The Weirdest Side Effects of Foods You Eat Every Day


The world is full of everything from complex medicines to simple foods that have crazy side effects. And if you’re anything like us, you often think how easy it is to avoid those unwanted side effects. Just don’t go jamming anything exotic down your throat and you should be fine…right?

Sadly, that’s not always the case. It turns out that some of the weirdest side effects come from foods that we every day. In fact, you might be experiencing such side effects right now and not even know it. Before you plan your next meal, keep reading to discover the strangest side effects of common foods!

Spicy sauce leads to sleepless nights

Spicy sauce makes everything a little bit better. As any fan of Hot Ones can tell you, even when things like spicy wings hurt, they hurt so good. Unfortunately, the spicy sauce you’ve been eating may be hurting your sleep schedule as well.

While not every spice in the world has been tested, a 1992 study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology found that an otherwise healthy pool of male subjects that ate a meal containing Tabasco and mustard couldn’t sleep as well. In short, they took longer to fall asleep and had poor-quality sleep once they were finally snoozing. So if your own sleep patterns have been disrupted lately, it may be time to cut some of the spice out of your life.

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Seeing things due to caffeine

Most people think they know all the side effects of caffeine. That’s why it’s not uncommon for a coworker to jokingly suggest someone “switch to decaf” when they see someone acting jittery or talking a bit too fast. However, one side effect of caffeine that takes almost everyone by surprise is that consuming it can cause hallucinations.

How does this work, exactly? According to MDedge, caffeine affects the adenosine receptors located within your central nervous system and increases your neurotransmitter glutamate even while it reduces the reuptake speed of the neurotransmitter dopamine within your body. This can lead to many side effects, including psychosis. While that’s scary, such an extreme side effect usually comes from consuming too much caffeine, so it’s wise to cut back on coffee if you’re worried about this happening to you.

A manic panic over…beef jerky?

Sam Whittington makes jerky in Johnson City, Texas, the way his father did when he started the company in 1963. Jerky is so popular today that Whittington’s custom-smokes jerky for other producers.

Beef jerky has always been one of our guiltier road trip pleasures. Everyone knows that despite its amazing taste, a high-sodium treat filled with preservatives isn’t the healthiest thing to consume. But what everyone doesn’t know, though, is that eating beef jerky can actually make you manic.

In a recent John Hopkins Medicine study, individuals who were hospitalized for manic episodes were three times likelier to have consumed “nitrate-cured meats” than those who had never previously been diagnosed with any psychiatric disorders. What’s even scarier is that someone may experience mania without even knowing it…since the effects can range from extreme euphoria to conditions such as insomnia and hyperactivity, that jerky you’ve been eating could be the cause of recent changes to your mental state.

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Getting orange skin from carrots

So, if you love carrots, we have some good news and bad news. The bad news is that eating too many of them in a short time can turn your skin orange. The good news is that most people don’t eat nearly enough carrots to have to worry about this.

It all comes down to the beta-carotene in plants that give them their vibrant color. If you eat too many carrots, you can develop carotenemia, which is a fancy way of saying your skin turns orange. But how many is “too many?” According to the Cleveland Clinic, you’d have to eat about 10 medium-sized carrots every day for several weeks before you have to worry about your skin turning orange.

The weird urine smell caused by asparagus

It’s not exactly the stuff of polite dinner conversation, but everyone has a pretty good idea of what their urine normally smells like. Changes to the smell can sometimes indicate a deterioration in your physical health. Or, more commonly, those changes may indicate that you recently ate some asparagus.

Asparagus is filled with asparagusic acid, and as Healthline reports, it can give your pee a highly pungent, highly rotten smell, and the effects may last from the moment your meal is over to about 14 hours later. Interestingly, not everybody experiences this effect, so if your own urine doesn’t change smell after you eat asparagus, it’s nothing to worry about. And if it does change smell, don’t worry: aside from making your time in the bathroom that much weirder, there is nothing dangerous about asparagusic acid.

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The sometimes soapy taste of cilantro

Speaking of things that don’t affect everyone the same way, you may have encountered some people that absolutely hate cilantro. But how could someone hate this cornerstone dish of Mexican cuisine? Simple: to them, it tastes like soap!

As usual, it all comes down to our genetics. In the United States, about 20% of people have a genetic quirk that makes the chemical compounds called aldehydes in cilantro tastes different. Soap is the most common flavor perception, though some may think cilantro tastes like mold, dirt, or bugs (we, uh, aren’t going to ask these people how they know those three things taste). Statistically, this isn’t likely to affect you but it probably affects some of your family and friends, so it wouldn’t hurt to ask everyone in advance before you invite people over for taco Tuesday.

Meat leads to body odor

While some people embrace vegetarian and vegan diets, most people eat meat from time to time. And while red meat is a protein that provides many benefits to your body, would you believe that it might also be making your body stink?

A 2006 study published in Chemical Senses determined that men who had consumed meat over two weeks were less appealing to women in a variety of different ways. While it wasn’t conclusive, they ended up speculating that eating red meat was making these men secrete odors from their sweat glands the women picked up on. Some researchers have even described this as a “rotten egg” smell, so if there is no other apparent cause for your body odor, red meat might be the culprit!

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