Health Implications of consuming too much Garri

In Nigeria, one very staple food is garri. Made from cassava tubers, it has been nicknamed ‘garry’, ‘African cornflakes’, ‘garium sulphate’, ‘garrison’ and so many other funny names. It is loved by all and sundry because it is cheap, affordable and consumed by the rich and poor alike.

It may be consumed with milk, sugar, suya, groundnut, kulikuli, coconut, fried meat, fish (raw, cooked or fried) and the list is endless. Some take it as a form of snack, others have it as real food. It may also be “transformed” and consumed as ‘Eba’, that is when it is prepared with hot water and eaten with soup. Garri has numerous benefits as it increases vitality in consumers.

Taking too much garri can have some serious health implications, we would discuss a few of them below:


  • Eye Defects: Garri is made from cassava which contains hydrocyanic acid. Cyanide in garri, in large quantity, can lead to serious eye defects. However, proper and thorough processing of the garri should reduce the concentration of the acid to a considerate level.
  • Cyanide is also an organic acid in nature and where in excess, it can lead to intestinal issues, and can worsen the case of an ulcer patient.


  • Cassava which is the root from which garri is produced is rich in carbohydrate. A cup of garri contains about 360 calories, out of which 99% is carbohydrate. Hence, consuming much garri can lead to storing of excess carbs in the body and this can lead to unnecessary weight gain.

With these stated side effects, you may be wondering what to do. I know you love garri, I really do too. However, there is need to take caution so as to prevent any negative health implications. As stated above, proper processing of the garri can dramatically reduce the level of cyanide. Hence, it is advisable that you purchase your garri from trusted sources and just as the popular saying goes, “moderation is key”. Moderate your overall consumption of garri.


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