Crispy Crunchity Peanut Buttery
November 4, 2007 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Is it dangerous to eat a jar of peanut butter?

A friend has decided to eat an entire 40oz jar of skippy brand peanut butter in one sitting, on a $20 bet. Should I try to put a stop to this, or full steam ahead? I know that it's really a bad idea to consume 40oz of anything in one sitting, but are there any actual heath risks from all that peanut butter, or just discomfort from consuming 6650+ calories in one day?
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew to Food & Drink (38 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
This guy did it and presumably lived to tell the tale.
posted by chrisamiller at 5:41 PM on November 4, 2007


Danger is everywhere in life, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew. I once read of a man who was lying in bed, content, his wife had just kissed him goodbye and left the apartment - and suddenly he felt a white-hot stabbing pain in his buttock. A mattress spring had broken and its sharp end penetrated well into his right gluteus.

In your peanut butter lurk many horrors. One could choke on it. One could get really dry mouth. One's jaws could become sore and achy from chewing the sticky stuff. Someone might point and laugh at a person who was eating 40 oz. of peanut butter, causing that person to die of acute mortification. And eating that much saturated fat on a regular basis probably isn't a great idea. I bet he gets a stomachache.

But health risks, like "call the ambulance, I'm dying of acute peanut butter intoxication?" Without pulling the MSDS and checking the LD50-human (oral), I'm going to go way out on a limb here, risk my medical license, and say, "No." There's no way that eating 40 oz. of peanut butter could pose a hazard to your health.

I don't think it's worth $20, though. Tell your bud to hold out for $100. Then again, I once took a bet and placed a Foley's catheter and a nasogastric tube in myself for $20 apiece, so what do I know?
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:48 PM on November 4, 2007 [45 favorites]


Dangerous? Try dangerously delicious.

Aside from possible temporary intestinal troubles caused by the intake of that much fat at once, I don't think it would be a problem. But I'm not a doctor.
posted by schroedinger at 5:48 PM on November 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


mmmmmmmmmmmm

stomach ache

intestinal distress

$20
posted by caddis at 5:50 PM on November 4, 2007


A 40oz jar is pretty big, far bigger than what the kid in the video ate. I would wonder at some serious stomach issues - the PB industry likes to point out that most of the fat is monounsaturated, but there's still a LOT of fat in there - looks like about the same as 22 Big Macs. IANAD, but I'd expect a lot of bathroom problems, if nothing else.
posted by pupdog at 5:56 PM on November 4, 2007


I suggest your friend keep laxatives on hand.

ikkyu2 - A Foley? I wince at your bravery. (I would have held out for $40)
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:01 PM on November 4, 2007


There have been times in my penurious and peripatetic existence when a jar of peanut butter was all that stood between me and starvation - well, some rather unpleasant hunger pangs at least.
Circumstances being what they were, I would eke it out over more than one sitting, but suffered no ill effects and indeed gained much needed nourishment to continue my shambolic so-called lifestyle.
I weigh exactly what doctors say I should, shit strongly and take no prisoners (they object to the poor diet on offer).
posted by Abiezer at 6:06 PM on November 4, 2007


Laxatives? I don't think that's going to be the issue. If anything I'd stock up on reading material...
posted by pupdog at 9:06 PM on November 4 [+] [!]


agreed
posted by caddis at 6:20 PM on November 4, 2007


oh, he might have a stomachache, but unless he has a peanut allergy, he'll be fine.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:25 PM on November 4, 2007


by my calcs (source) this represents about 580 grams of fat and about 6,720 calories. oh my.
posted by caddis at 6:29 PM on November 4, 2007


Kids under 2 (or maybe it's under 1) have been known to suffocate from getting their mouths and throats clogged with peanut butter. Since your friend is old enough to be wagering $20, he's probably older than that and not in danger of that particular problem.
posted by alms at 6:31 PM on November 4, 2007


There was an article in a recent issue of Cosmo about some girl with an eating disorder. She would consume something like 10,000 calories in one sitting. They next day she said she looked a couple months pregnant and couldn't get out of bed.

