Adding a Slice of Lemon to Your Water Is Actually a Terrible Idea
We've all heard of the stomach-flattening properties of detox water, and many of us rely on a simple recipe daily—adding a slice or wedge of lemon to every glass. While this practice is super-common (and an easy and affordable way to pep up plain H2O), it turns out lemon lovers could be ingesting a lot more than they think. According to The Huffington Post, cafe lemon water is seriously, surprisingly gross. Citing a study conducted by the Journal of Environmental Health, in which researchers swabbed 76 lemons (collected from 21 restaurants), it was found that 70 per cent had produced microbial growth. Worse, the samples were collected from either soda or water as soon as either were served, which means the microorganisms present most likely came either from an employee or raw meat or poultry contamination. Bit yuck, right?
In a similar experiment conducted by Philip Tierno, Ph.D., a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology, researchers found that half of lemon wedges collected from various restaurants were contaminated with human fecal matter. Let's let that sink in for a minute, shall we? Gulp. Apparently Tierno believes that this could be due at least in part to a tendency for restaurant staff to either not wash lemons at all, or just give them a quick rinse. Among the specimens of microbes collected were E. coli, staphylococcus epidermidis and candida. Yep, that candida. Before you freak, Tierno says that though there is a risk of getting sick, it's actually quite small: "The usual course will probably result in no infection, but there is a possibility." To limit risk, it's best to squeeze a lemon slice or wedge directly into your drink, or just save it for home.
Can't deal? Carry your own fresh lemon water with you in a Zinger bottle ($8).