Death by Black Licorice in Massachusetts
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
The first time I heard that too much black licorice can cause minor to major heart issues, a trip to the hospital, and even death, was only a few years ago, and seemed so farfetched. However, this warning comes out periodically each year, especially in the fall. What's worth keeping in mind is that it doesn't take much to cause heart issues, while an overload can kill you.
I like black licorice, especially gourmet, but only a few pieces at a time and on rare occasions. It's too intense to be a regular sweet tooth go-to like chocolate or ice cream. So if you're like me, the chances of adhering to heart issues or even dying is out of the question, unlike a 54-year-old construction worker in Massachusetts who did die in September of 2020.
According to AP News, this man ate a bag-and-a-half of black licorice a day for a few weeks. AP News spoke with Massachusetts General Hospital, and doctors there said just a small amount of licorice, black jelly beans, black gumballs, and even black licorice teas and alcohol in one sitting increases your blood pressure.
This affect has to do with the licorice root extract. Apparently, it can cause dangerously low potassium and electrolyte imbalances.
As a matter of fact, just eating as little as two ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks can cause heart rhythm problems, especially if you're over 40 years old, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Two ounces is eating just four Twizzlers vines. That's not a lot if you're a black licorice lover who enjoys a few each day, so like so many things we like to eat and drink in our lives, moderation is key.