Bananas are good for us. Not only are they delicious, but they are also loaded with vitamins and minerals. This is why we can indulge in this fruit without feeling any guilt.
Sometimes we even eat bananas just to feel good about our otherwise terrible diet. But have you ever wondered if you can eat too many bananas? Have you ever wondered, “is it possible to die by eating bananas?”
You might shrug this off, there’s no way fruit can kill you. But wait until you hear the reasons.
Bananas are loaded with potassium, a mineral that is used in lethal injections. To make matters worse, bananas are also radioactive fruits. And we all know that exposure to radiation is dangerous.
So what then? Can bananas actually kill you? Unless you slip on a banana peel and hit your head or choke while stuffing bananas down your throat, the answer is no. There is no death by too much banana.
But what about banana’s potassium and radioactivity? While it’s true that bananas have both, the claims that they are dangerous are exaggerated.
Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at these. Let’s see exactly why people are saying eating too many bananas is dangerous.
Let’s take a look at where these myths come from, then debunk them with science. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy your bananas without any fear of them killing you.
Table of Contents
Can Bananas’ Potassium Kill You?
One thing bananas are known for is their potassium. There is so much of this that potassium has become synonymous with bananas.
A lot of the health benefits of bananas come from the potassium it contains. It’s one of the things that makes banana a miracle fruit.
We, as humans, need potassium. It’s a mineral that our bodies can’t do without. Potassium helps keep our blood pressure low, strengthens our bones and muscles, and supports our digestive system.
On the flip side, potassium deficiency leads to fatigue, pain, constipation, or even paralysis. This is why you can say that a banana a day keeps the doctor away.
But wait! Didn’t we just say that potassium is used in lethal injections? How can something so good for our bodies be a killer at the same time?
The answer lies in the amount. To stay healthy, we, adults, should aim to take around 4.7 grams of potassium daily.
Take too little, you’ll suffer the effects of potassium deficiency. Take too much, however, and you will put yourself up for a lot of health risks.
An overdose of potassium leads to hyperkalemia, a condition capable of killing you.
Our kidneys do an outstanding job of getting rid of excess minerals. But if you take too much potassium, your organ won’t be able to handle it anymore.
This leads to chest pains, shortness of breath, and palpitations. In severe cases, this can lead to cardiac arrest and death.
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Back to bananas, you’re probably wondering how many you can eat before getting a heart attack.
You may have heard that we shouldn’t eat more than 6 bananas a day. That if you do, you’ll get a potassium overdose.
While you can argue whether eating 7 bananas a day is healthy or not, it will certainly not kill you.
This myth started as a joke by comedian Karl Pilkington. He said that bananas are sold in clusters of 6 because if you eat 7, you’ll die. Unfortunately, some people took this seriously.
Science tells us a completely different story. We say that bananas are “loaded” with potassium, but they only contain 0.42 grams of it.
Now, that’s a lot compared to other foods. But when compared with the 4.7-gram daily dose of potassium, that isn’t much. You’ll have to eat about 11 bananas to get the potassium you need for the day.
That’s a far cry from the 7 that will supposedly kill you. And that’s only for your daily potassium. How many bananas do you have to eat before getting hyperkalemia?
It’s almost impossible to poison yourself by eating bananas. The number varies from person to person, but you’ll have to eat around 40 bananas to kill yourself. And not just eat them but eat them fast.
Your kidneys will work hard to get rid of all the excess potassium as it comes. This is why you’ll have to gulp down 40 bananas straight to overwhelm your kidneys. As we said, you’re more likely to die from choking on bananas than eating too much.
So can bananas’ potassium kill you? No!
Can Bananas’ Radiation Kill You?
Bananas are radioactive. Sounds scary, right? We live in a time when there is a constant fear of radiation. We all know that exposure to radiation can cause cancer or even kill you on the spot. This is why hearing that bananas are radioactive might scare you away from them. You may even picture bananas oozing with neon green nuclear waste.
But it’s nothing like that.
Did you know that there is radiation all around you right now? There’s radiation in your screen, in the food you eat, in rocks, and in you! That’s right, even our bodies produce radiation.
Imagine Dragons aren’t wrong when they sing in their famous song, “I’m radioactive!” So why aren’t we all mutants by now? It’s because the radiation we produce is very weak.
The cells in our bodies can deal with this without any trouble. Only when you’ve exposed to high levels of radiation that things go wrong.
A banana contains around 0.1 millisieverts of radiation. You can probably tell that this isn’t a lot. And it’s not.
To give you an idea of how little that is, you’re going to need at least 1,000 millisieverts to get radiation sickness. That means you have to eat at least 10,000 bananas in a day to suffer from radioactive poisoning. And to ensure death by radiation, you’ll need to consume a million bananas.
So if anyone tells you that 7 bananas can kill you due to radiation, tell them that they’re 999,993 bananas off.
Can Bananas Kill You At All?
Aside from potassium overdose and radiation, are there any other ways bananas may be dangerous?
For healthy people, there is no way bananas can kill them. But some people do have conditions that make overindulging in bananas dangerous.
For example, people with diabetes may want to follow the “6 rule”(or even less). This is because bananas contain a lot of sugar. Good sugar that is, but still dangerous for the diabetic.
Eating bananas might not kill you, but this does not mean that you can live off bananas.
Yes, they’re very healthy, some even call them miracle fruits because of what they can do for you. But a diet that consists solely of bananas will lead to several problems.
For one, too many bananas can lead to stomach problems. The potassium in bananas does work against constipation. But when you eat too many bananas, it will cause constipation instead.
This is because bananas contain a lot of starch. And when there is excessive starch in your stomach, your digestive system will have a hard time breaking it down.
Other gastrointestinal problems caused by too much starch include bloating, gas, and cramps.
Bananas are very nutritious. But not nutritious enough that you don’t need anything else in your diet.
If you eat a lot of bananas, chances are you won’t have space in your stomach for other functional foods. If you want to be healthy, you need to eat a balanced diet.
The USDA recommends you take 2 cups of fruit a day. If you want to eat 2 cups of bananas, then go ahead! But it’s best if you mix up your fruit intake.
You may have heard of fruitarians before. These are people who have one of the most restrictive diets around. They eat fruit, fruit, and nothing but fruit.
Plenty of people criticize fruitarians. They say that they can’t be healthy this way. But if you observe fruitarians, you’ll find that they’re completely fine. Their secret? They don’t stick to only one fruit.
These people get their hands on as many different types of fruits that they can. They also eat nuts and seeds once in a while. And bananas. They eat lots of bananas. Yet they never eat them to excess. Even most fruit-crazed people make sure they don’t overeat bananas.
All this teaches us that anything eaten in excess isn’t right. You should control your intake of even the best and most nutrient-packed fruits.
We are designed to eat a variety of foods, not only one. So no matter how much you love bananas, you shouldn’t make this the center of your diet.
No. Bananas can’t kill you. But this doesn’t mean that eating a load of bananas is a good idea either.
It’s a myth that eating more than 6 bananas is fatal. But if you want to be healthy, perhaps this isn’t such a bad rule.