In 2014, a young 10-year-old Italian boy was rushed to the hospital, having been racked with seizures. After a battery of tests, the doctors were still baffled by what brought on his sudden symptoms. On a follow-up visit, they noticed something strange - the boy’s teeth were black. As it turns out, this strange discoloration of his teeth would reveal the cause of his seizures - black licorice. As reported by Newsweek.
Licorice contains a natural sweetener known as glycyrrhizin. This nearly unpronounceable substance lends licorice its distinctively sweet taste, but at a cost. Whenever we eat black licorice, the candy induces our bodies to release potassium. Potassium plays a critical role in the function of our hearts. If we lose enough potassium, we could start to suffer abnormal heart rhythms, hypertension, edema, lethargy and even congestive heart failure.
In the case of our young Italian friend, it caused seizures.
If the taste of black licorice wasn’t enough to drive you over the brink of insanity, then certainly the potential for actual insanity will.
“But, I eat licorice all the time and I’ve never had seizures or congestive heart failure,” I hear you say.
Well, dear friend, did you eat 20 pieces of licorice everyday for the past four months?
Oh, wait...... actually, that’s quite a lot of licorice, isn’t it?
And considering that this was in Italy, we can make the assumption that this was no ordinary licorice candy. First of all, it obviously had to have been black licorice, as we mentioned in our last post that all other forms of licorice don’t contain any actual licorice. Second of all, Italy is known for having unusually strong licorice.
The kid ate 20 pieces of it every single day for months.
Since when is it our food’s fault that we eat an absurd amount of it? Granted, he’s a kid and kids do dumb things, but where was the adult who said enough is enough? When I was a kid (ha! Listen to me...), I wasn’t allowed to eat 20 pieces of candy in one day even if it was Christmas.
But, not only was this 20 pieces of only one particular type of candy, but it was also over the course of roughly 120 days. That’s 119 more days in a row than most kids are allowed to eat more than half that amount of candy.
I’m not going to sit here and say that licorice is perfectly safe, but it’s not like the stuff is radioactive. The moment you stop shoveling it in by the bowlful, your potassium levels return to normal (well, you also need to replace the potassium, but that’s easy enough with a banana or two - which, btw, are radioactive. But that’s a story for another day).
As with everything else you eat, keep moderation in mind. Too much of anything is always a bad thing.
Eat responsibly, enjoy & please share this post :)