One of my friends is a licorice fanatic. But he's a guy, so he doesn't have to worry about how much licorice he eats. But pregnant women do.
Apparently it's the glycyrrhizin in licorice, which is sweeter than table sugar, that can affect the placenta and allow stress hormones to cross from mom to baby.
According to Science Daily, "High levels of such hormones, known as glucocorticoids, are thought to affect fetal brain development and have been linked to behavioral disorders in children."
The study looked at 8 year-olds whose moms ate a lot of licorice when they were still in the womb. They didn't perform as well as other kids their age on cognitive tests and were more likely to have poor attention spans and display disruptive behavior.
Aside from behavioral problems, there was also a link between cardiac and metabolic disorders.
I'm not much of a licorice person, but honestly if someone had some and offered it to me, I would eat it. But that's because I had no idea about this study until now.
However, it's only if you eat licorice in large quantities. Like my friend. Who is a guy. So how much licorice is too much during pregnancy? More than 100 grams of pure licorice a week.
What do you think of this study?