Even though we need it to stay alive, food can kill us in a surprising number of ways. Some might slowly poison us with unnatural chemical combinations, while others might try to eat us before they themselves get eaten. Either way, dinner is way more dangerous than we give it credit for.
You might think it’s easy to tell when a food might be more hazardous than it looks. But, as it turns, many of the most dangerous are actually flying well below the radar. No longer. Thanks to a range of experts from across the world, we can now reveal the ingredients that are actually most likely to do us damage. Meals just got a whole lot safer.
Not only is there evidence that beef can increase the risk of coronary disease and diabetes, but cattle farming is also one of the most environmentally unsustainable activities on earth. According to Yue Dong from the University of Oklahoma, who spoke with Gizmodo earlier this month, “Given the global-scaled apocalyptic consequence of global warming, and the direct correlation between beef consumption and CO2 emission, it is not insane to say that beef could be the most dangerous food of all time.”
Variously known as manioc and yuca around the world, cassava is a staple food in many cultures. Delicious though it may be, it is also deceptively dangerous. If not prepared correctly, cassava contains a substance known as linamarin, which turns into cyanide when eaten raw - putting the millions that rely on this food at risk every day.
Despite being known as “The King of Fruits” there are a couple of factors that make durians particularly dangerous. Eaten all over Southeast Asia, durians are heavy and spiky, and are known to kill several people a year by falling on top of them. They are also high in sulphur, which makes them potentially lethal if consumed in conjunction with alcohol, according to Ty Matejowsky from the University of Central Florida.
4. Hot Dogs
They might be America’s favourite suggestively shaped, sausage-based snack, but there is a hidden dark side to our hot dog obsession. According to John Hopkins Medicine, hot dogs are the leading cause of choking among children under three and contribute to an astonishing 1500 kids ending up in the emergency room every year.
Many mushrooms are some of the tastiest ingredients on the planet. It’s just a shame that, out of the estimated 100,000 known mushroom species on earth, around 100 are incredibly poisonous. To make matters worse, many of these, such as the innocent-looking death cap, can often be mistaken for something really tasty, making any fungi risky business.
We’ve all heard of the dangers posed by peanut allergies, but the actual impact of this seemingly innocent food is actually relatively poorly understood. According to Harvard Professor Nicholas Christakis, around 150 people die every year in America alone after suffering a particularly severe reaction, making peanuts a serious matter.
We’ve already seen how the major global impact of the beef industry can be dangerous for people, but there’s another industry that could be even worse. In separate interviews with Gizmodo, professors from the University of Warwick and Yale both pointed to the historical impact of the sugar trade and its effect on the human body as the main reason to brand sugar as public enemy number one.
You can argue to the ends of the earth over what does and doesn’t qualify a food as “dangerous”, but what's clear is that your dinner has more than one way to kill you. Whether you eat well or poorly, your food could be out to get you. Don't say you weren't warned.