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Potential Deception and Destruction of Healthy Chocolate

Members of the Chocolate Manufacturers of America (CMA), such as Hershey, Nestle and Archer Daniels Midland, initially posing as an interested citizens group, have covertly petitioned the FDA to "modernize food standards" by allowing products containing little or no cocoa butter to still be labeled chocolate.

This would allow products that were essentially a mix of milk, artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated trans fats to be sold as chocolate.

Trans fats have been directly linked to several debilitating illnesses, including heart disease. They lower levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol while increasing levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Increased LDL makes the arteries more rigid and causes arterial clogging.

Cocoa prices have increased recently due to speculation that a dry summer this year could impair cocoa production in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The ingredients that could be used to replace cocoa, under the terms of the proposal, are considerably cheaper.

NewsWithViews.com May 4, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Considering science is proving how eating minimally-processed chocolate  can provide you with boatloads of beneficial antioxidants, you'd think big business couldn't and wouldn't do anything to mess that good news up.

Guess again, folks.

You may soon see sales of "chocolate" that is a mixture of artificial sweeteners, 2 percent milk fats and the very health-harming trans fats. Convinced the threat of fake chocolate is a real one, a dozen American manufacturers (headed by Warren Buffett's See's Candies) are fighting the plan.

The powerful NewsWithViews feature linked above describes this latest chocolate deception as no different a stunt from the one pulled by the margarine and shortening industries on consumers a half-century ago, pressuring the FDA to sanction trans-fatty margarine as a "healthy" alternative to butter.

The health benefits conferred by real chocolate could be vast, based on research documenting the beneficial effects of epicatechin-rich cocoa on the Kuna Indians in Panama.

The incidence of four deadly and major diseases -- cancer, heart failure, diabetes and stroke -- only affect 10 percent of the Kuna, far fewer than is typical. Some scientists are calling for epicatechin to be regarded as an essential vitamin; in fact, according to at least one expert, the prevalence of the aforementioned diseases could even be regarded as an epicatechin deficiency.

All the more reason to consider the source when it comes to choosing the right chocolate for your health -- you want the minimally-processed dark kind. But before you consider consuming any chocolate at all, I urge you to review some simple guidelines first.

However, please be cautious if you are a protein nutritional type or have high inulin levels that are nearly universally present in those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or weight to lose. If you are in that group you will want to limit all chocolate intake until your insulin levels normalize.

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