We all know candy isn’t the healthiest thing out there, but there’s nothing wrong with indulging a little, say, around Halloween time. It’s not going to kill you, right? Well, if you go way too far, there is such a thing as a lethal dosage of sweets.
Sugar can be toxic. A 2016 video by the American Chemical Society declared 262 pieces of fun-sized Halloween candy or 1,627 pieces of candy corn to be the deadly number. And The Huffington Post recently reported on the exact formula that led to that calculation. Sugar’s LD50 (median lethal dose) is 13.5 grams per pound, meaning that a person who weighs 180 pounds would need to eat 5.4 pounds (2,440 grams) of sugar to be in the danger zone, assuming you can stomach it. For context, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 38 grams of sugar per day.
“It’s pretty nauseating, just the thought of it,” Hans Plugge, principal at Safer Chemical Analytics, tells The Huffington Post. “You would have to eat it pretty consecutively and literally shove pieces of candy corn in your mouth.”
But even if you hit that amount, it’s unlikely that you’ll drop dead on the spot. Hans Plugge, principal at Safer Chemical Analytics, tells The Huffington Post you’d be much more likely to get hyperglycemia or simply vomit. Who wouldn’t want to spew after eating the equivalent of 140 Laffy Taffys?
Of course, it’s not just sugar that could kill you—too much of anything, even water, can be deadly—but hopefully seeing those numbers will allow you to indulge with a handful of candies this holiday season without worrying too much about an untimely demise. Plugge also makes it very clear that this is just a theoretical breakdown to help people understand how awful sugar can be for you, not a challenge. In other words, don’t try this at home.