21 Deadly Dishes

An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Not so fast. Dine on these dishes at your own risk.


Believe it or not, apples, the same fruit in that's supposed to keep the doctor away might actually send you to the hospital. Turns out, apple seeds contain cyanide, which can cause stomach agitation and vomiting. Okay, so the seed casings are extremely tough — there's little risk unless they're pulverized, or chewed up. Even then, you'd need to eat a lot for it to be fatal.

But there are other components to common foods that could have painful, even deadly effects. Here are eleven pretty common foods that could kill you, followed by some more exotic deadly dinners.

 

Cherries
What could hurt you: Like apples, cherry pits contain a type of hydrogen cyanide called prussic acid.
How much can kill you: Don't go eating a cup of ground pits, or peach and apricot pits for that matter.

Rhubarb
What could hurt you: Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which causes kidney stones.
How much can kill you: It'll take 11 pounds of leaves to be fatal, but much less to make you seriously ill.

Nutmeg
What could hurt you: Nutmeg is actually a hallucinogenic.
How much could kill you: Yes, you can trip on it, but it's said that eating just 0.2 oz of nutmeg could lead to convulsions, and 0.3 oz could lead to seizures. Eating one whole will supposedly lead to a type of "nutmeg psychosis, which includes a sense of impending doom.

Potatoes
What could hurt you: Glycoalkaloids, also found in nightshade, can be found in the leaves, stems, and sprouts of potatoes. It can also build up in the potato if it's left too long, especially in the light. Eating glycoalkaloids will lead to cramping, diarrhea, confused headaches, or even coma and death.
How much could kill you: It's said that just 3 to 6 mg per kilogram of body weight could be fatal. Avoid potatoes with a greenish tinge.

Almonds
What could hurt you: There are two variations of almonds, sweet almonds and bitter almonds. The bitter ones supposedly contain relatively large amounts of hydrogen cyanide.
How much could kill you: It's said that even eating just 7 - 10 raw bitter almonds can cause problems for adults, and could be fatal for children.

Unpasteurized Honey
What could hurt you: Because it doesn't go through the pasteurization process in which harmful toxins are killed, unpasteurized honey often contains grayanotoxin. That can lead to dizziness, weakness, excessive sweating, nausea, and vomiting that last for 24 hours. 
How much could kill you: Typically just one tablespoon of concentrated grayanotoxin can cause the symptoms above. Consuming multiple tablespoons would be a bad idea. 

Tomatoes
What could hurt you: The stems and leaves of tomatoes contain alkali poisons that can cause stomach agitation. Unripe green tomatoes have been said to have the same effect.
How much could kill you: You would need to consume vast quantities for it to be fatal. Not exactly high-risk, but you might avoid eating tomato leaves.

Tuna
What could hurt you: The danger in tuna is the mercury that the fish absorbs. Once in your body, mercury will either pass through your kidneys, or travel to your brain and supposedly drive you insane.
How much could kill you: The FDA recommends children and pregnant women do not consume tuna at all. While it's unlikely that eating a massive amount of tuna in one sitting will kill you, it's a good idea to monitor your weekly intake. Click here to visit the Environmental Working Group's tuna calculator to see how much is recommended. 

Cassava
What could hurt you: If not prepared correctly, or eaten raw, it turns into hydrogen cyanide.
How much could kill you: There are two variations: bitter and sweet. The sweet variety is 50 times less harmful, packing only 20 mg of cyanide per kg of fresh root. Still, twice is supposedly enough to kill a cow.

Cashews
What could hurt you: Raw cashews you might find in a supermarket are not actually raw, as they've been steamed to remove the urushiol, a chemical also found in poison ivy. This chemical can cause the same effect as poison ivy, or poison oak.
How much could kill you: High levels of urushiol can supposedly prove fatal. People who are allergic to poison ivy are likely to have a fatal allergic reaction to eating actual raw cashews.

