HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Can One Eat Too Many (Raw)Oysters?

Just wondering. Recently had some fantastic smaller Island Creek (MA) oysters that are still on '$1 each Special', but I thought I'd ask CHs if bad gastric side effects are known to (or could) result from consuming 2 doz. or so. TIA.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My brother once joked years ago that he'd "ate a dozen oysters, but only three of them 'worked' ." Go figure...

    For raw oysters, I love the very small ones and could eat at least two dozen of them easily. However, I would be careful after the first dozen because there is a small chance they can turn on you.

    1. Not sure, but from the Web site of a famous NOLA "oyster restaurant," there are many in their "18 Dozen Club." There must be a physical, human limit, but 18 dozen sounds like a lot to me.

      I was with my mother once, when she ate 6 dozen, and I thought that was an accomplishment. Little did I know.


      1. I will eat as many as you can put in front of me.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JonParker

          To me, the ultimate luxury is someone shucking them faster than l can eat them.

        2. Yeah, I don't think you have to worry about 2 doz. 10 dozen might be pushing it.

          But 2 dozen? That sounds like the perfect lunch to me :-)

          1. There is a possibility they could well...erupt, especially if one eats lots and has a probable reaction to them.

            1. I eat 2 or 3 dozen Island Creeks with a glass or tepid wine as dinner sometimes.

              Just make sure you trust your source.

              1. From the 70's and 80's, seafoodies of Philadelphia will remember The Blue Point Crab House near the Tacony bridge. The menu was very limited but for huge bowls of mussels in red or white sauce, steamed crabs and an amazing raw bar, there was nothing better. And really inexpensive. My regular fare was an appetizer of a dozen raw oysters, a bucket of steamed snow crab claws for the entree, and another dozen oysters for dessert. With a couple of Dortmunder Union beers (their only beer), I was in heaven.

                1. My nearby oyster bar in FL has 50 cent oysters on weekends, and I'll usually have 4 dozen when I go. I recall a gentleman from Europe finishing his 7th dozen there a few weeks ago.

                  4 Replies
                    1. re: JonParker

                      At the 3 Anna Maria Oyster Bar restaurants in Cortez, Bradenton, and Ellenton. The 50 cent special is 2-5 on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. They are cold, fresh, good size, and well shucked without grit or shell pieces. Wild caught from area #28 in Alabama.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        We will plan to do just that when l arrive in November.

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Deal. I know you avoid oysters in summer months, but I'm enjoying nice tasty plump ones.

                  1. Can One Eat Too Many (Raw)Oysters?


                    1. If it's spoiled or contaminated, ONE raw oyster is too much! Bottom line: Know your resource, as well as your resource's source! But barring a bad oyster, it should be a simple matter of how many you can eat before you're sated. Individual mileage may vary. '-)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Caroline1

                        I have been sickened twice from steamer clams but never from an oyster, and I have eaten a lot of them. Shuckers can generally spot a bad one. I don't know what percentage are bad. I ate 100 one day in Zijuatanejo, my personal record but they were smaller there.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          I'm sure you know that oysters are supposed to be an aphrodisiac. After eating 100, can you tell us if your craving lasted more than 4 hours?

                      2. I can tolerate a raw oyster, for politeness's sake, from time to time. The idea of eating 2 dozen or more is making me want to puke up my breakfast. I imagine it's like swallowing a bucket of seawater.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: RealMenJulienne

                          Thanks for the image, l indeed hope you do puke up your breakfast.

                        2. 2 doz? No, not from my experience, assuming (as other posters have wisely opined) that all things are clean and fresh. I have consumed 4 doz oysters/cherrystones (in combination, at a wedding) at once with no ill effects except a gluttonous desire for more. If I could find 2 doz good oysters for a good price in my neck of the woods, I'd happily have them for a summer supper.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: pinehurst

                            For 14 straight years, I ate about 100 cherrystones on the patio during the Friday cocktail party at my Boston golf tournament. And a few chilled vodka shots.

                            1. re: Veggo

                              That sounds pretty damn good, V.

                              1. re: pinehurst

                                As good as it gets. It was at TCC in Brookline.

                            1. I would say no, but you might want to know what your blood uric acid level (hyperuricemia) is before consuming, or you could end up with gout. Oysters are high in purines which the body metabolises into uric acid, and a high uric acid level could lead to gout. I've seen it happen recently to two of my very good friends that have never had a problem eating shellfish (oysters and lobsters) and other rich foods, and all of a sudden came down with gout this year.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Infomaniac

                                My husband has occasional episode and it's really, REALLY not fun.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  More than 2-3episodes a year get him on uloric, works perfectly and virtually no side effects.

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    Or allopurinol.

                                    Also -- oysters don't exacerbate uric acid levels. I know that because I looked it up for this particular thread :-)

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      Care to share where you looked it up?

                                      Oysters don't increase uric acid levels however the purines in oysters can increase the uric acid levels.

                                      Oysters may not be the highest food in purines however; it's on every list I've seen on foods to avoid, and the list both my friends were given by their doctors on foods to be careful of.

