Halloween is one of the few times of year when you're almost expected to eat massive amounts of candy in one day, but the FDA is warning people not to eat too much of one particular treat: black licorice.
So, for those people, the FDA has put together a handy video explaining the health risks of eating too much black licorice at a time, Forbes reports. It turns out, the candy is actually dangerous for your heart.
As the video explains, there's a compound in black licorice called glycyrrhizin, which reduces the amount of potassium in your body. Large quantities of this compound can cause health problems like high blood pressure, swelling, muscle weakness, and even congestive heart failure.
Black licorice overdose may seem like something doctors warn about, but never actually happens, but there really have been cases of people who were hospitalized because they consumed too much licorice. Take, for example, the 10 year old boy who had been eating 20 black licorice toffees every day for four months, and ended up in the hospital with convulsive seizures.
The question, of course, is how much black licorice is too much — because it's unlikely that many people are eating 20 pieces a day. And that's where it gets a little tricky. According to the FDA, a person 40 or older who eats two ounces of black licorice every day for two weeks will likely end up in the hospital. But what if you're just eating black licorice on Halloween, and are not over 40?
While the agency doesn't give any hard and fast numbers in that case, they do recommend keeping serving sizes small. And if you have been eating a lot of black licorice and start feeling an irregular heartbeat, make sure to stop eating the candy and check in with a doctor.
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