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Warning! Pregnant Women Should Stop Eating This Food

Update Date: Feb 06, 2017 08:16 PM EST
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Researchers from Finland are warning women hoping to get pregnant and pregnant women to stop eating food containing licorice. Consuming large amounts of licorice during pregnancy affects the development of the fetus exposing the offspring to adverse mental and physical health risks.

Liquorice or licorice is a type of food, usually eaten as a type of candy, contains the root extract glycyrrhizin. Glycyrrhizin is a natural sweetener that is fifty times sweeter than sucrose. In small amounts, glycyrrhizin is an ingredient used in pharmaceutical products and is used in many concoctions in herbal medicine.

However, the consumption of a large amount of licorice which in turn contains a large amount of glycyrrhizin has negative effects on human health particularly on the fetal development in pregnant women. In the long run, the negative effects of licorice are associated with the low cognitive function and behavioral problems in the child.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, investigated whether the voluntary consumption of licorice by pregnant women can be associated with a myriad of health problems in the offspring. In particular, the study assessed for pubertal maturation, cognitive function, neuroendocrine function<, and psychiatric or behavioral problems in the women's offspring.

The Glasku study compared children born in 1998 and examined them over the course of three years. These children are offspring of women who have reported consuming either a large amount of licorice or less to no licorice during their pregnancy. The researchers defined the large amount as more than 500 mg of glycyrrhizin. A 500 mg of glycyrrhizin is equivalent to 250 grams of licorice consumed.

The researchers found that both girls and boys whose mothers reported consuming a large amount of licorice scored seven points lower on tests on intelligence. These children were also found with poor memory and more likely to develop attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder problems.

Due to the consumption of large amounts of licorice by their mothers during their pregnancy, the girls were found to be much taller and heavier compared to girls whose mothers' consumed smaller or no licorice during pregnancy. It was also found that the girls had higher body mass index for their age and that their height is closer to the adult height. These are all proof that due to the consumption of large amounts of licorice during pregnancy, female offspring will most likely suffer from pubertal maturation.

Licorice consumption before and during pregnancy is harmful, especially to the fetus. The effects of glycyrrhizin not only adversely affect the fetal development but also affects the physical and mental functions of the offspring throughout their lives. In Finland, their National Institute of Health and Welfare has already put licorice under the category "not recommended" for consumption during pregnancy.

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