When you go out to eat at a restaurant, one the first questions you will probably be asked is, “what would you like to drink?” Everyone will then rattle off their drink orders – and we are willing to bet that this is one of them: water with a few slices of lemon.
This has been a popular beverage for years, not just for its crisp, refreshing taste, but also because of the recently trendy idea that lemon water is super healthy for you.
Now, this isn’t wrong. Lemon water has been proven to help clean your system, keep your skin looking nice, and keep your body at a healthy weight. Therefore, it’s no wonder that celebrities everywhere swear by this simple drink.
But while we would encourage you to drink more lemon water, there is one place where you might just want to stick to regular water. It’s a little surprising, but a restaurant is the last place where you want to be sipping on some lemon water.
The reason is as follows – a 2007 study in the Journal of Environmental Health tested 76 lemons from 21 restaurants for germs and discovered nearly 70% of the lemon slices were covered in bacteria, viruses, and other microbes – including disease-causing E.coli. Another ABC investigation that tested one lemon at ten different restaurants found that half the wedges contained traces of human waste.
So why are lemon wedges increasingly contaminated? As it turns out, restaurant health standards are less strict for garnishes. The aforementioned ABC investigation found that restaurant workers often grabbed lemons without tongs or gloves. Therefore, if they didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom or touching another germ-ridden spot, that means that there’s a very good chance that they will cover your lemon slice in bacteria before slipping it into your iced water.
However, as nasty as these findings are, experts say that the average immune system is equipped to handle these type of germs. It doesn’t make it any less unpleasant to think about, but the odds of contracting an infection or illness from a dirty lemon are slim.
Still, we wouldn’t blame you in the slightest if you decided against ordering lemon water from here on out.