Can Paper Be Digested? What Will Happen Is Described Below

can you eat paper

Can you eat paper – We have a lot of experience with the paper, and many have tried it before, whether by accident or on purpose. Still, you’ve probably wondered, “Is paper edible?” at some point. Many people ask if can you eat paper as some people accidentally consume paper. 

 Although it is safe to ingest tiny amounts of paper, it is best to refrain, mainly if the document contains ink. Paper is virtually indigestible because it has almost no nutrients. Paper may contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals, so there is little benefit to ingesting it other than the fibre it provides. Let’s discuss the answer to can you eat paper in detail. 

Can You Digest Ink-Stained Paper?

Paper containing ink is toxic and should not be consumed. The ink can irritate the mouth, skin, and eyes, even in small doses. Unless the ink gets into your eyes, it will take quite a bit to cause noticeable irritation. The ink in printer cartridges and ink stamps is more concentrated, making them more dangerous than the ink in pens and markers. Therefore, if you had to choose between eating regular uninked paper and paper with ink, the former would be preferable.

If you eat paper by mistake, then a question in your mind might also arise can you eat paper? 

What happens if you eat paper, other than the possible glares of onlookers?

You won’t get sick if you unintentionally or purposefully eat a little bit of paper. But if you overeat of it, you might get sick to your stomach or have an obstruction in your intestines. The main component of wood and paper, cellulose, has been used for at least two hundred years as a food additive despite being indigestible. You read that correctly. Many of the foods you and I eat today contain wood products. Cellulose gum is one well-known example of an additive. There are many components in the paper, and this is why people ask if can you eat paper. 

Cellulose is a bulking agent and filler that can make you feel full and aid in bowel regularity.

The FDA does set maximum levels for permitted ingredients in various foods. Wood cellulose is a filler additive because it is inexpensive and widely available in the food industry.

Some foods can legally contain up to 4% cellulose. However, numerous lawsuits have been filed against food manufacturers due to the presence of significantly more than permitted in their products. Some 100% Parmesan cheese brands, for instance, have been shown to contain as much as 10% cellulose in lab tests. The answer to can you eat paper is usually asked by people who have consumed paper, 

Food adulteration occurs when adding or substituting non-food substances intentionally diminishes food quality. Criminal penalties for food tampering include imprisonment for up to six years and steep fines.

Toxins like dioxins can damage reproduction and lead to cancer.

Formaldehyde and chlorine are two of the most common toxic chemicals in paper towels. Heavy processing is required for paper before it can be transformed from a tree into a finished product—a smooth white sheet.

The Composition of Paper.

Learning about how paper is made can help you understand why it’s best not to eat it. Paper is produced from waste paper and recycled wood pulp. Cellulose and lignin are the two main components of wood. However, during the papermaking process, lignin is essentially eliminated.

Making paper from woodchips

The fibrous component is cellulose; the organic glue-like lignin keeps everything in place. When consumed in modest quantities, cellulose and lignin pose no health risks to humans. Natural glue lignin gives wood its brown colour but reduces the durability of paper.

If not removed, lignin will hasten the paper’s discolouration and deterioration. Because of this, hundreds of chemicals are used to produce paper. Lignin removal requires a variety of chemical reactions, as well as high-pressure washing and high-temperature cooking.

The wood pulp is also bleached in multiple steps to achieve a white colour. The pulp is then fed into machines that press it into sheets, dry it, and then slice it.

Ways to Avoid Snacking on Paper.

People can develop an addiction to eating paper and may require assistance to break the habit. Now you might have got the answer to can you eat paper? 

The condition known as xylophagia, an insatiable desire for non-edible wood products, is curable. However, medical attention is your best bet if you or a loved one are struggling with this. In most cases, the first step in treatment is to address any illness or injury that resulted from ingesting the non-food items.

A doctor may suggest supplementation with specific vitamins and minerals if a nutrient imbalance exists. A psychological evaluation may be recommended to properly diagnose and treat the disorder’s mental components.


Can You Stay Alive If You Eat Paper?

The insoluble fiber in the paper could aid the digestive process by bulking up the stool. Aside from that, it contributes nothing nutritionally but can make you feel fuller for longer. 

Since cellulose is a common food additive, eating a minimal amount of paper would provide enough nutrition to ensure survival. Nothing more than relieving mild hunger and facilitating elimination.

If you find yourself in a situation where you must eat paper for survival, the last thing you want to do is cook it. So, the paper could be better than nothing, but it should be something other than your first choice regarding survival foods.

Can One Typically Consume Paper?

The frequency with which paper consumption occurs may be unclear. Though unintentional paper ingestion is common, deliberate consumption is unusual. Xylophagia, the insatiable desire to consume anything made of wood, is a form of the psychological eating disorder pica. 

The insatiable desire for anything that is not food is the hallmark of the eating disorder known as pica. Non-food items consumed by someone with this disorder may contain harmful substances.

The prevalence of this disorder is highest in kids between the ages of 1 and 6, but adults can also develop it independently. Some nutrient deficiencies may play a role in pica, but this is not the only possible explanation for this condition.

Exactly how Dangerous Is Paper?

People often wrongly believe that eating paper poses no health risks. Most paper is safe to touch and contains no toxic chemicals, but some may be in extremely minute quantities. This suggests that paper may be harmful, especially when consumed in large quantities. Because of the common practice of bleaching paper goods, they frequently contain dioxins and other bleaching byproducts.


Paper is something almost everyone has used at some point in their lives. After reading this, it is evident that you should not knowingly consume anything that is not food, including paper products. Today, we still rely on paper products such as printer paper, napkins, and even toilet paper, even though they could be more nutritious when consumed.

Although paper is not designed to be consumed, knowing that you are not in danger if you have eaten even a tiny amount of it is comforting. Thankfully, there are various fiber-rich food options that are healthier and more appetizing. The above-listed portion has explained the answer to can you eat paper?