7 Common Foods That Can Kill You

Ever eaten so much food you thought you might die? If you're like most Americans, at some point today you'll experience the gut-busting pain of cramming way too much food down your gullet.

The good news is that too much turkey probably won't actually kill you. But investigating the darker side of our culinary world, you can discovers the foodstuffs that could actually kill you.


7. Caffeine

253.jpgCaffeinated beverages are becoming progressively more popular as every day passes.  While there normally would be minimal risk of caffeine poisoning since you need 5-10 grams (or roughly 150mg per KG of bodyweight) of caffeine to actually overdose, the potent energy drinks on the market these days are making it much easier to O.D.  If you were to drink coffee, you would have to drink roughly 80 cups of coffee to achieve caffeine poisoning. Lucky for us, we'd probably die from water intoxication before caffeine poisoning since 80 cups of coffee is damn near 20 Liters of fluids!  On the other hand, if one was to pound back ammo energy drinks, caffeine poisoning would occur somewhere between 29 and 60 1 oz bottles.  If you've ever felt really jittery and anxious from drinking caffeine, chances are you experienced caffeine intoxication (not poisoning), which generally happens after consuming roughly 300mg of caffeine.  

6. Cigarettes

255.jpgFirst of all, I know Cigarettes aren't something you eat on a regular basis.  However, everybody has a stupid friend who has a drunken human trick where he puts a cigarette out on his or her tongue then eats the butt.  Somebody should tell this friend that if he keeps this trick up, they will wind up the 'butt' of their own joke.

If you chow down, and happen to eat 5 cigarettes (or half a cigar) on your next coffee break, chances are it will be your last coffee break.  Eating cigarettes gives your body the opportunity to absorb all the nicotine contained within the cigarette as well as all the thousands of other chemicals they contain.  Eating five cigarettes will give the average non-smoker nicotine poisoning which will most likely result in death.  Small children probably only need one to get deathly sick, and if you smoke, it might take six edible smokes to put you six feet under since you have built up some tolerance.  Never fear, if you happen to consume five or more smokes and don’t die in the first four hours, chances are you will be on your way to a full and healthy recovery.


5. Tuna

249.jpgWhile eating Tuna isn't going to kill you directly, the mercury that the bottom feeder fish sucks up off the ocean floor eventually will.  Long before you actually die from consuming excessive mercury, you will go insane.  Mercury can either travel to your kidneys where it will be processed, or it will go to your brain where it will slowly cause damage.  It is probably not possible for you to die in one day from eating massive amounts of tuna, but watching your weekly intake is probably a pretty damn good idea.  To figure out the maximum amount of tuna you can eat in a day, check out the tuna calculator at the Environmental Working Group.

4. Unpasteurized Organic Honey

251.jpgNext time you hit up your all natural Organic health food store, think twice before going down the honey aisle.  When commercial honey is processed, the toxins are greatly diluted due to many types of honey blending together.  This results in risk free honey, however unprocessed/unpasteurized honey is not quite so risk free. 

Unprocessed honey can contain Grayanotoxin which can be found in the honey produced from the nectar of rhododendrons.  Even though honey intoxication is rarely fatal, if you eat enough of it, this honey could cause quite the fatal sting.  One tablespoon of Grayanotoxin rich honey is enough to give you at least minor honey intoxication.  Typically honey intoxication lasts 24 hours and results in dizziness, weakness, excessive sweating, nausea, and vomiting soon after you have consumed the honey.  The amount you need to eat to result in death honestly varies depending on the concentration of Grayanotoxins in the honey, but lucky for us there is a very easily way to avoid 'Mad Honey Disease'; Quit being a hippy and buy commercial honey!

3. Alcohol

252.jpgAlcohol is another pretty obvious member on this list.  Alcohol is widely used around the world as a recreational drug.    Your blood alcohol concentration is responsible for how you feel and if you will survive. What most people don’t know is, more people die from vomiting while they are unconscious and choking on their own puke, than die from having a BAC over the level causing death.  

The different stages are outlined in this chart:

Symptom   BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration)
Euphoria  0.003 – 0.12%
Lethargy  0.09 to 0.25%
Confusion 0.18 - 0.30%
Stupor 0.25 – 0.4%
Coma 0.35 - 0.5%
Death  > .50%

The next step, is to calculate how many drinks it will take you to get to these levels.  Visit the Infobarrel Blood Alcohol Concentration Calculator to estimate how many drinks you would need to achieve these different levels.  A good example would be if a 100 lbs female drank 10 drinks in one hour, she would be in a coma with a blood alcohol concentration level of .445% while a 200 lbs male who drank the same amount in one hour would only be in the confusion state with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.181%.

What is the moral of the story?  Figure out your limit before you head off to your next big alcohol bender; being confused or in a drunken stupor is much cooler than beer bonging 10 shots of tequila and putting yourself into a coma, and possibly puking to death.  

2. Water

254.jpgWater is the essence of life and is without it, we will all die.  Funny thing is, if you drink too much of it, you will die too!  Now, the average human will never have to deal with the issue of over consuming water, but if you were to say participate in a water drinking competition, you could have a watery death in your future.  The exact amount of water to kill a person varies from person to person, but if you were to go ahead and drink about 10 Liters of water in a very short period of time, you will most likely fall victim to what is called Water Intoxication, hyper hydration or water poisoning.  While not all people who suffer from water intoxication die, it causes a major disturbance in brain function after throwing your electrolyte balance  way out the window.  

There have been several cases of people dying from water intoxication, the most recent was a woman in competition called ‘Hold your wee for a Wii’.  Basically, the competition was to see how much water you could drink without going to the bathroom in order to win a Nintendo Wii. Unfortunately, Jennifer Strange, 28, died in her home soon after leaving the competition. If you want to read more about this, check out the article at msnbc.


1. Potatoes

potato146.jpgAs if its susceptibility to crop-destroying potato blight (responsible for great famines worldwide) weren't enough, potatoes can also kill you in other, more ingenious ways. Their poisonous stems and leaves aside, once the 'tater goes green, it's full of glycoalkaloid poison.

High heat normally gets rid of the bad stuff (i.e., boil 'em), but people unfortunate enough to drink potato-leaf tea may well slip into a coma and eventually die.

Created: 19/12/2009
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