The Nerd Side Of Life

Black Licorice Now Deadly as Well as Absolutely Disgusting

We don’t mean to make light of someone losing their life, so apologies if our reporting on this story comes across that way. A Massachusetts man has unfortunately died due to his daily pack and a half addiction to highly controversial sweet- Black Licorice.

The story hit the wires earlier this week, detailing how a 54-year old construction worker with a sweet tooth succumbed to a deadly heart attack, brought on by high blood pressure, which was attributed to his bag-and-a-half licorice snacking habits.

Apparently, the man had made the switch from red licorice to black about a month previous to his death.


“Even a small amount of licorice you eat can increase your blood pressure a little bit,” said Dr. Neel Butala, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who described the case in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Frightening enough as we get into spooky snack season, aating as little as 2 ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could cause a heart rhythm problem (especially for folks over 40), so says the US Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Robert Eckel, a University of Colorado cardiologist and former American Heart Association President also offered his opinion on glycyrrhizic acid, a compound found in black licorice (and other suppliments) that causes low potassium and imbalances in the body’s electrolytes.

“It’s more than licorice sticks. It could be jelly beans, licorice teas, a lot of things over the counter. Even some beers, like Belgian beers, have this compound in it.”

Three years ago, the FDA even issued a warning about ingesting large amounts of the candy.

So, snack cautiously.

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