Too Much of a Good Thing: Foods That Are Dangerous to Eat in Excess

5 minute read

By Christopher Brown

As if accidents, stranger danger, and mounting credit card debt aren’t enough, here we are to alert you to the dangers lurking around every grocery store aisle. Start a search today to find out which foods are dangerous when eaten in excess.

They’re lurking in your cupboards, waiting in your fridge, and patrolling your cold cellar. The old adage insists that you can’t have too much of a good thing. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth!


Apparently, Popeye knows very little about spinach. Had the showrunners opted for a touch more realism, season three would have detailed Popeye’s battle with kidney stones, abdominal pain, and vomiting?

Though spinach is full of fiber and healthy vitamins, it also contains oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is toxic to humans in large doses. Now that doesn’t mean that you should purge your fridge and your meal plan of all things leafy and green. It would take roughly seven pounds of spinach to kill a 145-pound person.


I never waste away precious workday hours watching people take the cinnamon challenge because I’m a professional. The challenge is an impossible one because swallowing a liberal dose of ground cinnamon can’t be done. It also shouldn’t be done.

That’s because cinnamon contains the compound coumarin, which can be lethal in large doses. We’re not talking kidney stones either. Coumarin has been proven to cause liver toxicity and even cancer. So “yes” to a little sprinkle of cinnamon on your latte and “no” to the cinnamon challenge. Especially when you’re supposed to be working.


Tuna is delicious, versatile, affordable, and healthy. At least, it was healthy until we humans started messing with it.

You see, tuna is very high in protein, which is obviously great. But, due to decades of irresponsible polluting practices, it’s also high in methylmercury. Too much methylmercury can cause developmental delays in children, impaired speech, vision deficiencies, and more.

If you’re wondering how much tuna is too much tuna, click on over to this helpful tuna calculator. A tuna calculator! What a world, what a world.


Though this one may be more obvious than some of the other entries on this list, it’s also one of the most prevalent. In moderation, salt enhances the flavor of many of your favorite dishes. In excess, you’re in for a whole lot of trouble.

Over time, a salt-rich diet can increase your blood pressure, damage your liver, and lead to severe heart disease. In the short term, drinking a glass of salt water can cause nausea, vomiting, and digestive issues. It shouldn’t surprise you, then, that a healthy diet is one with a reduced dependence on sodium.


I know I’m ruining all of your favorite foods and I am truly sorry, but I’m just trying to keep you safe.

Cherries are delish to the max. That is not up for debate. They’re also way more dangerous than you could possibly imagine! At least, their pits are.

You see, cheery pits actually contain hydrogen cyanide. For real. Chewing, damaging, or swallowing cherry pits whole exposes your body to the toxic chemical and all of its horrendous symptoms, including anxiety, vomiting, increased blood pressure, and dizziness!


It’s fair to say that “water intoxication” is something that most of us don’t have to worry about. Heck, most of us don’t even drink enough water. Having said that, it’s still important to understand the hazards that come with drinking too much H2O.

Water poisoning (or overhydration) happens when you drink so much water that the sodium level of your blood drops too low. By drinking too much water too fast, you’re diluting your blood of some very important minerals. Water intoxication can kill you, but it takes a lot of water to do so. We’re talking gallons upon gallons. So, a few extra glasses at dinner is more than fine.

Brazil Nuts

For those of us who haven’t seen a periodic table since grade school, selenium is a naturally forming mineral that, in moderation, is a dietary staple for most modern adults. It’s loaded with antioxidants, plays a key role in metabolism, and may reduce the odds of prostate cancer. In large doses though, it can be dangerous.

So where do Brazil nuts come in? Brazil nuts are absolutely loaded with the stuff! For some perspective, the recommended daily intake of selenium is 50-70 micrograms, and one large Brazil nut can contain as much as 95 micrograms! What’s worse, symptoms of selenium toxicity include memory difficulties, hair loss, and nail loss. Consider yourself warned!


You’re fine to sprinkle a few glasses of eggnog or use it to season your fancy coffee drink, but a word of advice: refrain from eating nutmeg by the spoonful!

Nutmeg is delicious, sure. But it’s also full of myristicin. Just like LSD, myristicin is classified as a psychedelic and taking too much is a bad, bad idea. Symptoms of myristicin poisoning may include seizures, nausea, dizziness, pain, and even hallucinations.

Red Kidney Beans

We all know that undercooking chicken is a serious no-no. But, did you know that undercooking red kidney beans can be just as bad?

Red kidney beans are full of protein, but they’re also full of the naturally occurring toxin Phytoaemagglutinin. The toxin, which I’m not going to try and type again, can cause severe nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. And that’s from only eating four or five raw, red kidney beans!

If you want to be safe, be sure to boil your beans for at least 10 minutes prior to consumption.



The potato problem mostly affects uncooked potatoes or those that have been exposed to light for long periods of time. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Potatoes contain solanine, which is incredibly toxic, even in small amounts. The chemical is mostly found in the tubers that sprout from idle potatoes, so avoid those and you should be fine. Eat them, and you’ll experience vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, slow pulse, and a lot more. So, yeah, don’t eat them.


Refreshing, yes. Dangerous? Also, yes. But oranges aren’t nearly as dangerous as cherry pits or a teaspoon of nutmeg. Oranges are a great occasional treat but may cause some long-term problems if eaten regularly.

The issue with oranges lies in their acidity. Too many oranges in one sitting can cause reflux, while reflux over a long period of time can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease. Stick to one or two servings of oranges per day and you should be safe!

Learn More Today

Most of the foods on this list are totally healthy and should be part of a balanced diet but what makes them dangerous is typically the quantity. Fortunately, you can learn more about which foods are dangerous for your health if eaten in excess with a quick search online. Some of them may surprise you!

Christopher Brown