Fresh lemon vs. (plastic) Lemon juice — which is better?

I teach a very popular corporate workshop called “10 Steps to Joyous Health“.

The number one step I teach people in this workshop is to “Drink freshly squeezed lemon and water in the morning, on an empty stomach”.  And the number one question someone ALWAYS asks me is “Can I just buy the lemon juice in the plastic bottle”? My answer is always NO. And let me tell you why….

2 words: Sulfur Dioxide (also known as sulfites)

This chemical is common in our food supply and used as a preservative to prevent the discolouration of fruit (you’ve all seen the bright orange apricots), as an anti-microbial for wine (you’ve likely seen the phrase “contains sulfites”), in frozen pizza dough and pie crust, and in the case of lemon juice, to prevent it from rotting.

I personally avoid buying wine when it states “contains sulfites”. Pretty much all wine contains sulfites to a degree, but I avoid wine brands that have added sulfites. Now before I continue, I don’t want you to think that sulfites are the most evil food additive on planet earth, because that’s not the case. However, I do want you to think about eating more “real food” and that means food that doesn’t contain chemical additives to maintain freshness.

This is the number one food rule: Buy food that can actually rot! This is a really good indication of a REAL food.

Here’s some info for you on sulfur dioxide:

  • It is used to decolourize paper and cloth, as a bleaching agent and to treat chlorinated wastewater prior to release.
  • Sulfur dioxide blocks nerve signals from the pulmonary stretch receptor, which is precisely why it mimics asthma-like symptoms. To make matters worse, it also inhibits your lungs from over-inflating, which is why you feel like you can’t take full deep breaths when exposed to sulfites.
  • Sulfur dioxide emissions are a precursor to acid rain which kills fish and stimulates the overgrowth of algae.
  • It is the poisonous gas emitted by volcanic eruptions.
  • Coal and petroleum burn off often contain sulfur compounds.
  • These types of sulfur compounds are harmful to the environment, plant and animal life.

Who knows what the sulfites do to the healing benefits of the lemon juice either – I’m not a chemist so I don’t know. But it wouldn’t be too far off to assume the vitamin C and other minerals in the lemon juice are no longer present. And furthermore, the LAST thing you want to do is chug back lemon juice that’s been sitting on a store shelf in a plastic bottle potentially leaching phthlates (plastisicers) and BPA (bisphenol-A) in to the juice.

What kind of nutrition are you getting from a fruit that’s likely been squeezed 6 months or even 2 years ago and packaged for sale and then potentially sit in your fridge for another 6 months to a year.

Just buy a bag of lemons and squeeze the juice every morning. If you don’t like lemons, then 1 capful of apple cider vinegar does the trick too! The beautifying, detoxifying benefits of endless!

Here’s a video I did a while ago on the benefits of lemon and water.

Have a joyous day!


Upcoming Workshops in 2012:

Spring Eat Well Feel Well 6-wk nutrition + yoga class
Spring Detox: Apr 14
Feel Good Food: May 12

Joy McCarthy, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach of Joyous Health, loves to inspire others to eat well, live well and be happy.

Joy has clients from all over the world and consults via phone and Skype. Contact Joy today and take the first step.



Leave a comment
  1. Zosia Mar 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Hi Joy,

    I’ve heard that it’s better not to dilute the lemon in water when drinking it in the morning, especially if you want it to help detoxify the liver. Have you read anything about this?

  2. Tamzin Mar 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Here here! The way I start everyday : )

  3. Theron Giancaspro May 14, 2013 at 5:05 am #

    Lemon oil may be used in aromatherapy. Researchers at The Ohio State University found that lemon oil aroma does not influence the human immune system, but may enhance mood.

  4. Hellen May 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Just wished to say I am relieved that i stumbled on your
    website page.

    • Joy McCarthy May 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

      Great thanks!


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