Activated charcoal is in everything these days, from ice cream to bread and it does make for some Instagram worthy eats. Fans of it say it’s a good way to “detox,” but before you jump on this food trend, you should know there’s a dark side to this craze. Literally.
It turns out eating activated charcoal can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills and other medications. It acts like a sponge, soaking up all the chemicals and toxins in its path. And while this is helpful for treating poisonings in the ER, the activated charcoal can’t pick and choose what it absorbs, so if you eat it too close to the time you took your pill, it can absorb the medications, making them ineffective.
The amounts of activated charcoal in black ice cream and other trendy products probably isn’t enough to affect medications, but do you really want to take a chance with your birth control pill? Probably not.
So if you still want to enjoy activated charcoal foods and not have them mess with your meds, all you need to do is wait two hours between taking medications and eating the food. Better safe than sorry, especially with birth control!