Few pregnant women would think to take licorice off of their diet, but a recent study at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital and the University of Helsinki shows that it may be wise to do so. Apparently, children exposed to licorice in the womb were found, during this study, to have up to one-third higher levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Mothers were asked how much licorice they ate during pregnancy, and the children were then tested at the age of 8 for coritsol levels. Children with higher cortisol levels had mothers who ate a half a gram of licorice a week or more during pregnancy.
Twizzlers Black Licorice has issued a warning about glycyrrhizic acid on its website. They state, “In excessive amounts, glycyrrhizic acid has been associated with undesirable side-effects including headache, sodium and water retention, loss of potassium, high blood pressure, and heart irregularities.”