As Charcoal Food Rises in Popularity, Is It Safe to Eat?

Dr. Roshini Raj warns against consuming activated charcoal on a regular basis.

The charcoal food trend may be Instagram-worthy, but it has many wondering whether the inky shade can come with a side of health issues

Charcoal-infused sweets, drinks and other tasty treats have taken the world by storm.

Black pancakes, black lemonade and even black ice cream can be found in many a café and shop, as foodies claim the activated charcoal additive has detoxifying powers. But is it safe?

"The truth is, our body detoxifies very well and naturally with our kidneys and our liver, so any kind of supplement or food that claims to detoxify is really not something that you want to be doing," Dr. Roshini Raj told Inside Edition.

Repeatedly ingesting activated charcoal can also adversely affect a person’s medication, she warned.

“If you’re repeatedly doing this, it can build up and it can also interact with medications you're taking, so if you take it around the same time you take a prescription medicine, that medicine may not be absorbed by your body so it may not be as effective," Raj said.

However, Raj noted occasionally consuming foods containing the trendy additive should not be cause for alarm.

“If you take a small amount of activated charcoal in a beverage or ice cream once in a while, it probably won’t have severe ill effects on your body," she said. 

Nick Morgenstern, who runs Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream in New York, had to discard $3,000 worth of their most popular ice cream after the city’s health department announced it was cracking down on charcoal in food. 

“People really love it,” he said “It’s a shame not to be able to serve."

But the black food craze is far from over, as pizzerias, coffee shops, and juice bars continue to stock the camera-friendly hue.