A Massachusetts man died last year from eating an excessive amount of black licorice, doctors said Wednesday.
The unusual case was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, detailing how the man consumed a bag and a half of the candy every day for two weeks prior to his death.
Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, which could deplete potassium levels and contribute to heart rhythm problems, doctors explained.
“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.
The man had collapsed inside a fast food restaurant and died the next day. Doctors discovered he had dangerously low potassium, which led to heart rhythm and other problems.
The Food and Drug Administration warns that eating only 2 ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could lead to an irregular heartbeat.
Jeff Beckman, a spokesman for the Hershey Company, which makes the popular Twizzlers licorice twists, told the Associated Press that “all of our products are safe to eat and formulated in full compliance with FDA regulations.”
Beckman added that all candy “should be enjoyed in moderation.”
With Post wires