Monkey News: Karl Pilkington is bananas

It’s sometimes said that eating a lot of of bananas at once could be dangerous – it has even been suggest that eating more than six in one sitting could kill you. Can this be true?

Source: Can eating more than six bananas at once kill you? – BBC News

No. And yay BBC News for this ridiculous headline.

According to this piece, comedian Karl Pilkington popularized this idea. Pilkington is well-known as being Ricky Gervais’ “idiot”, a role it’s not clear if he acts or lives.

“Before when you were talking about bananas… I had that fact, about if you eat more than six, it can kill you,” he said in one of his conversations with Gervais and fellow comedian Stephen Merchant.

“It is a fact. Potassium levels are dangerously high if you have six bananas… I saw a bowl of bananas. There’s six bananas there. You know why there’s only six? Seven would be dangerous.”

Cartoon Stephen Merchant, Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington from HBOs The Ricky Gervais Show.

People should not get their science from celebrities. DN tipster Clive Bartram tells us how misleading this BBC headline is. “It should read : ‘eating six bananas  a day will not kill you’ (unless you have kidney failure).  Not quite so eye grabbing though!”

Low potassium is bad and high potassium is bad. But a normally functioning person can eat 7 bananas without harm although it’s not clear why you would want to do that. Everything in moderation is best.

Perhaps six bananas are there because they aren’t so fresh after a few days so to buy more would be wasteful? That’s more practical than 7 will kill you. Silly, Karl. But maybe that was the point. We shouldn’t be taking such silliness so seriously.


  14 comments for “Monkey News: Karl Pilkington is bananas

  1. Jan Malcheski
    September 14, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    I bet Doubtful has covered this well but thinking about The Deadly, I just was told about Korean Fan Death. Surely you jest and don’t call me Shirley! !

  2. Rich
    September 14, 2015 at 2:28 PM

    At least the article clearly says that it’s nonsense and it would take 400 bananas to kill you. Although, as one of the ‘More or Less’ presenters observed, if you were eating you way through 400 bananas in a day your difficulties wouldn’t start with the potassium.

  3. Craig
    September 14, 2015 at 4:22 PM

    Eating one or more banana’s would kill me only if there are venomous spiders in the bunch.

  4. September 14, 2015 at 5:01 PM

    I heard Karl say that on the show and I never dreamed anyone would take anything he said seriously! “An Idiot Abroad” is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, and Karl’s delivery…well, it’s just priceless, and had me in stitches. Clearly, he was just saying something his dumb self would say.

    *shaking my head* What a world we live in, when people cannot tell when someone said something in jest.

  5. One Eyed Jack
    September 14, 2015 at 5:06 PM

    Perhaps six bananas are there because they aren’t so fresh after a few days so to buy more would be wasteful?

    This is why someone invented banana bread.

  6. Ed
    September 14, 2015 at 7:00 PM

    Am I the only person that doesn’t like bananas? Eating six would certainly make me puke.

  7. Bonnie
    September 14, 2015 at 7:31 PM

    That’s what I wondered. Why would anyone think a comedian was being serious?

  8. Phil
    September 14, 2015 at 7:37 PM

    I recall stories about parasites or deadly insects in bananas. Apart from the fact the any insect could stow away on anything from a tropical country from a pineapple to a bamboo chair, is there anything banana specific one should be aware of?

  9. bobm
    September 14, 2015 at 10:20 PM

    Poe’s law?

  10. MisterNeutron
    September 14, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    In a word, spiders. Tarantulas and Brazilian Wandering Spiders, for example, like to hide out in bunches of bananas.

  11. Simon S.
    September 15, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    I remember a work colleague friend telling me that there was a boy at his school who decided to eat nothing but bananas, in order to see if his poo turned white! I can’t remember what the reported results were, but doubt that a schoolboy who would try that would report accurate results anyway. Any volunteers want to repeat the experiment?

  12. Christine Rose
    September 15, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    I think puking would be the better choice than actually absorbing all that simple sugar. Bananas are slimy so they should be relatively easy to reverse digest.

  13. Kevin Fries
    September 16, 2015 at 12:10 PM

    My brother taught English in South Korea for 4 years. His Korean girlfriend was adamant that fan death was real, and so were the majority of the teachers at the school he taught at. Of course, this could just mean my brother hung around with a strange group of people, but it is definitely a belief in SK

  14. Cathy
    September 17, 2015 at 7:51 PM

    I don’t know what it would do to me. One banana can make me sick. The smell of banana can give me a migraine. I really don’t want to know what 7 bananas would do to me!

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