Black liquorice is one of the most divisive and polarising sweets out there, but I never would have thought that eating too much of the stuff could kill you so quickly.
Featured Image VIA
ABC News reports that a 54-year-old Massachusetts man who ate a bag and a half of black liquorice every day for two weeks ended up collapsing inside a fast food restaurant and died the next day.
Eating as little as 2 ounces of black liquorice a day for two weeks could cause a heart rhythm problem, especially for people over 40, the US Food and Drug Administration warns.
Dr. Neel Butala, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who described the case in the New England Journal of Medicine, says:
Even a small amount of licorice you eat can increase your blood pressure a little bit.
It’s more than liquorice sticks. It could be jelly beans, liquorice teas, a lot of things over the counter. Even some beers, like Belgian beers, have this compound in it.
The man had switched from red, fruit-flavored twists to the black liquorice version of the candy a few weeks before his death. Doctors found he had dangerously low potassium, which led to heart rhythm and other problems.
One and a half packets a day?? I mean that’s more black liquorice than I will ever eat in my lifetime but I like I said, I wouldn’t expect it to kill you. I don’t imagine this guy was the picture of health in the first place but it’s still shocking that eating a bag and a half of the stuff for just two weeks killed him at 54. What’s mad is that it wasn’t even the sugar content that killed him. It was the glycyrrhizic acid sending his body chemistry haywire and reducing his potassium levels to such an extent that his heart gave out.
If, like me, you hate the stuff, then congratulations – you were never in danger. If you are one of these weirdos who loves black liquorice then probably best to eat in moderation or switch to the cherry red version that this guy was on before he made the fatal switch to black.
Also you just know the owner of the restaurant that this man died in breathed out a HUGE sigh of relief when they heard liquorice was the culprit. Phew!
For the reasons why you should beware of 5lb bags of gummy bears from Amazon, click HERE. Yikes.