Can Lime Juice Help You Lose Weight?

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Losing weight can be such a frustrating battle that it's tempting to give up on food altogether. Many citrus fasts, cleanses and quick weight-loss diets have focused on lime juice as the next miracle ingredient that will melt that fat away in no time. Lime juice is a healthy addition to any diet, but, unfortunately, weight loss miracles really don't grow on trees.

Can Lime Juice Help You Lose Weight?
(Scott Miller/Demand Media)

The fresh raw juice of one lime has about 27 calories, 0.44g protein, 0.1g fat, 0.24g ash, 9g carbohydrates, 0.4g dietary fiber, and 1.69g sugar. Nutritionally, they are an excellent source of vitamin C, with an even higher concentration than lemons, oranges or grapefruits.

Scott Miller/Demand Media

You can find several lime juice diets around the Internet and through books and word of mouth. One diet recommends you drink 1 tbsp. honey and the juice of half a lime at intervals through the day. Another adds 1 tsp. sea salt to the mixture. The Master Cleanse calls for a 10-day fast of lime (or lemon) juice, water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. Another popular citrus fast calls for lime juice, cinnamon and vinegar.

Scott Miller/Demand Media

The different diet claims about lime juice include that lime juice will help detoxify the body, speed digestion, act as a "fat burner" and speed up metabolism.

Scott Miller/Demand Media

Your body detoxifies itself by breaking your food down with stomach acid, moving it into the small intestine where the nutrients are absorbed, passing the remaining material into your large intestine and colon, and forming it into solid stool that is naturally eliminated. Liquid toxins are cleared by the liver and kidneys and washed out in your urine. Lime juice has never been proven to have any effect on these processes.

As for aiding digestion, your naturally produced stomach acid is at least 10 times stronger than lime juice. There is also no proof that lime juice affects metabolism or the way fat is burned.

Scott Miller/Demand Media

Lime juice is an excellent source of vitamin C. Here are some ways you can use lime juice effectively in a weight-loss program:

• Soak lime slices in water overnight, or squeeze lime juice into sparkling water for a healthy, calorie-free alternative to soft drinks. • Squeeze fresh lime juice over chicken, fish or vegetables as they cook to add flavor, cutting down on the need for salt. • Slice a cucumber and sprinkle it with lime juice and chili powder for a tangy, healthy snack. • Mix lime juice, ginger, black pepper and soy sauce (in the proportions that taste best to you) and use as a marinade for lean beef. • Add lime juice to olive oil, chopped cilantro and freshly grated garlic for a zesty salad dressing.

Scott Miller/Demand Media

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