Drinking Garri– Benefits and Side Effects

Garri is one of Nigeria's popular and most consumed flaky foods. It has earned its reputation for its swift preparation and affordability and it is consumed by all classes of Nigerians.

Made from dried grated cassava, it can be used to prepare swallow dish like Eba, or it can be eaten when soaked in water (popularly referred to as drinking garri).


Despite garri's popularity, many Nigerians have very limited knowledge about its effects compared to what they know about its benefits.

Yes, it is a good source of energy. It is also cheaper to afford. These are the two benefits I and several other Nigerians can deduce from our consumption of garri. However, on the flip side, the effects of garri outweigh the benefits when compared.

In this post, I will be sharing some of the effects of garri and why you might consider reducing your garri intake.

1. Garri is a very high-carbohydrate starchy food that causes spikes in our blood sugar. This burdens the body as it needs to put in extra effort to process the increased blood sugar level and break down the high-carb food (garri).

Insulin is the hormone in our body that regulates the sugar/glucose in our body and as we grow older, insulin secretion decreases.

For diabetic patients, it can be very fatal because their cells have stopped responding to insulin (insulin resistance). This can pose various health risks to these patients, including weight gain, infertility, and diminished wound-healing ability.

2. Garri contains high levels of hydrocyanic acid. This cyanide acid is derived from cassava and can potentially cause severe eye defects. The concentration of this acid in garri is significantly reduced to a safer level when prepared to make the Eba dish due to its preparation with hot water. However, soaking it in warm/cold water for "drinking" doesn't reduce the cyanide acid

3. The Cyanide acid in garri can also cause stomach ulcers and Appendicitis (appendix). When cyanide, a naturally occurring organic acid, accumulates in higher concentrations in the intestines, it raises the risk of ulcer and appendix.

4. Red oil is used while processing yellow garri. This red oil can elevate the risk of heart attacks and failure due to the saturated fat content.

Garri is one of the foods we cannot do without, but it is essential to consume it moderately. You might want to consider saving this post as a bookmark to serve as a reminder of the importance of limiting garri intake.

Remember, health is wealth.