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Finally Some Good News: It’s Actually Pretty Hard To Eat So Much Sugar That You Die

Don't worry, you're probably not even close.

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Toxicologists have a saying: The dose makes the poison.

Fox / Via giphy.com

Basically, there are plenty of substances that are perfectly A-OK in certain amounts, but if you ingest way (way) too much of them, they can harm and maybe kill you. In fact, some of the best things in life — caffeine, salt, alcohol — all become toxic at a certain level of ingestion.

To determine the amount of a given thing that will kill you if you eat it all at once, scientists calculate that thing's median lethal dose, or LD50.

giphy.com

LD50 is the amount of an ingested substance that kills half (50%) of an animal test population. It's measured in milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

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The LD50 of sucrose (aka table sugar) is about 30g per kilogram of body weight, according to the American Chemical Society.

This means that when animals in a test sample eat 30g of sugar per kilogram of their body weight, 50% of them will die.

(Of course, LD50 doesn't guarantee death for humans; for all we know sugar is more or less toxic for rats than it is for humans, so take these numbers with a grain of salt.)

So, a 150-pound person would have to eat 2,040g of sugar — that's 4.5 pounds — all at once to ingest a lethal dose.

Reactions / Via youtube.com

Let's do a quick conversion so we can examine what a lethal dose of sugar might be for, say, a 150-pound person.

150 lbs. = 68kg

Here's the rest of the math:

30g sugar X 68kg = 2,040g

2,040g = 4.5 lbs

Now let's break down how much that would be in popular Halloween candy.

Svetavo / Getty Images

To ingest 2,040g of sugar, you'd have to eat 240 fun size Butterfingers or 185 fun size packs of Skittles or 510 Jolly Ranchers.

Or any of these candies in the following amounts:

• 680 Hershey's Kisses

• 510 Milky Way Original Minis

• 1,020 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Minis

• 408 Twix minis

• 204 snack size bags of Reese's Pieces

• 1,360 pieces of candy corn

And here's a sample Halloween haul that might just kill a 150-pound adult if they ate it all in one sitting:

@2littleamericangirls / Via instagram.com

There's about 2,068g of sugar in this make-believe trick-or-treater's bag:

50 fun size Butterfingers (425g)

25 Kit-Kat Minis (213g)

50 Jolly Ranchers (200g)

100 Hershey's Kisses (300g)

75 Milky Way Original Mini (300g)

30 fun-size packages of Skittles (330g)

50 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Mini (100g)

40 Twizzlers (200g)

Good news: Thanks to the human body, if you tucked into this 4.5-pound helping of sugar, you'd probably get sick before you died by candy.

Irontrybex / Getty Images

According to Dr. Holly Lofton, director of the Medical Weight Management Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, most people would get sick way before they could finish all this candy. "I would say that the rapid glucose increase, subsequent insulin response, and thus relative hypoglycemia would cause a pretty bad sugar crash," Lofton says.

So, basically, before you'd even made your entire way through your candy haul, sugar would flood your bloodstream and, in response, your pancreas would release insulin to try to keep your blood sugar level. This uncommonly rapid rise in insulin would cause the mother of all sugar crashes. You'd still be making your way through the candy when you started to feel tired, lethargic, maybe even hungover.

On top of that, eating this much candy at once could possibly make you sick enough to vomit, which wouldn't be pleasant but might just prevent you from eating a lethal dose.

  1. What do you think of eating THAT MUCH candy at once?

    Terrible. Who can eat that much candy at once?
    Pretty great tbh. What a way to go.
    I'd stop JUST SHORT of the lethal dose and call it The Best Halloween Ever.
    Halloween is NOT for worrying about sugar consumption. Please stop bumming me out.

Finally Some Good News: It’s Actually Pretty Hard To Eat So Much Sugar That You Die

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What do you think of eating THAT MUCH candy at once?
  1.  
    vote votes
    Terrible. Who can eat that much candy at once?
  2.  
    vote votes
    Pretty great tbh. What a way to go.
  3.  
    vote votes
    I'd stop JUST SHORT of the lethal dose and call it The Best Halloween Ever.
  4.  
    vote votes
    Halloween is NOT for worrying about sugar consumption. Please stop bumming me out.

If you're curious about the numbers in this post, here's how much sugar is in single pieces/packages of candy.

1 fun size Butterfinger: 8.5g

1 fun size package of Skittles: 11g

1 Jolly Rancher: 4g

1 Twix Mini: 5g

1 Reese's Pieces snack size bag has 10g

1 piece of candy corn: 1.5g

1 Hershey's Kiss: 3g

1 Milky Way Original Mini: 4g

1 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Mini: 2g

1 Kit-Kat Mini (two bars): 8.5g

1 Twizzler: 5g

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