I can't imagine how you could feel after eating it would only be worth $20.
posted by Becko at 6:31 PM on November 4, 2007


So far everyone is assuming that he'll actually do it. I say NO WAY, at least not if he has to keep it down for any period of time. I suggest some warm tea and coughdrops for the inevitable puking.
posted by TomMelee at 6:33 PM on November 4, 2007


If he already has the herpes virus, all that peanut butter could contribute to an outbreak. Peanuts are high in the amino acid arginine, which the virus needs to replicate.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 6:34 PM on November 4, 2007


every time i open a jar of peanuts, it's gone in a little over an hour. i've been doing this for decades, no problems, a 40 oz jar of peanut butter would be scarcely more than what i'm used to.
posted by bruce at 6:56 PM on November 4, 2007


My sister's boyfriend ate a whole package of bacon on two slices of white bread with some mayo. He ended up in the hospital with pancreatitis. I know that bacon and peanut butter are not the same, but both are high in fat, so I would guess that a similar outcome is a possibility.

BTW-the bf said that he would do it again, because it was delicious.
posted by bolognius maximus at 7:00 PM on November 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Except, of course, it takes more than 40 oz of peanuts to make 40 oz of peanut butter, not to mention the additional ingredients.
posted by odinsdream at 7:04 PM on November 4, 2007


When I was a kid I would go over to my dad's house every other weekend or whatever. He wasn't the kind of man who was into buying food for us, so one evening I was desperately hungry and all I could find was a jar of peanut butter in the kitchen. I sat down and ate that entire jar, mixing jelly in every once in a while to make it seem almost healthy, and I survived just fine. However, I've never been able to smell peanut butter since then without wanting to vomit, so if your friend intends to eat things with peanuts in the future, he might want to consider the psychological effects.
posted by cmonkey at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


My sister's boyfriend ate a whole package of bacon on two slices of white bread with some mayo. He ended up in the hospital with pancreatitis.

I'm not doctor, so I may be missing something, but I don't see how one course of bacon could result in either acute or chronic pancreatitis.
posted by chrisamiller at 7:10 PM on November 4, 2007


This guy did it too, with only a forkful. It killed him.

Note the comment that "80% of those who die from ‘peanut’ have not had a sever reaction in the past".

Apparently our Senior Deputy State Coroner can't spell.
posted by narge at 7:14 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


chrisamiller: an episode of pancreatitis can be triggered by consumption of large quantities of fat/oils or alcohol but presumably only in those who have pancreatic issues, e.g. due to long term heavy alcohol consumption. Why, I do not know 'cos IANAD.
posted by polyglot at 7:24 PM on November 4, 2007


i'm kind of surprised that no one has mentioned hydrogenated oil. it's not the kind of thing that will kill you right away, certainly, but it's not good for you (it contains trans fats, a new thing that is starting to have to be labeled on foods), and it's in most commercial peanut butters.
posted by lgyre at 7:25 PM on November 4, 2007


From previous experience with oily-fat foods (a bag of cheetos, if you must know) s/he won't be needing a laxative. The opposite, in fact. And be prepared for an interesting discussion when your friend is crouched over the toilet bowel, about how quickly the stomach can separate stuff into a small pile of solids and a disgustingly thick layer of oil...surely it would take months and months in the 'fridge for that much separation to occur in the normal way.
posted by anaelith at 7:26 PM on November 4, 2007


So far everyone is assuming that he'll actually do it. I say NO WAY, at least not if he has to keep it down for any period of time. I suggest some warm tea and coughdrops for the inevitable puking.
posted by TomMelee at 9:33 PM on November 4 [+] [!]


What? I could do that, but not for a measly $20. It would have to be something better like an iPod or better yet an iPhone and a one year deathstar contract. In college, some kid ate a small jar of vaseline for something like a six pack of beer; what a tool. You know he was trapped in porcelain the next day. If you are going to abuse yourself like this you need real compensation. YMMV. George Washington Carver is like a soul brother to me. Peanuts are God's gift to mankind in my estimation, aside from the whole anaphylactic shock and death bit. Did I mention that I like peanuts? BTW, anyone who has prepped for a colonoscopy can relate to the fun that ingesting this amount of fat will provide to your bowels.
posted by caddis at 7:30 PM on November 4, 2007


[a few comments removed, can you send your best one-liners to mefi mail instead?]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:06 PM on November 4, 2007


Your friend might want to avoid eating the 40oz jar of peanut butter and try eating something different.

