New Study Says Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Eat Black Licorice

A rather disturbing new study has been released that revealed that pregnant women should not eat one shocking food item:

Black licorice.

And I say this is shocking, primarily because I am shocked that 1) that many pregnant women consume black licorice to warrant a study on the stuff and 2) that there is that big of a concern for black licorice in general. I mean, what am I missing here? Is black licorice really that popular?? 

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Apparently, yes. And black licorice must be especially popular in Finland, because that's where the study was conducted. The study was done by scientists at the University of Helsinki in Finland and found that children born to mothers who ate a lot of licorice while they were pregnant ended up scoring lower on IQ tests than their non-licorice loving peers. 

The kids of moms who ate a lot of licorice also had other negative effects, including worse memories and higher rates of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder symptoms. And to make matters even worse, the female children of the licorice-loving moms also started puberty earlier than normal. They also said there's a possibility of long-term health effects for all children whose moms eat licorice during pregnancy.

So how much black licorice can cause these rather frightening side effects? Apparently, any amount is too much, based on the researchers' conclusions.  They concluded that “it appears no safe exposure during human pregnancy exists.” Ouch. And although they can't be totally sure, the researchers think that the reason licorice is so dangerous during pregnancy is because it contains an ingredient called glycyrrhizin, which can interfere with some of the important things that the baby needs to get from the mother through the placenta. 

Personally, I don't understand why anyone would eat that stuff in the first place, but just in case you're a woman who happens to eat a pound of black licorice every day, consider yourself officially warned. I guess black licorice is just one craving you'll have to avoid if you happen to be in Finland, but fortunately, here in the United States, our “licorice” is a lot less potent. 

In Finland, black licorice is real licorice and it's salty and intense. But over here? Your basic bag of Twizzlers is not going to contain near enough real licorice root to make a difference. So that's good news if you happen to love licorice that much. 

Spill it: are you a black licorice lover? Because if so, we probably can't be friends. 

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New Study Says Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Eat Black Licorice

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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