Can Eating Too Much Sour Candy Really Make Your Tongue Peel?

Chrissy Teigen's experience with eating lots of sour candy is actually pretty accurate.

September 02, 2020
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Photo by: NBC/Getty Images

NBC/Getty Images

In a video posted to her Instagram stories recently, supermodel and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen shared that her craving for sour candy during her third pregnancy had caused her tongue to peel. She also showed what she meant, and it was no joke!

According to Teigen in the video, she’s been "eating so much sour candy that my tongue is falling off."

"It's literally falling off because I eat so much in the night," she went on. "I eat sour straws; I suck on them. Then after them, I have my Blow Pops, and it's just falling off — my tongue."

Photo by: Instagram/@chrissyteigen

Instagram/@chrissyteigen

But what exactly is happening here? Can too much sour candy really make your layers of your tongue start to peel off? Apparently, yes. And that’s not all sour candy lovers have to worry about.

While it is a pretty established fact that pregnant women have cravings during pregnancy, some cravings will of course have different risks and rewards. “Cravings run the spectrum: spicy, salty, sour, bitter and sweet,” said Steve Rad, MD, FACOG, an OBGYN and Medical Director of Los Angeles Fetal & Maternal Care Center. So, while it’s no wonder Teigen has cravings with baby number three, it’s pretty scary that this is happening to her tongue as a result! “Eating too much sour candy may in fact cause your tongue to peel,” said Dr. Rad.

This result can of course be very frightening, especially if you didn't see it coming. “This happens because the same acid in sour candy that makes them so delicious to some of us, can also make your tongue sore, painful and can cause the top skin layer of the tongue to peel off,” said Dr. Rad.

The acids in sour candy eat away at the top layer of skin on your tongue. “When you eat too many of these candies your tongue may begin to feel raw and sensitive,” said certified nutritionist Shelley Gawith. These symptoms should pass quickly depending on how many you have eaten.

“When the top layer of skin on your tongue peels off, the dead skin is peeled away and new growth can come through for your tongue to start healing again,” said Gawith. To play it safe, stay away from spicy, sour and sweet foods until it has healed, no matter how strong that craving for sour candy may be. Sorry, Chrissy!

The sugar in sour candies also creates an environment that allows bad bacteria to increase in number by feeding off the sugar. “While sugar erodes the enamel of our teeth, so do the acids in these candies. You also always want to drink plenty of water when eating these candies,” said Gawith.

There are several ways to reduce this side effect of this delicious candy, such as limiting consumption, not sucking for long periods of time, swishing your mouth with water, milk or other acid neutralizing foods, and chewing gum. “If things get serious, there are medications and sometimes you will need a doctor and dental visit,” said Dr. Rad.

So, enjoy those candies if, like with Chrissy Teigen, they're a favorite. Just keep in mind moderation is key!

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