It’s said that eating a lot of bananas at once could be dangerous – it has even been suggested that eating more than six bananas at once can result in death from a lethal potassium overdose. Can this really be true?
Bananas are among the most popular fruits on earth. They are extremely healthy. They are good for improving the immune system, reducing blood pressure, protecting heart health, modifying the metabolism and building strong bones.
Potassium is a crucial nutrient, playing key roles in muscle strength, nerve function and heart health.
A diet deficient in potassium may lead to symptoms like fatigue and muscle weakness, inactive reflexes, abnormal heartbeat, anemia and severe headaches.
Excess potassium in the body, for example, from patients with kidney issues that cannot properly process potassium, may have dangerously high levels. This can lead to heart disease, trouble breathing, tingling in the hands and feet, heart arrhythmia, and nausea.
SO, CAN EATING SIX BANANAS AT ONCE RESULT IN DEATH?
One banana contains about 400mg potassium – and we need more than ten times that (4,800mg) to be healthy.
Normal, healthy person could not get a fatal dose of potassium through food – and certainly not through a few bananas.
Catherine Collins, dietitian at St George’s Hospital in London, told BBC recently that to ingest enough potassium to kill you, you’d have to eat around 400 bananas at once.
“You would probably need around 400 bananas a day to build up the kind of potassium levels that would cause your heart to stop beating” – she said.
You could also experience chronic symptoms by eating 274 bananas a day for seven years.
In short, you cannot eat a fatal dose of bananas – unless (there’s always an exception to every rule) you are suffering renal failure and are on dialysis, in which case a strict low-potassium diet is necessary to prevent potassium build-up.