Don’t worry, you’re probably not even close.
Toxicologists have a saying: The dose makes the poison.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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
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Now let's break down how much that would be in popular Halloween candy.
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
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And here's a sample Halloween haul that might just kill a 150-pound adult if they ate it all in one sitting:
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)
@2littleamericangirls / Via instagram.com
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.
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.
Irontrybex / Getty Images
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