When You Eat Too Much Garlic, This Is What Happens

Garlic is a bold and aromatic ingredient that can add flavor to almost any dish. However, there is such a thing as using too much garlic. Despite its many health benefits, consuming garlic in excess can actually cause a number of unpleasant side effects (via Healthline). In addition to giving you bad breath, eating too much garlic can cause gastrointestinal issues. As a high-carb, high-fructan food, garlic can lead to bloating, gas, and stomach cramps, especially for those with a fructan intolerance. That's because people who are intolerant to fructan are unable to completely digest and break down garlic and other high-fructan foods, leaving their undigested food to ferment in the gut instead of getting absorbed in the small intestine.

Eating too much garlic can also cause heartburn. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), consuming large quantities of garlic can exacerbate your symptoms and trigger your acid reflux, which can lead to nausea and heartburn. Eating smaller amounts of garlic can help avoid this problem. The most serious side effect, however, is an increased risk of bleeding. Garlic's antithrombotic properties can prevent blood clots from forming, so it's best to avoid it if you're taking blood thinners or will be undergoing surgery.

How much garlic should you eat?

That said, when consumed in moderation, garlic is still associated with a variety of important health benefits (via Insider). In fact, eating garlic on a regular basis can improve heart health and immune function, enhance endurance and athletic performance, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

While there are no official guidelines or recommendations on the exact amount of garlic one should eat, studies have shown that eating one to two cloves per day can give you all of the added health benefits of garlic without any of the unpleasant side effects. "One to two cloves a day should be the maximum consumed by anyone," Tracey Brigman, a food and nutrition expert at the University of Georgia, told Insider. "If you opt for adding two cloves of garlic a day to your diet, you may also want to add fresh parsley, mint, or raw apples to your diet to help prevent the bad breath associated with garlic consumption."