Yummy or yucky: what you need to know about licorice sweets

Last updated on May 29th, 2018

yummy or yucky

The list of products, which can cause overdose in people should be extended by one more item – sweets.  Now take a deep breath and relax, we don’t mean all sweets. We mean just their licorice version. 

This, however, does not mean that you can have as many ordinary sweets, as you wish, but this is a totally different story. This article will help you understand why you need to limit consumption of licorice sweets, yet you do not need to abandon them altogether, if you like them.

According to a statement, published by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), black liquorice lovers need to closely monitor the amount of sweets in their menu. This is explained through the fact that licorice contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which is potentially harmful to the heart when consumed in high doses.

There is evidence that glycyrrhizin can lead to a reduction in the level of potassium in the body, which in turn can cause:

  • abnormal heart rhythm,
  • high blood pressure,
  • edemas,
  • lethargy,
  • congestive heart failure.

The FDA experts note that people aged 40 years and older fall into the risk zone. Even 56-60 grams of black liquorice a day for at least two weeks can provoke complications. And here is the good news:

  • health problems caused by licorice are not chronic

That is, the level of potassium in the body gets back to normal as soon as you stop eating the “dangerous” food.

Here are a couple of tips from Live Science experts, which should be considered by the fans of licorice sweets:

  1. Do not eat a large number of sweets at once, regardless of age and health condition;
  2. If you notice irregular heartbeat and muscle weakness after consuming licorice sweets, contact your doctor immediately.

In fact, the health benefits of licorice sweets depend on their type. Alas, most modern sweets consist of refined sugar and food colors, so there is no point in talking about any good aspects. Be extremely careful when you buy them, and pay attention to the composition and additional instructions on the packaging.