Calories in Licorice, Liquorice

Calories in Licorice
Calorie Content Chart Showing Caloric Values for Liqorice Candy Like Black and Red Licorice Candies

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Calorie Table For Licorice
Please note: all calorie values are approximate

A half-ounce licorice stick contains approximately 45 kilocalories, of which zero calories come from fat. Generally, candies are ’empty-calorie’ foods, containing little nutrition but significant energy. As a result they should be avoided by anyone who wants to reduce weight. However, according to a recent small Italian study (2006), eating black licorice regularly (1.5oz/day) may reduce body fat without any side effects. Researchers believe this is because the strong smell suppresses appetite.

Licorice Calories

Licorice, regular (1oz) – 95
Black Licorice Bites (18 pces, 40g) – 120
Black Licorice Drops (3 pces, 15g) – 130
Licorice Stick (1 stick, 0.5oz) – 45
UK Liquorice Allsorts (1 bag, 56g) – 195
UK Pontefract Cakes (1 bag, 56g) – 125
Red Licorice Twists (1oz)** – 100
Red Licorice Ropes (1oz)** – 100
Hershey’s Twizzlers, cherry (1oz) – 35
Hershey’s Twizzlers, s/berry (2.5oz pkg) – 238

** Contains no licorice extract.  

Sources include: USDA Nutrient Database, Food Shopping Counter (Natow and Heslin) 2006, The Fat Book (Bellerson) 2004.

Licorice Candy

Licorice is extracted from the underground roots of a plant called Glycyrrhiza glabra, grown widely in southern Europe. The licorice roots are crushed, boiled, then evaporated to leave a concentrate from which licorice candies are made. Licorice candy typically comprises a paste (usually a mixture of licorice concentrate, sugar, molasses, corn syrup and flour) cut or extruded into different shapes. A variety of flavors (eg. anise) may be added. The brand Licorice Allsorts includes layers of licorice paste interspersed with layers of other flavored pastes. The UK licorice candy known as Pontefract Cakes contains many different ingredients including: treacle, glucose syrup, sugar, modified starch, caramelised syrup, wheatflour, gelling agent, liquorice extract, salt, flavouring, vegetable oil, beeswax, carnauba wax and water. The most common type of genuine licorice candy in the US is called ‘black licorice‘.

In traditional Chinese medicine, licorice has long been valued as a soothing agent for various internal pains, and to relieve ulcers, constipation and vomiting. Licorice roots can be chewed raw, and are very good for teeth. Western medical research into licorice has confirmed several of its supposed benefits. For example, licorice extract has been incorporated into certain ulcer drugs. Other studies have revealed licorice to have anti-cancer and anti-viral properties, including the destruction of the SARS virus.

Note: (1) The sweetness in licorice is due to the presence of glycyrrhizin, a compound 50 times sweeter than sugar. (2) Candies known as “red licorice” do not contain any material from the licorice plant. Instead they are typically manufactured using fruit favorings (eg. strawberry or cherry).

Set Realistic Calorie-Intake Goals

When trying to reduce weight, most dietitians recommend a realistic approach to energy intake. Weight loss plans (eg. fad diets) which include fewer than 1,000 calories should not be followed for longer than 7 days, without medical supervision. A sudden and dramatic drop in energy intake can cause the body to conserve calories, resulting in a slower metabolic rate and slower weight loss. Furthermore, severe calorie-restricted diets typically contain insufficient nutrition. Don’t forget to exercise! One hour of fast walking burns about 400 calories. Raising energy expenditure is an excellent way of creating the calorie-deficit needed to lose body fat.

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