When You Eat A Peach Pit, This Is What Happens To You

If there is one food-based urban legend that has endured the test of time, it is the idea that a watermelon will grow in your stomach if you swallow a seed. Children are the most likely to fall victim to the rumor, but most grow out of it by the time they reach adulthood. However, there are other urban legends waiting for them as soon as they realize watermelon seeds can't grow in a person's stomach.

The idea that a peach pit can poison you is one of these rumors. It's based on the idea that the pits of stone fruits like peaches, cherries, and apricots contain cyanide. The Guardian confirms that stone fruits contain amygdalin, a compound that is also present in apple seeds. Once amygdalin enters the body, it breaks down into hydrogen cyanide. As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, cyanide is not something you want to ingest. Mild exposure can lead to rapid breathing and heart rate, headache, and dizziness. More serious levels of exposure can lead to organ damage, loss of consciousness, convulsions, and even death.

All of this might be enough to put you off peaches for good. A quick look at the numbers, however, might just have you ordering peach pie again in no time.

One peach pit isn't a problem

The Guardian explains that peach pits only contain about 2.2 milligrams of hydrogen cyanide — specifically, they contain 2.2 milligrams of hydrogen cyanide for every gram of seed (the pit isn't actually the part that contains amygdalin). The seed is housed inside of the tough shell of the pit, which is too hard for most people to break using their teeth alone. As explained by Outdoor Happens, manual force is often needed to crack through a peach pit to reach the seed inside.

Even once you reach the seed, however, you don't have much to worry about. The National Library of Medicine states that humans have to consume 570 milligrams of hydrogen cyanide before they reach the stage of acute toxicity. At only 2.2 milligrams per seed, you would have to eat over 250 peach seeds to do any serious damage. Eating just one — even if you manage to leave the pit on — isn't going to do much other than possibly give you an upset stomach.