OCT 27, 2016 02:51 PM PDT

What is the Lethal Dose of Halloween Candy?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Halloween is around the corner, and for many kids (and adults), it's all about the candy loot. And because the treats are conveniently packaged into "fun-size," it's hard to judge just how much candy we're actually consuming.

As any doctor will testify, too much of anything can be a bad thing, especially for sugar. Too much of sugar over time has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. But what about consuming too much sugar all at once - how much sugar would it take to become deadly?

In answering this question, scientists turned to the lethal dose (LD50) of sucrose - this is the quantity of sucrose per kilogram that's shown to kill half of the tested animal population. And since we can't test this on people, scientists then approximate what the lethal dose would be for humans.

Using the average weight of an American, it's estimated that the lethal dose would be about 2,440 grams or 5.4 pounds of sugar. This roughly translates into 262 pieces of average-sized candy, or around 1,627 pieces of candy corn. But considering the amount of candy at our disposal, this number doesn't seem so far-fetched, does it?
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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