Though many parents might advise their children to not eat too much candy, the Food and Drug Administration this year warns candy-loving grown-ups to lay off black licorice.
In a statement the FDA preaches moderation of the treat in adults over the age of 40 because eating more than two ounces of black licorice per day for two weeks can lead to overdose and send some adults to the hospital with heart problems.
According to CBS, black licorice contains the sweetening compound glycyrrhizin. This substance can cause the body’s potassium levels to plummet, leading to an irregular heart rhythm, high blood pressure or even heart failure. The FDA sets limitations on how much glycyrrhizin can be used in food products, but individuals who eat multiple servings cause increases in the intake of the compound.
Though often used as a natural remedy for sore throats and heartburn, black licorice can interact badly with some medications and supplements. It can interfere with estrogen hormone pills, diuretics and some steroids according to the National Institute of Health. The institution also reported those with heart disease or kidney disease are more susceptible to effects, in which as few as five grams of black licorice a day could cause health problems.
So on the biggest candy-eating holiday of the year, make sure to practice moderation while snacking on the old-fashioned treat.