Elderberries
What could hurt you: These berries are often used in jams, jellies, and wines. Their leaves, twigs, and seeds contain cyanide-producing glycoside. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and coma are the symptoms to look forward to.
How much could kill you: Suffice it to say, hope your herbal tea was prepared correctly, and that whoever made your jam or wine strained the fruit. Also, never eat them unripe.

 

So it seems there really can be too much of a good thing. And while none of the foods above may be fatal in reasonable doses, there are plenty of dishes that can be deadly if not prepared properly. Read on for some even more lethal delicacies:

Click here for the 21 Deadly Dishes Slideshow.


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10 Comments

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Can't say I had the same negitive reaction that some of the other commenters did. I actually know 2 people who have become very ill from eating large and frequent portions of tune and swordfish. I would suggest that this article is fun and helpful. But then I guess beauty or in this case, service is in the eye of the beholder.

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Any food can kill - a pallet of peas can quash a forklift driver, and your hamburger can trample you to death if you fall off your horse. (Or attack you later at Jack-In-The-Box.)
The organic chemistry behind what we eat is becoming increasingly notable, as we weed out the man-made additives, trans fats and glutens. Better to approach it from a more scientifically informed perspective, noting the counter-nutritional characteristics (as described) in the flora that we are accustomed to eating, in context with the super-nutritional (anti-oxidant etc.) qualities of resveratrol and phenolic compounds in general. “Your Apricot…Jekyll or Hyde?”
If you saw the film "Into The Wild" you will remember that misidentifying and eating the seeds of the wild pea plant (instead of the edible wild potato plant) is one theory behind Chris McCandless's death. There is still some controversy over that conclusion, as a scientist has found the wild sweet pea plant seed contains no alkaloids/poisons, and that a report by an 18th century explorer was wrong (seems no one had tested it since.) He goes on to suggest the smoking gun was selenium in the soil; high levels made the plant a toxic veggie. A kind of “counter-terroir-ism,” if you will.

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Any food can kill - a pallet of peas can quash a forklift driver, and your hamburger can trample you to death if you fall off your horse. (Or attack you later at Jack-In-The-Box.)

The organic chemistry behind what we eat is becoming increasingly notable, as we weed out the man-made additives, trans fats and glutens. Better to approach it from a more scientifically informed perspective, noting the counter-nutritional characteristics (as described) in the flora that we are accustomed to eating, in context with the super-nutritional (anti-oxidant etc.) qualities of resveratrol and phenolic compounds in general. “Your Apricot…Jekyll or Hyde?”

If you saw the film "Into The Wild" you will remember that misidentifying and eating the seeds of the wild pea plant (instead of the edible wild potato plant) is one theory behind Chris McCandless's death. There is still some controversy over that conclusion, as a scientist has found the wild sweet pea plant seed contains no alkaloids/poisons, and that a report by an 18th century explorer was wrong (seems no one had tested it since.) He goes on to suggest the smoking gun was selenium in the soil; high levels made the plant a toxic veggie. A kind of “counter-terroir-ism,” if you will.

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Am a Colman Andrews fan...Saveur is not the same without him. Enjoy the site - keep up the good work!

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This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. Do people actually pay someone to write this drivel. Don't eat crap that isn't really food...

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First time on this site, too, and this article is just sensationalism. Who on earth goes around eating cherry pits? Who munches on tomato stems? If you want to do a real story on deadly foods, how about analyzing what's in a fast food burger or what's really in a hot dog or what really goes into the flavorings on snack chips. Those are foods most Americans consume regularly that can negatively affect your health. Rhubarb leaves? Come on!

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Make it 4 .

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I make three. Wouldn't bother commenting but I feel EXACTLY the same as the other two, first time here, unlikely to return.

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Yep, just like the above poster. This is also my first time visiting the dailymeal and I thought this article was ridiculous.

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Agree the article is 'out there' Such comments need to be supported by statistics and also the circumstances under which someone would willingly eat so many rhubarb leaves, as an example. Very disappointed with this type of 'TV-sensationalism' commentary.

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