Put down the Good-N-Plenty. According to new research from the Food and Drug Administration, people who eat lots of black licorice are at a higher risk of heart and kidney problems! And by “lots,” we’re talking about people who have at least two large handfuls of the candy daily.
Researchers say the problem with black licorice is that it contains a compound that causes the kidneys to remove potassium from your body. And the more you eat, the lower your potassium levels go. That’s bad news because without potassium, your body holds on to more sodium which, as you probably know, makes your heart beat faster! That, in turn, puts you at a dangerously higher risk for everything from high blood pressure, to heart arrhythmias, and even heart failure.
So does that mean you should avoid eating black licorice? No! Dr. Gregg Fonarow is a professor of cardiology at the University of California School of Medicine. And he says a couple pieces of candy at a time won’t hurt you. But if you ever develop an irregular heartbeat - or muscle weakness - after eating black licorice, he says stop eating it immediately and see your doctor.