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Why Can't Humans Eat Grass?

A woman lays in a field of flowers with bare feet.
(Image credit: Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock)

In principle, people can eat grass; it is non-toxic and edible. As a practical food source, however, your lawn leaves a lot to be desired.

There are two main problems with a grass diet. The first is that human stomachs have difficulty digesting raw leaves and grasses. Animals such as cows, on the other hand, have a specialized stomach with four chambers to aid in the digestion of grass (a process called rumination).

Aside from the digestion issues, a second problem with grass as a food source is the mastication. Your dentist would not be pleased; grass contains a lot of silica, an abrasive which quickly wears down teeth. Grazing animals have teeth that are adapted to continually grow, replacing the worn tooth surfaces quickly.

Originally published on Live Science.

Benjamin Radford
Benjamin Radford is the Bad Science columnist for Live Science. He covers pseudoscience, psychology, urban legends and the science behind "unexplained" or mysterious phenomenon. Ben has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in psychology. He is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and has written, edited or contributed to more than 20 books, including "Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries," "Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore" and “Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits,” out in fall 2017. His website is www.BenjaminRadford.com.