Death can come in many forms, watermelon included. If we can stomach enough of them, many of our daily foods are lethal. Down 30-plus glasses of water in a few hours, for instance, and you’ll do yourself in. (One major cause of MDMA-related deaths: water intoxication caused in part by drug-induced extreme thirst.) Of course, the human stomach usually doesn’t hold much more than 4 cups, but the toxic effects of overindulgence can build up as your intestines move the food along. Here’s how much you’d need to eat of a few foods to flirt with fatality.
1. Beef liver
Organ meats pack more nutrients than muscles. Livers in particular contain so much vitamin A that overindulgence overloads our own livers—and increases intracranial pressure to hazardous levels.
Average Woman: 770 cups (359 pounds)
Average Man: 924 cups (431 pounds)
This fatty fruit contains almost twice as much potassium as a banana. When too much of the metal hits the bloodstream, it interrupts the heart’s rhythmic beating, causing it to slow—or even stop.
Average Woman: 250 cups (200 fruits)
Average Man: 300 cups (240 fruits)
3. Dark chocolate
Like caffeine, the theobromine in cocoa dilates blood vessels and increases heart rate. Scarf enough, and these effects can combine to drop pressure while speeding up your ticker: total shutdown.
Average Woman: 82 cups (332 bars)
Average Man: 98 cups (398 bars)
Heaps of any fluid-rich fruit could kill you. Cells inundated by water expand to normalize their electrolyte balance. Swelling like this in the brain can damage nerve cells and pinch off the oxygen supply.
Average Woman: 80 cups (3 melons)
Average Man: 130 cups (4 melons)
[Related: Yes, coffee drinkers seem to live longer. But don’t get too excited.]
Too much caffeine can make you dizzy, raise your blood pressure, and even give you seizures. Way too much can send your heart into fibrillation, an arrhythmic beat that fails to pump blood.
Average Woman: 50 cups
Average Man: 70 cups
Eat as little as 6.5 teaspoons of this holiday spice to get a 12-hour high (and a two-day hangover), thanks to the psychoactive chemical myristicin. Eat multiple cups to trigger organ failure.
Average Woman: 22 cups, ground
Average Man: 27 cups, ground
[Related: How many hot dogs would it take to kill you?]
This article was originally published in the Winter 2018 Danger issue of Popular Science.