That lemon slice you put in your water? It's a filthy, germy mess

Lemon water has been touted as everything from a weight loss aid to a metabolism booster, but it turns out asking for a slice of lemon in your glass at a restaurant might not actually be good for you.

Researchers at Clemson University tested how successful E. coli bacteria survived during the handling and storage of ice and lemons. (Who hasn’t seen a bowl of lemons sitting on a bar, right?) They found that wet lemons absorbed 100% of the bacteria and dry lemons absorbed 30%.

Yes, you read that right: 100% of the bacteria.

The study also determined that lemons stored at room temperature for 24 hours had an increase in E. coli population compared to those refrigerated overnight (but even the refrigerated lemons showed traces of bacteria after storage). About 19% of bacteria on the researchers’ hands was transferred to the ice too.

So what is a lemon and ice lover to do? Sorry, but you might want to start learning to love old-fashioned, unadorned H20.


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