Black licorice, a chewy candy with an anise flavor, has satisfied the sweet tooth of candy lovers for hundreds of years. Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France in the early 1800s, chewed licorice during battles. Rumor has it that he ate enough to turn his teeth black. The licorice content in today's black licorice candy likely will not require a trip to the dentist for a whitening treatment, although your dentist may scold you for eating it; black licorice is high in sugar.
Calories and Fat
A 40-gram serving of black licorice contains 120 to 130 calories, according to the MyFitnessPal.com. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet, this accounts for 6 to 6.5 percent of the calories you may consume daily. This candy does not provide you with a high degree of nutrition for the calories, so consider fruit instead, which will give you a sweet treat without the added sugar. The good news is that this candy contains very little fat — from zero to 1 g per serving.
Carbohydrates and Protein
The carbohydrates in your diet primarily serve as energy for your body — they break down into glucose for that use. The type of carbohydrates in black licorice are likely to burn up quickly in your bloodstream, causing a spike in your blood sugar. This may result in an energy crash shortly after consumption. A 40-g portion of black licorice contains 27 to 31 g of carbohydrates, or 20.7 to 23.8 percent of the 130 g recommended for daily consumption by the Institute of Medicine. The institute also suggests including 46 to 56 g of protein your daily meal plan. A serving of black licorice has 1 to 2 g of this macronutrient.
While black licorice does not provide high levels of minerals it will contribute toward daily intake goals for calcium and iron. One serving of black licorice provides you with 4 percent of the calcium you should consume daily, as well as 4 percent of the daily recommended value of iron.
The sugar content in black licorice may create problems if you are intent on losing weight or are diabetic. A 40-g serving of black licorice contains 14 to 17 g of sugar, the equivalent of 3.3 to 4 tsp of granulated sugar. The Cleveland Clinic recommends limiting your sugar intake to 6 to 9 tsp. per day. Not only does consuming too much sugar increase your risk of obesity, it raises your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Enjoy black licorice in moderation as an occasional treat.
Some brands of black licorice may contain high levels of sodium, which can present difficulties. The American Heart Association notes that consuming more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium regularly can increase your risk of health problems such as high blood pressure. A 40-g serving of black licorice contributes 40 to 180 mg of sodium to your daily totals.
Pure licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, which is extracted from the roots of the licorice plant. This sweet substance has found use in treating eye problems, hair loss and skin conditions for thousands of years. If the black licorice you eat contains adequate levels of glycyrrhizic acid, it may relieve symptoms associated with chest colds, too. It allegedly helps loosen phlegm and suppresses coughs.