Ever since I can remember, I've eaten apples, and a lot of them. I can remember my mum buying several kilo bags of them a week and I'd munch my way through them all. Today I buy or scrump my own apples. I also eat the entire apple and have done so for as long as I can remember. Yup, everything, skin, core, pips, the lot. The only thing I don't eat is the stalk because, well it's a stick.
Over the years I've heard the story about cyanide in the pips and how if you ate enough apples you'd give yourself cyanide poisoning. As luck would have it, this topic appeared on my Twitter feed this week and pointed me to some very useful information (slightly reformatted to look pretty) which I thought I'd share and save for my own posterity:
Background: People think Apple Seeds contain WW2 levels of Cyanide and they believe it can be lethal under normal conditions.
Analysis: Cyanide is not directly found in Apple seeds, but it can be released from a compound called Amygdalin when it comes in contact with enzymes in the intestines.
Apple seeds can release as much as 0.6 mg of Cyanide per gram of seed.
The average apple seed has a mass of 0.756 grams
The average apple contains 8 seeds
Therefore there are approximately 5.25 grams of apple seeds per apple, yielding a theoretical maximum release of 3.25 mg of cyanide from one apple
The lethal dose of Cyanide is based on body mass and is listed as 1.5 mg/kg.
A human can ingest about 41% of the lethal dose before seeing any side effects.
41% of 1.5 mg/kg = 0.615 mg/kg
The average adult male weighs 81.6466 kg (180 lbs)
Therefore the lethal dose in the average male is 50.213 mg.
50.213/3.15 = ~16 Apples
Therefore the average male can consume ~16 apples without feeling any side effects.
It is also important to note that in order for the seeds to efficiently release Cyanide, they need to be finely chopped/ground, which usually doesn't happen with normal chewing and digestion. Therefore the actual number would be much higher, but this accounts for a worst-case scenario.
Also, the body can break down the Cyanide fairly efficiently, so you would be fine eating 16 Apples every couple days.
TL;DR - Apple seeds are not bad for you
You can now rest in peace knowing that all those apples I eat won't be doing me any harm any time soon. You're welcome 😜