For many people, drinking Coca-Cola regularly can become a bit boring and stale which leads many people (including restaurants, bars and cafes) to add add all kinds of things to freshen up their sodas, like slices of lemon slice every now and then.
The reason why is that Diet Coke has a lighter flavor, so people like the extra lemon to add a bit of tart acidity to the drink and make the flavor more pronounced.
In a country like Brazil, drinking regular Coke with lemon is more or less the norm. If you go to a restaurant in Brazil and order a Coke, the server will probably bring you a few slices of lemons to go with it.
Other places in the world are similar.
Coke with lemon is a popular enough mixture that Coca-Cola actually has a specific brand of Coca-Cola with Lemon that they released back in 2001.
Coke w/ Lemon is not as popular as it used to be when it came out, but you can still find it in Coca-Cola vending machines or in those Coca-Cola freestyle fountain machines that are becoming more common in restaurants.
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What Happens When You Drink Coke With Lemon?
Aside from slightly changing the taste, nothing really happens when you drink Coke with lemon.
It does not really change the nutritional value of the drink and it does not really change how the body processes it.
The main reason why people drink Coke with lemon is that it adds a nice citrus kick to the drink. It makes it taste fresh!
Like we said earlier, the human tongue is particularly attuned to citrus flavors, including citric acid. In fact, we have an entire set of taste buds on our tongue designed specifically for tasting citric compounds.
One potential reason why is that early human diets consisted of a lot of fruit.
Over time, humans evolved a particular sensitivity to citrus fruits so we could better tell when they were ripe and prime for consumption.
If you have ever eaten an unripe orange, for example, it can taste bland and not sour at all. Citrus taste buds help us pick which fruits are worth eating, which is useful for survival.
Coca-Cola is already fairly acidic, so adding lemon does not change the acid content of the drink very much.
But it does add a nice flavor that many people love.
Coke and Lemon Benefits?
So you’re probably wondering , are there any other benefits to drinking Coke with lemon?
While there are no real scientific studies on the matter, common sense and anecdotal experience can give us an answer.
Lemon juice is also a good source of hydration.
This is not because lemon juice itself hydrates you, but it can make liquids tastier so you are likely to drink more and get more hydrated.
Lemon juice has also been found to be effective for combating indigestion and upset stomach.
For example, many people drink warm lemon water when they are constipated. Carbonated water is also commonly touted as a solution for an upset stomach, so adding in lemon juice to your carbonated Coke augments that effect.
Lastly, there is some evidence that suggests that lemon juice can help prevent kidney stones. Overconsumption of Coke and other sodas that contain high-fructose corn syrup are associated with the formation of kidney stones, so a bit of lemon juice may be able to slightly reduce that risk.
Downsides to Drinking Coke With Lemon
However, drinking Coke with lemon may not always be a good idea.
To be more specific, lemons that are used in bars and restaurants actually are pretty dirty and are often riddled with microbes and bacteria.
Studies have shown that lemon slices served in restaurants are likely to have a lot of bacteria on them.
However, it is relatively unlikely that anyone would actually get sick from these “contaminated” lemons. Despite what many people may think, the vast majority of bacteria are completely harmless to humans and some are actually good for you.
In fact, some people actually ferment lemon juice using lactobacilli, which are an important group of bacteria that help you digest things.
But still, some people would prefer to not even risk it, so it might be a good idea to hold the lemon next time you order a Coke in a restaurant.
If you still want that lemony goodness in your soda, then you can always grow your own lemons and add them to your drink. As long as you properly wash and prepare your lemons, they should not pick up any bacteria or microbes.
Drinking Coke with a slice or two of lemon may not be very common in the US, but in other parts of the world, it is practically standard.
Adding lemon to your Coke can give it an extra dash of citrus flavor that many people find appealing. Lemon juice may also have some extra benefits for the body.
Of course, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy Coca-Cola, so whether you like or do not like lemons, just got ahead and enjoy your Coke the way you want.