Food

Why do we cry when we cut onions?


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Onions produce the chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. It stimulates the eyes' lachrymal glands so they release tears.

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Cutting an onion opens up its cells, allowing enzymes normally kept separate to mix. This chemical reaction releases one of two gases, syn-propanethial-S-oxide or lachrymatory factor, which irritate the eyes. Your body responds to this irritation by increasing production of tears.

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