend a healthy lifestyle to achieve healthy weight loss.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) point out on their website that “people who lose weight gradually and steadily (…) are more successful at keeping weight off”, and emphasise that “it’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity”.
A profile that sells products without scientific basis
In the responses to the viral videos, their author states that the supposed weight loss only works if you use “enzyme coffee” which he himself sells – along with other beauty products and clothes, among other things – on a website that is linked on his profile. However, the experts we consulted were not aware of this product’s existence or that it had had proven effects for helping its users lose weight.
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