The Real Reason You Should Never Put A Lemon In Your Drink

"You should drink less water," said no health expert, ever. That's because drinking plenty of water is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself, benefitting everything from your teeth to your digestion to your joint health. Staying hydrated can even help you lose weight, while better absorbing the nutrients in your food, Healthline reported. Let's be honest, though: plain old agua is kind of boring. It has no taste or texture, which is why many people add a twist of lemon to mix things up.

But putting a slice of lemon in your water is a potentially dangerous thing to do, pointed out award-winning nutrition expert Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND. In an interview with The List, Amidor, who is the Wall Street Journal best selling author of The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook, explained that this innocent-seeming little citrus wedge is actually food contamination waiting to happen. "A slice of lemon in your water, cola, or cocktail, may seem like a nice idea for a low calorie flavor option, but can actually lead to pathogenic microorganisms landing in your drink," she explained. "As fresh lemons may be handled by unwashed hands or sliced on contaminated cutting boards or knives, there is a chance for cross contamination."

Getting a lemon wedge in your drink is especially dangerous at restaurants

At home, most of us aren't slicing up citrus as we go about our everyday tasks; we're lucky if we can just find the time to drink our eight plus glasses a day, let alone dressing it up with extra ingredients! While enjoying beverages at restaurant, though, it's much more natural to request a lemon wedge for your beverage while you're waiting for the entrees to arrive. Unfortunately, according to Amidor, it's actually more dangerous to drink water with a lemon while eating out than when you're home. "This is especially true in the hustle and bustle in a restaurant or bar setting," she noted.

It's even more concerning if the slices are available for customers to take for themselves, such as by a fountain machine or bar top. "Another way these lemon slices can be contaminated is if they are left on the counter top where customers can dig their dirty hands into the pile of lemons –yuck!" Amidor said, adding that she never gets lemon with water when she eats out. "I opt for freshly sliced lemon when preparing water or tea in my own home, where I wash my hands and use a clean and sanitary cutting board and knife," she explained.