                                      1. re: Infomaniac

                                        "Oysters don't increase uric acid levels however the purines in oysters can increase the uric acid levels."

                                        That's what I meant. They are not particularly high in purines, compared to many other things like offal, shellfish, red meat, etc.

                                    2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                      So far it's rare but glad to know. I'll remember this if it increases. Thanks.

                                  2. re: Infomaniac

                                    Actually oysters are a low-moderate purine food and compared to beer and sweetbreads are not even on the spectrum.

                                  3. I just had a gout attack (5 DAYS AND COULD NOT PUT A SHOE ON} Could not believe it. Went to the doc. yesterday and he said it was shellfish. I have eaten a lot of oysters lately. My wife and I love oysters raw, steamed, smoked, you name it. We also join with great neighbors and have oyster roasts. I made my own oyster shucking press. This is the only time that I can relate the gout to oysters and so did the doc. I will try the oysters again.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: tbcucci

                                      Allopurinol was a daily medication I was on for years for help in the prevention of gout attacks. Usually once a gout attack is occurring you are going to need something like colchicine or anaprox/naproxen to help treat the attack. Allopurinol isn't as effective once the attack has started.

                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                        Yeah, I know. It's what my man is on regularly. He hasn't had a bad attack (or any, for that matter) in over 6 years.

                                        1. re: linguafood

                                          I was getting them up to 6-7 times a year. My foot, ankle, elbow, wrist all over. That's when they put me on it as a daily medication probably about ten years ago. I started getting attacks at a fairly young age, mid 20's, anyway I took it daily for 2-3 years then just stopped, cold turkey. Since I've stopped I've had maybe 2-3 in the past 5-6 years. NO change to diet I eat steak and seafood at will and drink gallons of vodka a week. If I feel an attack coming on, I take an annoprox or two and it thwarts it. (Knocking on wood)

                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                            Ouch. Sounds horrible. It's insane how painful that can be. My man had it in both feet once for 3 weeks.

                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                              I recall an episode of gout in Corpus Christi that was so painful I drove to a hospital and asked that they consider removing my big toe for relief. It's good now.

                                          2. re: jrvedivici

                                            it is so frustrating that meds usually have 2 names, so i could be suggesting the same med as you have, but not know it. Prednisone really helped the gout pain i had in a number of attacks. i take uloric to lower my uric acid count, but even after a few months of it, my level is still too high.

                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                              Wow, after Uloric mine went from 8.5 to 3.5 in three weeks and now even with half doses still in the 3's

                                        2. Judging by my husband and his brother, more than a few on an empty stomach and with a few drinks never ends well.

                                          1. Raw, I can't say, but I once conducted a week-long scientific experiment in New Orleans to see if it was possible to get tired of fried oysters and I found that it was not. I ordered them at every possible meal. On the last day I nearly met my Waterloo at Brennan's with Eggs Benedict on a bed of fried oysters instead of a muffin. Fried oysters plus poached eggs plus Hollandaise added up to a bit too much of a good thing.

                                            However, I am off your topic. You might care to google "guinness world record oysters" and read about the person who ate 233 raw oysters in three minutes. I guess you'd be okay with a mere 24.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Querencia

                                              hey Q, are you sure that was a person and not an otter ? :-}
                                              And, bad as it was, it's a good thing those Eggs Beni weren't served atop an additional bed -of pork belly!

                                            2. the night before a good friend headed off to the Air Force, we went out for nickel beer and nickel oyster night (yeah....I'm dating myself)

                                              We laughed and ate and talked and drank....and were pretty stunned to realize we'd put away 9 dozen oysters between the two of us. No ill effects, other than having overeaten. (not even a hangover!!)

                                              I've since gotten a hold of a bad one...and man, there is no sick like bad-oyster sick. Yet after a year or two, there I am, slurping raw ones again. Thick-headed.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                My grandfather was a Croatian oysterman In Louisiana (Buras and Empire) from1902 until after WWII. He would rub his finger on the inside of the shell of every oyster he would shuck, If it felt slimy he would throw the oyster away. He instructed me that the inside of the shell should fell like wet porcelain but not slimy on a good oyster. I have been doing this for years with no ill effects. I do not recommend that you try this but it has worked for me. Perhaps, the beer or wine I consumed with the raw oysters helped ward off ill effects.

                                                1. re: mudcat

                                                  thanks for that -- it's at least worth a try!

                                                  1. re: mudcat

                                                    oh my goodness! how DID he end up here? that is so fascinating. Man, his english must have been something- a blend of croatian and cajun accents?!

                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                      There must have been lots of Croatian oystermen in those days. Isn't Drago, of charbroiled oyster fame, originally from that part of the world? He has his own oyster fleet.

                                                2. I had bad Gi distress a couple of years ago, most likely from raw oysters. It isn't the number you eat. One bad oyster will do it. I lost my interest in raw oysters after that episode.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                    Getting a bad oyster is like having a girlfriend who turns out bad. Quite a nightmare, but you live through it an learn. And eventually you end up with a good girlfriend.