Can you eat sand?

In this short article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat sand?.” We will also consider questions about what sand is and its composition, why people eat sand, the effects and treatments of pica disorders, the people who usually eat sand, and the potential risk of eating sand. 

Can you eat sand?

Yes, you can eat minute quantities of sand. Unless a person consumes huge quantities of sand, it is unlikely to be dangerous to consume. Eating too much dirt, on the other hand, might result in stomach pains, diarrhoea, and vomiting.

What is sand?

Sand is a loose granular material that covers the world’s beaches, riverbeds, and deserts.

Sand is a granular mixture of small rock grains and granular elements that is primarily defined by size, being finer than gravel but coarser than silt. 

And they come in sizes ranging from 0.06 mm to 2 mm. Sand is formed by erosion, broken pebbles, and rock weathering and is carried by waves and rivers. 

Sand comes in a variety of colours, including white, black, green, and even pink, and is made up of many different materials that vary based on location.

What is the composition of sand?

Sand is made up of unconsolidated granular materials such as rock fragments, mineral particles, and oceanic sediments. It is mostly composed of silicate minerals and granular silicate rock particles. 

Silicon dioxide in the form of quartz is the most prevalent component of sand. Rocks and minerals, such as quartz, feldspar, and mica, make up the earth’s landmasses.

Quartz is the most common mineral in this area because of its excellent weather resistance. Sand also contains amphiboles and micas, which are common rock-forming minerals. Heavy minerals like tourmaline, zircon, and others can also be found in small amounts in the sand. 

Why do people eat sand?

People eat sand and other non-nutritive foods sometimes due to the pica disorder. Pica can be caused by a chemical imbalance, a nutritional deficiency such as iron deficiency, or an obsessive-compulsive disease in people. 

Pica-related behaviours should be addressed at once due to the potential for problems. Individuals could become infected with parasitic infestations, ulcers, intestinal obstructions, and teeth abrasions, among other significant illnesses and medical disorders.

What are the effects of pica disorders?

The urge to consume non-nutritive substances can have bad effects on individuals if this persists for a long time. Some effects of pica disorders are:

  • When you eat sand or soil, it might cause gastrointestinal pain and bleeding.
  • Clay consumption may cause constipation.
  • Eating large amounts of sand can even cause choking in children.
  • Ingesting paint may expose a person to the risk of lead poisoning.
  • Consumption of metal objects may result in intestinal perforation.

What are the treatments for pica disorders?

In the therapy of pica, numerous techniques can be used, and the treatment is determined by the diagnosis.

  • A doctor may conduct blood testing to see if the problem is caused by a nutritional deficiency. Deficient nutrients are provided if this is the case. 
  • Therapy may also be applied to treat mental health or environmental health issues. Pica can last for years and inflict permanent damage if left untreated.

Which individuals usually eat sand?

Sand eating is usually common among a few groups of people, though it is not food. These individuals include:

  • Many young children consume sand or soil regularly, and it is usually a harmless curiosity. However, this is a tendency that children gradually grow out of. Take any child who seems to be drawn to dirt and consumes it in significant quantities over a lengthy period to a doctor to be checked for nutritional deficiencies.
  • Pregnant women also experience unusual appetites, such as eating sand or dirt, during pregnancy, and these tendencies may be linked to a mineral shortage.
  • Pica sufferers: If you are not pregnant but have strange desires for sand or other weird things, you can have a disorder called Pica. Pica makes people crave things that aren’t food or, in certain cases, dangerous substances. 
  • Adults suffering from OCD or schizophrenia
  • Malnourished individuals.
  • Those who are intellectually or developmentally challenged.

What are the potential risks of eating sand?

Because sand is not a nutritive substance to benefit the body in any way, there are some downsides to their regular intake. Eating large amounts and sand can result in

  • Diarrhoea, constipation, and vomiting diseases due to bacteria that may be present in the sand that is not beneficial to the body.
  • It may also lead to choking when very large quantities are consumed.  


In this short article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat sand?” We have also considered questions about what sand is and its composition, why people eat sand, the effects and treatments of pica disorders, the people who usually eat sand and the potential risk of eating sand.