USA TODAY - Death By Chocolate is a delicious dessert, but according to the American Chemical Society, sweets can be toxic.
With Halloween treat eating under way (and leftovers piling up on office counter-tops), the Washington-based nonprofit scientific society tackled the bittersweet question of just how much candy is too much. And it's not all Almond Joy.
ACS researchers have found that the LD50 of sugar – that's the lethal dose of a sugar that would kill half the population of a test group – is 13.5 grams per pound of body weight, consumed all at once.
This is in rats, of course, because testing on humans is, well, illegal. Still, the research implies you would have a 50/50 chance of seriously overdoing it at that amount.
The average person in the U.S. weighs about 180 pounds. That means the LD50 of sugar for humans amounts to eating about 5.4 pounds of sugar in one sitting — more than an average bag on a grocery-store shelf.
In terms of deadly candy, that means you'd have to consume 262 fun-sized bars – or a whopping 1,627 pieces of candy corn.
Such a binge would pitch your body, especially the liver, into sugar shock from an inability to break down all that glucose, researchers noted in a video from ACS. The toxic response as experienced by rats in the test included depressed activity, gastrointestinal disturbances and, if diabetic, damage to the eyes, heart, nerves and kidneys.
ACS was chartered by the U.S. Congress, and has nearly 157,000 members, according to a news release, making it the "world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences."
For more information, visit ACS.org.
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