Designer Chocolates No Boon To Your Health

With all the recent announcements about the potential health benefits of chocolate, it's no surprise major food manufacturers are taking advantage of all this good news by introducing new lines of expensive "designer" products that are likely no better for your health than the typical candy bar.

In fact, a spokesperson for the Retail Confectioners Association says the high-end trend has vaulted chocolate into an expensive and profitable product category, not unlike wines or micro-brewed beer. Some of the lines you'll see in the coming months:

  • Hershey's Foods, the nation's leading chocolate producer, is purchasing a high-quality chocolate maker (whose company was founded by a vintner near Napa Valley eight years ago).
  • Godiva Chocolatier (owned by Campbell's Soup) has extended limited collections of its "coutier-style" products (sold only during Valentine's Day and Christmas seasons).
  • Mars has launched its own Ethel's line of premium chocolates, along with a chain of Ethel's Chocolate Lounges in Chicago.
  • Independent chocolate makers have taken advantage of the trend too. One in particular has opened 12 "Chocolate Cafes."

However, you won't find out anything new about chocolate's health benefits in this USA Today piece, because, at least in this market segment, there don't appear to be any...

Just as a reminder, you can enjoy the real benefits chocolate provides (via flavonols) by consuming fruits like apples and grapes and most all vegetables, including broccoli, greens and onions.

Blueberries are the top-rated food by the USDA as far as antioxidant capacity is concerned, and they have other chemicals like anthocyanins that are even more powerful than the polyphenols found in cocoa to protect you from free-radical damage.

USA Today August 12, 2005

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