Ethic Soup's Sharon McEachern loves her chocolate.
Chocolate ain't the same! I know everything must change eventually. But for God sake, leave chocolate alone. Do not mess with chocolate! From the grave, my grandmother implores: "Get your hands off my chocolate."
There is a lot of chocolate news these days. One warning is for children who eat a lot of toffee, fudge, cookies and milk chocolate daily. They could be at risk of consuming more than three times the safe amount of melamine. Milk from China, contaminated with melamine, is used in many candies and sweet snacks. In China, the contaminated milk has resulted in 53,000 babies ill and others killed, according to the Daily Telegraph (UK).
There is also much good news about chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, which can keep us healthy, protecting us against numerous risks and diseases. Yet, at the same time, there are serious warnings about overdosing on chocolate which has huge blasts of caffeine as an ingredient -- particularly frightening for children, whose little hearts can't take it!
But the worst, the most unbelievable, unethical, miserable news -- Hershey's is taking the chocolate out of some of their candy bars. They are replacing cocoa butter with vegetable oil so a chocolate bar no longer has any chocolate in it. And they were sneaky about it.
THE BUZZ ABOUT CAFFEINE CHOCOLATE
First, the warning about caffeine in some chocolate products. Now if you don't like coffee, you don't need to swallow energy drinks like Red Bull to get energized. Instead you can eat a bite of chocolate. But watch out! Just one bite of chocolate has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee -- that's 100 milligrams of caffeine, according to the makers of "Buzz Bites." That's the same as three cans of coke or a whole pound of normal milk chocolate in just one buzz bite.
Doctors are concerned that craving more candy, people can easily overdose on caffeine. If that happens, your blood pressure and your heart rhythm can increase to dangerous levels and other symptoms can worsen from the caffeine excess. A daily maximum of two cups of coffee or two buzz bites is recommended. Doctors are particularly concerned that kids will get hold of these caffeine shockers and won't be able to stop eating the candy. Products juiced-up with caffeine shouldn't look like candy, smell like candy or taste like candy. Maybe, after the first child dies, the food and drug regulators will consider such a prohibition. Children can't always read or understand warning labels -- that certainly holds true for many adults.
CHOCOLATE IS GOOD FOR YOU -- EAT MORE!
With increasing research on the health benefits of chocolate, adults have an excuse, a rationale to eat more of it. Now comes the news that half a bar per week of dark chocolate may keep heart attack risk at bay. The ideal amount for a protective effect against inflammation and subsequent cardiovascular disease is 6.7 grams of chocolate per day, according to Science Daily.
This finding came from one the largest epidemiological studies ever conducted in Europe, with some 20,000 inhabitants of the Molise region.Researchers focused on inflammation, a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease -- from myocardial infarction to stroke. Keeping inflammation under control is a major issue for prevention programs. It's the high amounts of antioxidants in the cocoa seeds, particularly flavonoids, that may have beneficial effects in reducing inflammation. The 17 percent reduction observed decreases the risk of cardio-vascular disease by one third for women and one fourth for men. Let's hear it for dark chocolate!
And there's even more good chocolate news. Chocolate is part of the University of Michigan's Healing Foods Pyramid. Why? Because chocolate contains antioxidants that can reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol, reduce your risk of blood clots and increase blood flow, reports the Mail Tribune (OR). Plus it may just improve your mood by raising the endorphin levels in your brain, according to the University of Michigan's department of Integrative Medicine.
IS HERSEY FUDGING ?
So here we are with all these research studies coming out saying how great chocolate is for our health. So naturally, we all want to eat even more chocolate. And then we find out that what we think is chocolate isn't chocolate, but rather mockolate -- fake chocolate candy. All of a sudden Hersey's -- the top chocolate-seller in the U.S. -- is taking the chocolate out of some of its candy bars. Ye gads! Chocolate aficionados are not happy.
Hersey switched to less expensive ingredient in several products. They replaced cocoa butter (the stuff that gives chocolate its smooth, creamy texture) with vegetable oil. Cocoa butter is fat derived from cocoa beans. But like other commodities, cocoa prices have skyrocketed. In 2006, one metric tone of African cocoa butter cost less than $4,000, while today it costs more than $8,100, according to an article by Alice Gomstyn, ABC News.
However, since removing the cocoa butter violates the definition of chocolate, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's, changes have appeared on the labels -- subtle changes. For instance, changing what used to be "milk chocolate" to "chocolatey."
In her Candy Blog, Cybele May has been keeping track of Hersey's changes, saying: "I feel betrayed by Hershey's. They're giving me an inferior product and not even telling me ..." She calls it "mockolate," a fake chocolate candy bar. Least we be accused of picking on Hersey's, May said they aren't the only candy manufacturer using substitutes for cocoa butter. Baby Ruth bars made by Nestle, which is the third-biggest chocolate-seller in the U.S., used to contain real chocolate, but hasn't in a long time, said May.
FOR MORE ABOUT CHOCOLATE ETHIC SOUP POSTS:
TO READ "MORE CHOCOLATE PRICEFIXING PROBES TARGET MARS, HERSHEY, NESTLE, CADBURY & KDRAFT FOODS" CLICK HERE.
TO READ "CHOCOLATE PRICE-FIXING: HERSHEY, MARS, NESTLE & CADBURY ACCUSED, CLICK HERE.
TO READ ABOUT "MARS GIVES CANDY AWAY FREE," CLICK HERE.
TO READ "DON'T MESS WITH CHOCOLATE" CLICK HERE.