At one point a group of us went out for breakfast. Instead of ordering fresh squeezed orange juice, I requested a cup of hot water and several lemon slices. This warm lemon tea helped keep me from polishing off the home fries on my plate. A friend sitting beside me was happy to lend a helping hand and take the rest.
I was proud of my self for choosing warm lemon water in hopes that it would help curb my appetite. But little did I know that this one act could also help prevent junk food related fat gain.
This is according to a study of rats in which researchers were determined to learn if supplementation with vitamin C impacted the effects of poor eating habits. The subjects were divided into 3 groups.
Group 1: Was given their normal diet.
Group 2: Ate a horrible diet consisting of fries, cookies, chips, bacon, chocolate, etc.
Group 3: Ate the horrible diet plus a regimen of vitamin C based on their body weight.
Eight weeks later, the rats were assessed to see if there were any differences. The results were astounding. The vitamin C group somehow gained much less body fat than their counterparts who ate the same with no supplementation. They only gained slightly above control group. Somehow, vitamin C impeded the growth of fat.
Researchers theorize that antioxidants, like vitamin C, impede the production of certain hormones directly related to obesity. One such hormone is cortisol. This is the "stress hormone." When cortisol is released into the bloodstream, blood sugar levels to rise. Spikes in blood sugar set off a series of reactions that promote fat storage (especially in the abdomen). Taking your vitamin C can offer some level of protection, especially if your diet isn't up to par.
This study was done on mice but how does it translate in human subjects? In another study, obese individuals were kept on a fat restricted diet for a certain number of weeks. One group added vitamin C to their regimen, the other group took a placebo. Both groups lost weight, thanks to caloric restriction, but the vitamin C group seemed to experience a slightly greater loss of fat. How cool is that?
Keep in mind that vitamin C is highly unstable. Much of it is destroyed when exposed to typical food preparation process. If you eat a bunch of processed foods, you should consider adding it to your vitamin regimen. I haven't supplemented with C in a long time but I'm definitely adding this back to the lineup. Knowing how it combats fat gain is an extra incentive. It's a great supplement to take with your meals.
Let's not forget to also include foods high in vitamin C in our diets so our body can have access to natural sources of this fat-inhibiting nutrient. Lemons are just the start. But there are many other fruits & veggies that offer ample amounts of vitamin C such as bell peppers, kale, tomatoes, kiwi, papayas, melons, etc.
Lemon water, although not at the top of the list of vitamin C rich foods, provides that extra benefit of feeling fuller so you can consume fewer calories per meal. Plus it can help you digest your meal. That's a win-win.