We have all heard the expression “death by chocolate”… but is this ominous-sounding threat actually a legitimate possibility? In other words, can you actually die from eating chocolate?
After much research (yay internet!), I have concluded that the average human being would probably have to consume almost 11 pounds of baking chocolate in order to be in the realm of a 50% chance of lethality. Most of the chocolate bars you can buy at the store are 8-oz., so that would mean about 22 bars.
Cocoa beans contain about 1.2% theobromine by weight, while processed chocolate, in general, has smaller amounts. The amount found in highly refined chocolate candies (typically 1.4–2.1 g/kg or 40–60 mg/oz) is much lower than that of dark chocolate or unsweetened baker’s chocolate (> 14 g/kg or > 400 mg/oz). In general, the amount of theobromine found in chocolate is small enough such that chocolate can be safely consumed by humans. However, occasional serious side effects may result from the consumption of large quantities, especially in the elderly.
The factor that actually could kill you known as Theobromine poisoning or chocolate poisoning, which is an overdose reaction to the alkaloid theobromine, found in chocolate, tea, cola beverages, acai berries and some other foods. The first signs of theobromine poisoning are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and increased urination. These can progress to cardiac arrhythmias, epileptic seizures, internal bleeding, heart attacks and eventually death. Lethal doses of theobromine have only been published for humans, cats, dogs, rats, and mice; these differ by a factor of 6 across species.
Now this conclusion is also based on the estimate that the consumer was eating regular chocolate. Consuming dark chocolate has been proven by science to actually be good for you in some cases.
Regardless of whether chocolate can kill you, you should never eat THAT MUCH (of anything) to begin with! Everything in moderation.