Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's for my health!

Sometimes, they say, the body knows what it needs for good health and craves it. OK, I say that with a little bit of chocolate-covered tongue-in-cheek... You can read the whole story if you have access to Medscape Nurses News but you'll probably see it elsewhere too. Basically:

ZURICH (Reuters) Jul 17 - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has ruled that cocoa powder and dark chocolate can help people improve blood circulation - a claim made by Barry Callebaut, the world's largest maker of chocolate products.

The Swiss group, which supplies food companies such as Nestle and Hershey with cocoa and chocolate products, said on Tuesday it had provided evidence to EFSA that eating 10 grams of dark chocolate or its equivalent in cocoa that were high in flavanols helped blood flow.

If the European Commission signs off on the EFSA ruling, the company and its customers would have the right to use the health claim on packaging for products such as chocolate drinks, cereal bars and biscuits, the company said.

"As the first company receiving such a health claim, we see new market potential both for us and for our customers," Chief Executive Juergen Steinemann said in a statement.

For the clinical studies it conducted to back up the claim, Barry Callebaut said it used a special process to make cocoa products that maintains the flavanols, which are usually mostly destroyed during conventional chocolate-making.

In an opinion posted on the EFSA website, a scientific panel concluded that a cause and effect relationship had been established between the consumption of cocoa flavanols and the maintenance of normal vasodilation.

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