Ask the Diva: Is it Safe to Drink Licorice Tea?

While it may be a natural appetite suppressant (and even work particularly well for you), licorice should be consumed with care.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
1-minute read

Ask the Diva: Is it Safe to Drink Licorice Tea?

Q. I've been trying to cut down on my sugar intake. When I want something sweet, I drink licorice tea, which only contains 2 calories per cup.  But could licorice tea stimulate appetite or cause a craving for sweets, as you’ve suggested might be the case for artificial sweeteners?

A. I’ve often suspected that drinking diet soda all day long might be a good way to train a sweet tooth.  But the evidence that artificial sweeteners stimulate the appetite—or lead to weight gain—has been inconclusive. Interestingly enough, licorice tea is often said to be a natural appetite suppressant. You’re probably in the best position to judge whether having a cup of licorice tea quells your cravings or stimulates your appetite.

Either way, however, licorice should be consumed with care.  Although it has some medicinal uses, such as calming sore throats, healing ulcers, and preventing reflux, it can also produce some side effects and interact with certain medications.  The University of Maryland Medical Center has more guidance on how much is safe to consume—and who should avoid it altogether.  Even for those who are perfectly healthy, they recommend against drinking licorice tea every day on an ongoing basis because of possible side effects. 

Licorice image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.