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6 Bizarre Side Effects of Foods You Eat Every Day

#3. Grapefruit Can Mess With Your Medication

OK, maybe it's not shocking that too much coffee and chemical-filled candy can mess with your system. But grapefruit?

Grapefruit is the hallmark of a healthy breakfast, damn it! It contains vitamin C and antioxidants, and it can help lower cholesterol. It seems like the only health problem related to the grapefruit would be if it were fired out of a cannon directly into your face.

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Although the cholesterol level of your resulting head wound would be inspirational.

Well, it turns out grapefruit blocks certain enzymes in the small intestine that break down medications. These enzymes normally regulate the amount of whatever drug you've consumed that gets absorbed into your body. If you take your medication (or "medication," if your pharmacist wears a denim vest and answers to "Ratboy") when you have grapefruit in your system, you get a much larger dose of the drug than you normally would.

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"I'm so Xanaxed out right now, I almost poured you a screwdriver."

As little as one glass of grapefruit juice can elicit the maximum blocking effect, which can often last for more than 24 hours. Grapefruit affects so many medications that there's even a list of them on Wikipedia.


It includes an anti-diarrhea drug and an anti-psychotic, effectively killing two birds with one stone.

The effect can be hazardous and, yes, even fatal in some cases. If you do take medication, your best bet is to just cut grapefruit out of your diet completely and eat those fudge Pop-Tarts like the rest of us. Or, you know, ask your doctor. Whatever.

#2. Too Much Coffee Leads to Auditory Hallucinations

Coffee is an essential component of fast-paced modern life. It lets us work hard, play hard and go straight back to working hard without taking a break. If it weren't for coffee, you'd actually have to accept your body's physical limitations and rest for a while.

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Coffee: less life-threatening, but more importantly, less insufferable.

But despite its benefits, an Australian study suggests that overreliance on coffee's stimulation can fuck with your brain in a pretty serious way. And by serious, we're talking one of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

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And not even the cool schizophrenia where you become a math genius and win an Oscar.

In the study, participants sat for three minutes and listened to white noise being played through headphones. They were told to listen for snippets of Bing Crosby's rendition of "White Christmas," and to press a button whenever they heard it. However, in a bold Shyamalan punch to the face, no part of the song was ever played. Goddamn, we're starting to suspect being a scientist is a hilarious job.

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"It turns out you can make people crazy just by lying to them and feeding them drugs. SCIENCE!"

Anyway, although the song was never played, participants who drank five or more cups of coffee a day were much more likely to think that they'd heard it. Simon Crowe, the lead author of the study, said that high levels of stress and caffeine make people "more likely to 'overreact' to their environment -- i.e., to hear things that just aren't there." So if you start to hear hearty renditions of Christmas carols in the middle of July, you might want to throttle back on the coffee.

Wikipedia
You might also be at a Chinese buffet.

#1. Soy Can Lower Your Sperm Count

Soy is generally known as the food of choice for vegans/people who want every meal to be a miserable, tasteless experience, often using bizarre soy "meat" substitutes. But soy really is everywhere -- if you've ever cooked with "vegetable oil," there's a good chance that you've cooked with soy. Then you have Asian cuisine, where soy sauce is used so often it's just sort of assumed to be present in every dish. And so on.

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Soy also has the weird effect of making you live a terrible, humorless life.

In a Harvard study, scientists assessed the diets of 99 men who were having their semen analyzed at a fertility center, taking specific note of 15 types of soy-based foods. Even after accounting for age, alcohol intake, abstinence and other words beginning with the letter "A," the scientists noticed that there was an inverse association between soy food intake and sperm concentration, meaning either the participants were experiencing an adverse effect on their body chemistry or were ejaculating every time they took a bite.

Mathias Sjoberg
Picture unrelated.

This was not a minor difference. Those who consumed the most soy food had an average of 41 million sperm/ml less than those who didn't eat soy food at all. For perspective, the average sperm count is around 60 million sperm/ml, meaning significant soy intake could more than halve your collection of potential offspring.

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Every slice is another stolen childhood.

It turns out that soy has a pro-estrogenic effect on your system, meaning it can increase estrogen levels in your body, which can potentially lower your sperm count. It gets worse if you're obese, which also causes you to produce more estrogen. So, a hefty gentleman who crams an excessive amount of soy products into his face stands at an even greater risk of lowering his sperm count. Which is a shame, because the world definitely needs to be populated with more fat vegans.

Simon Bower is a freelance writer and amateur comedian (read: unemployed). You can follow him on Twitter or email him.

For more tasty treats you should watch out for, check out 5 Horrifying Food Additives You've Probably Eaten Today and 8 Health Foods That Are Bad For Your Health.

And stop by LinkSTORM to help cure your Pop Tart addiction.

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