If you like robbing your little munchkin’s Halloween stash or hitting those post-holiday candy sales, you may want to listen up.
The Food and Drug Administration released a recent report stating that people 40 and older who ate a mere 2 ounces of black licorice per day for two weeks could likely develop irregular heart rhythms, possibly leading to more serious problems.
The issue, says the FDA, is the glycyrrhizin found in the black licorice. This “sweetening compound” from the licorice root can cause potassium levels to decrease and, for some, result in heart arrhythmias, high blood pressure, edema, and even congestive heart failure. Several studies have linked the issues specifically to people over 40, who may be more prone to a history of heart disease or blood pressure problems.
If you eat black licorice or take supplements containing glycyrrhizin, the FDA recommends not consuming large amounts in one sitting. If you have consumed black licorice and are not feeling well, stop eating it because potassium levels are thought to return to normal after you stop ingesting the black licorice. Also, contact your physician immediately.
The FDA reports that many “licorice-flavored” foods do not actually contain licorice. Instead, they are flavored with safer substances such as anise oil for a similar taste and smell. Additionally, many licorice-based supplements have the glycyrrhizin removed, making them a safer alternative.
So, when you go to grab a handful of candy out of your kids’ treats, go for the chocolate. Turns out, it really is healthier after all.