Peanuts contain Aflatoxins from mold which are carcinogenic. In large amounts Aflatoxins are linked to liver cancer. The FDA has a limit on the amount of aflatoxins that are allowed in each serving of peanut products like peanut butter. However, I suspect that the FDA assumes that people aren't eating an entire 40oz jar of peanut butter in one sitting.
posted by alleycatd at 8:59 PM on November 4, 2007


odinsdream writes "Except, of course, it takes more than 40 oz of peanuts to make 40 oz of peanut butter, not to mention the additional ingredients."

Is this one of those imperial measurement things where two different units have the same name? If not can you explain? 'Cause I can't see how for plain unadultered peanut butter (IE: ground up peanuts and salt) X mass of raw peanuts will produce anything but essentially X mass of peanut butter. And if companies are adding other things to the mix it should require less peanuts not more.
posted by Mitheral at 9:12 PM on November 4, 2007


He will almost certainly throw up, but he'll be fine. Incidentally, how big is this guy?
posted by spiderskull at 10:12 PM on November 4, 2007


Thanks for all the responses. I loved the instant assumption that a guy that made the bet. She's about 5'4", spiderskull.
The aftermath: She went ahead and ate the jar, vomiting 3 hours and half a jar later. Deciding that she had earned the money anyway for all of her discomfort, we went ahead and ended it at that point.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:31 PM on November 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Do I win a cookie for TOTALLY calling that?
posted by TomMelee at 5:21 AM on November 5, 2007


I would heat it up. It would then make a nice drinkable liquid and be much more simple to consume.
posted by Slenny at 6:03 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


odinsdream: "Except, of course, it takes more than 40 oz of peanuts to make 40 oz of peanut butter, not to mention the additional ingredients."

For what it's worth, if your peanut butter has anything other than "peanuts" listed in the ingredients (and maybe "salt"), then it wasn't worth the money you paid for it.

That said, my take on the question - though it's been said already - is that it probably won't kill the guy, but ingesting such a truly stupendous amount of fat and calories in one sitting just can't be good for you.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:45 AM on November 5, 2007


No one mentioned this yet... I did a timed french fry eating contest, and my jaw hurt for at least three days. I don't think peanut butter would necessitate as much chewing, but something that ,ay happen to other extreme eaters out there.
posted by sleslie at 8:57 AM on November 5, 2007


Thanks for the update, doc.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:11 AM on November 5, 2007


Can we get more details? I take it that she consumed half the jar successfully? How long did that take?

You say she vomited (omg trying to not imagine a partially-digested half-jar of peanut butter being expelled from a human) -- I assume she vomited at the 3 hour mark. How did she feel in the interim?

/sad that this comment goes on my permanent record
posted by BaxterG4 at 9:54 AM on November 5, 2007


Is this one of those imperial measurement things where two different units have the same name? If not can you explain?

It's possible that odinsdream was referring to peanuts in the shell. It would require more than 40 oz. of peanuts in the shell to make 40 oz. of peanut butter.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:01 AM on November 5, 2007


To all the concerned:
She took out about 1/4 of the jar in 10 minutes or so, and it all went down from there. At about the one hour mark she began to spray cough syrup into her mouth intermitantly "for a new taste every once and a while". She hit 1/3 at the two hour mark, sweating far more than anyone should in late october, and insisting that she was going to die. 20 oz later, at the three hour mark, she vomited. We wouldn't let her continue past there. After her first class today, she went back to the dorm, insisting that she "felt like shit". When she sweats, it smells like peanut butter. I'm not privy to her gastrointestinal issues, but at the same time, I'm not quite sure I want to be.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 9:54 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


My esteem for you is undiminished, Honeydew, no matter what all these little people say. Fleas! Fleas!
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:05 PM on November 14, 2007


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