To most people, “death by chocolate” is the name of a tempting dessert, but there’s a truly sinister side to eating too much. Each year, people die from eating foods that hasten their death, and we’re not just talking about diabetes. Many foods have hidden chemicals that turn toxic when consumed in excess. Read on for just a few of the menu items that have a killer instinct and are deadlier than you think.
The Killer in Chocolate
Whilst chocolate does enhance endorphin production and has some health benefits, too much of this good thing can literally kill you. One of chocolate’s lesser known but deadlier ingredients is theobromine or xantheose. This element is also in caffeine. When metabolized by the liver, it forms around 12 percent theobromine. The theobromine is a heart stimulant, a diuretic and a vasodilator, so it can be toxic.
Before you put that chocolate bar in the trash, be aware that the average adult needs to eat around 5.7 kg of dark chocolate at one time before it kills you, as the lethal dose of theobromine is 1000 mg per kg of body weight.
Dogs, however, metabolize chocolate a lot slower than humans, and a toxic dose to them is 300 mg per kg of body weight. One dog in England nearly died after eating 20 chocolate cupcakes, so don’t let that happen to your pet. Keep the chocolate away from your dog.
Death by Chocolate.
As for M&M’s, these have also been implicated in death as some of the innocuous looking chocolates contain peanuts. A Long Island woman was accused of trying to kill her peanut allergic daughter by feeding her M&M’s containing the nut.
A little spice in the food rarely harms anyone, and chili has antioxidant properties. Still, if you eat too much of the hot stuff, then you’ll run into trouble because chili contains a substance called capsaicin that killed a 2-year-old child. This chemical is what makes chili so hot. In fact, this ingredient is also concentrated in police-issue pepper spray and even paint stripper.
Capsaicin causes burning reactions on the skin in large amounts. If inhaled, it leads to apnea or breathing cessation. Habanero chilis are particularly problematic as they are so hot. In humans, problems happen when the chili stimulates the nociceptive C-fibers of your nerves, leading to shallow breathing and constriction of the bronchioles. In extreme situations, it can kill. Never inhale a chili.
Cashews and their Hidden Ingredient
Cashew nuts were once a luxury item eaten in small amounts, but they’re now an everyday snack. However, there’s a catch. The seeds have a double shell on the outside that contains a skin irritant known as urushiol.
This chemical is also in poison ivy. In countries where they extract cashews, workers have suffered chemical burns whilst working in nut plants. Roasting cashews is usually an outdoor activity as the urushiol droplets released in the process irritate the lungs, sometimes fatally.
Death from Water Drinking
Even water can kill you when taken in excessive amounts. When you drink water in large quantities, the essential salts in your body become diluted. This dilution leads to electrolyte imbalances that can kill. Too much water means the kidneys cannot metabolize it fast enough, so the cells begin to swell.
Water can kill in surprising ways.
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When the brain cells swell up through too much water intake, a person can rapidly lose consciousness. Experts estimate that drinking around six liters of water can kill an adult. Water toxicity is more common than you might think as younger people have drinking competitions — even one hosted by a radio station in California led to a woman dying from water intoxication.