Black Licorice contains the sweetening
compound glycyrrhizin, which can decrease
potbadium levels in the body, according to the US Food and Drug
That temporary potbadium deficiency can
cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure,
and even congestive heart failure.
People over 40 with a history of high blood
pressure and heart disease are especially at
Reasonable people have agreed for decades that black
licorice is the most disgusting, repulsive candy on the
The US Food and Drug Administration is finally backing us up.
report released Monday, the FDA warns, “if
you’re 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for
at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an
irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia.”
Two ounces is only about five Twizzler-sized
ropes of licorice, or nine Red-Vine-sized pieces.
The sweetening compound in licorice root, glycyrrhizin,
is the danger: Glycyrrhetic
acid can elevate sodium levels and reduce potbadium in
the body. That temporary potbadium drop can cause
some people to experience abnormal heart rhythms, high blood
pressure, swelling, lethargy, and congestive heart
According to the FDA’s Linda Katz, potbadium
levels in licorice-eaters are usually restored with no permanent
health problems once people stop eating the black
But not always.
The FDA said that last year one “black licorice aficionado”
had “a problem” after the person ate too much of it.
Traditional Chinese doctors have used licorice to treat
gastric ulcers for thousands of years, but the National
Institutes of Health cautions there’s insufficient data to know
whether or not licorice root is an effective treatment for any
Regardless, the reasons why anyone would ingest that
foul-tasting rope regularly enough to cause a potbadium
problem remains a mystery to level-headed scientists