Eating sunflower seed shells

I tend to eat sunflower seeds and their shells, however I have heard that doing such a thing is a an unwise idea (I recognize this fact to a degree, because when it is time to, uh, release them it can be a semi-painful experience) but outside of an unpleasant evacuation, are there any real health risks to eating the sunflower seed shells? I once heard that they can cause a bowel obstruction. Is this true?

There is the theoretical concern that, like any form of insoluble fiber, eating sunflower shells to excess could cause an intestinal blockage, but I’ve been unable to find any actual reports of such in the medical literature.

Likewise, some people fear that the sharp edges of a broken sunflower shell could scrape and even tear the esophagus or intestinal wall, but I can’t find a report of that, either.

I’d say, as long as you don’t have a bowel disorder like IBS, IBD, Crohn’s, Celiac or Diverticulitis, it’s probably okay in moderation, just chew them well before you swallow. Certainly lots of people do, with no ill effects.

I do it all the time - well whenever I eat sunflower seeds anyway. Never met anyone else who does, but the inconvenience of shelling is much greater than any inconvenience of just eating them. I dont bother peeling shrimp either.

I find most of the shell pulps and dissolves but after some chewing there seems to remain a few long, hard, resilient fibers (say a small pinch left over from a big mouthful of sunflower seeds) that I usually spit out.

I have found the rest of the fiber beneficial if anything to my digestion.

Because of the strenuous evacuation they can cause hemorrhoids. And those are a pain in the ass you don’t want. Trust me on that!