Chances are you’ve joked that “death by chocolate” sounds like a good way to go – probably after indulging in one too many Easter Eggs or feasting on 45,000 chocs over Christmas. But while these episodes may be traumatic enough to leave us spread out on the sofa with indigestion for hours, the stark reality is that overdosing on chocolate is actually possible, with side-effects including everything from nausea to death.
While the possibility of overdosing on everyday foods is slim, it is seriously possible. The following 9 foods prove that food really is out to get us…
When you’re making a vague attempt at trying to be healthy, bananas are always a good idea as they give you a sweet fix for fewer the calories (although they do taste great when dipped in chocolate). But eating too many can have its downsides, with their amino acids causing everything from sleepiness to headaches.
But it’s their potassium levels you have to watch out for. While it’s a common misconception that eating six bananas in one sitting could kill you, if you got a bit over-excited one day and ate 400 your heart may stop beating… This is known as a condition called hyperkalemia, which results from having too much potassium swirling around in your blood.
2. Peanut Butter
Whether eaten on its own or with another food, peanut butter is the undeniable king of snacks. But it’s probably best to keep your portions small – not only can jars contain lots of fat, but it’s also a high-allergy food item which can have traces of mould called Aspergillus niger. Exposure to aflatoxins such as this has, in the past, been linked to everything from stunted growth in kids to fatigue. According to the NHS website, it can also be pretty bad for those who have a pre-existing lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or asthma.
Remember back in the ‘90s when everyone was scared that Sunny Delight was going to turn you orange? Yeah, well it turns out that that’s been a concern all along for us. But not from our delightful Sunny D; rather, from nutritional carrots.
Despite being packed with all sorts of goodness, carrots also contain a heck of a lot of beta-carotene, a molecule that’s responsible for their orange colour. If you eat too many carrots, this molecule can actually discolour the skin, leaving in yellow and orange. This condition, known as carotenemia, is most commonly found in children after they’ve had one too many jars of pureed carrot baby food. Saying that though, cases have been reported in adults, although it takes around half a cup of chopped carrots every day for months for anything to happen. Thankfully, if you start noticing your skin taking on a slight orange hue, carotenemia is often reversible. So…swings and roundabouts?
4. Black Liquorice
Black liquorice isn’t for everyone, but if you love the stuff you might want to cut down a little. Eating around two ounces of it a day for roughly two weeks has been linked to everything from irregular heart rhythm to arrhythmia – and that’s all down to a compound it contains called glycyrrhizin.
While it’s thought to be more dangerous for those over 40 years old, there have also been case of younger liquorice lovers falling foul of the side effects. A 10-year-old boy in Italy suffered brain swelling, black teeth and seizures after eating 20 black liquorice toffees every single day for four months…
Jacket potatoes, smiley faces, chips: where would we be without potatoes? Be careful next time you spot one that’s starting to turn green and sprout. Depending on how they’re handled, potatoes can produce a natural pesticide called solanine which can cause vomiting and cardiac arrest. There’s a little bit of good news though – a study by the University of New Mexico suggests that a 100-pound adult would have to eat a full pound of green potatoes before showing signs of solanine poisoning.
The idea of water being something you can overdose on sounds completely counterintuitive. After all, don’t we rely on water for beautiful, glowing skin and, well, to survive?
Turns out that drinking too much H2O could lead to water intoxication. This causes water to dilute the concentration of sodium in the blood, creating an electrolyte imbalance which can be fatal. It’s thought that around 14 people have died as a result of this condition, with endurance athletes, like marathon runners, often being most at risk. Best we just stick to eight glasses a day in future…
7. Tuna Sushi
Tuna sushi has gathered a bit of a scary reputation because in large doses it can actually be dangerous. Eating too much raw tuna can increase your body’s mercury levels, which in turn can lead to severe neurological problems. It’s difficult to give a heads up over how much to limit yourself to, since the amount of mercury can vary between individual pieces of sushi. However, the general guidelines is to only eat up to 6oz of tuna steak a week (that’s approx one meal). Young kids and pregnant women though should avoid this delicacy entirely.
Contrary to popular belief, too much chocolate can actually be a bad thing. Eating too much of it (as well as tea, coke and acai berries) can lead to something called theobromine poisoning, the effects of which aren’t fun. The Wikipedia list of side effects read like something out of a horror novel: arrhythmias, internal bleeding, seizures…and eventually death.
Still, at least we can take heart from the fact it would take roughly 85 full-size chocolate bars to get that bad. Which is about equivalent to my intake over Christmas, whoops.
We all know the unpleasant side-effects of too much coffee, like the jitters and the urge to poop. That’s all down to its high levels of caffeine which in high doses can be very dangerous – like ‘rapid heartbeat and fainting and maybe even death’ dangerous.
Before you start to worry, don’t fret. Your morning and afternoon pick me up coffees are probably fine. It’s when you start hitting 50 or so a day that you might need to consider making some lifestyle changes…