4 questions and answers about the FDA’s warning against too much black licorice

4 questions and answers about the FDA’s warning against too much black licorice




Whenever you start to eat your manner via your haul of Halloween sweet — or decide via your children’ stash — the FDA is advising that you simply keep away from consuming an excessive amount of of an old style deal with: black licorice.

The federal administration issued a warning forward of Halloween telling candy-consumers, notably these over the age of 40, in regards to the potential hazard of “overdosing” on the candy.

We talked with Edward Boyer, a health care provider within the Division of Emergency Medication at Brigham and Ladies’s Hospital to be taught extra about how seemingly it’s that you possibly can overdose on black licorice and the way the sweet can affect your well being.

What’s the concern over the sweet?

“The outstanding factor is that everyone is worried a couple of chemical referred to as glycyrrhizic acid,” Boyer defined.

He mentioned the compound, which solely happens in pure licorice, may cause electrolyte abnormalities in your physique — the decreasing of potassium ranges and elevation of sodium ranges.

The FDA warns that the altering potassium ranges may cause folks to expertise irregular coronary heart rhythms, hypertension, swelling, lethargy, and congestive coronary heart failure.

“I believe you’d have a tough time getting sufficient of a derangement in potassium focus to provide that,” Boyer mentioned. “Particularly with simply someday of sweet gorging.”

How frightened ought to I be if I like consuming black licorice?

Boyer mentioned he’s by no means personally seen a case of somebody “overdosing” on black licorice and referred to as the potential of it occurring “unrealistic.”

He mentioned that’s largely partly as a result of the sweet in America often isn’t made with pure licorice, which accommodates the compound of concern. As an alternative, an artificial chemical is used to get the scent, and style, like the true factor.

“If it appears prefer it’s manufactured in america, there needs to be actually no concern,” he mentioned. “It’s awfully, awfully exhausting to eat sufficient licorice sweet to get a ample quantity of glycyrrhizic acid to trigger any medical hurt.”

Boyer mentioned the one solution to wind up with tousled potassium ranges from the sweet is by “gorging” on European licorice, which remains to be made with pure licorice, for an prolonged period of time.

“My daughters love licorice they usually gobble it down,” he mentioned. “If anyone would have had it, my children would have.”

Why is the FDA’s warning directed notably at folks over the age of 40?

The FDA singled out folks over the age of 40 as being notably in danger for the antagonistic medical impacts of consuming an excessive amount of of the sweet:

When you’re 40 or older, consuming 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at the least two weeks may land you within the hospital with an irregular coronary heart rhythm or arrhythmia.

“They might have issues with their kidneys, which forestall them from dealing with electrolytes appropriately or nicely sufficient to tolerate a significant glycyrrhizic acid load,” Boyer mentioned. “However as soon as once more, if it’s not European, you don’t have to fret about it.”

What are the signs for having eaten an excessive amount of black licorice?

Boyer mentioned the principle signal that you simply’ve eaten sufficient pure licorice to trigger electrolyte abnormalities is a way of feeling “weak and off.”

“It’s exhausting to provide a situation the place you’re going to change into in poor health very quickly,” he mentioned. “So it’s only a sense of feeling not proper. When you give the historical past to your doctor that you simply’ve been consuming a variety of black licorice, they need to test only a fundamental electrolyte panel and that can inform [them] if [you] even have it.”