We’ve all been there. You’re having fun at a party and you’re enjoying some chips and dip. But then one of your friends decides it’s acceptable to double dip those chips into the same salsa everyone is eating. Is this a bad thing? Well, according to health experts, double dipping isn’t just a bad behavior; it’s harmful to your well-being.

Testing The Theory

A group of researchers at Clemson University knew we’re not supposed to double dip chips at parties, but they didn’t know exactly why. So, they decided to test just how gross the eating habit is for your health. Their results were more startling than they thought.

The researchers dipped a bitten chip into a glass of water. They determined that each milliliter of water in the glass was now contaminated by a thousand more bacterial germs from the chip than before. But if you’re thinking, ‘I don’t dip my chips in water, so what does this prove?’, think again.

Salsa Is Mostly Water, Friends

Think about the salsa you dip your chips in at most parties. Take a good look at it. Salsa contains water from the tomato, especially visible if the ingredients begin to get “soggy.” Considering how much bacteria forms in water from your bitten chip, think about how many germs are swarming in your double-dipped salsa bowl.

Compared to other dips (queso dip, chocolate syrup, etc.), traditional tomato-based salsa contains the most bacteria, simply due to the water content. In fact, salsa can contain up to five times more bacteria than other dips.

Breaking The Habit

You might be thinking, “We’re surrounded by bacteria. Is it really that harmful to double dip?” The easy answer is, yes, it actually is much more harmful than you think.

The influenza virus is mostly spread through saliva. Health experts say that double dipping your chips at a party is basically the same as sharing a bottle of Coke with someone. Or, as a man tells George Costanza in a classic episode of Seinfeld, if you’re going to double dip, you might as well put your whole mouth in the dip!

So next time you’re at a party, don’t double dip your chips. You don’t want to contaminate your friends’ food, right? If you like to get dip on every bite, scoop some out of the communal bowl into a little plate just for you.