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Is Chocolate Really a Health Food?

Chocolate
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For years now, chocolate-lovers around the globe have been attempting to justify their addiction with the dubious claim that chocolate is actually healthy. Well, it’s time to eat your hearts out because the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has backed Barry Callebaut’s claim that cocoa flavanols, found in dark chocolate, are indeed good for blood circulation!

Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, announced yesterday that the EFSA broadcast a positive opinion on the company’s health claim that “cocoa flavanols help maintain endothelium-dependent vasodilation which contributes to normal blood flow.” Barry Callebaut is the first company in the EU to obtain a positive Scientific Opinion on such a health claim.

This win has come at no small expense: the company has been carrying out human clinical trials since 2005 in order to examine the effect of cocoa powder and chocolate products, developed themselves in their ACTICOA process, on blood flow. This process retains 80% of the cocoa flavanols in the end product, which in the normal chocolate-making process would have largely been destroyed.

The last piece of the puzzle would fall into place for Barry Callebaut if the EU Commission further approves the health claim. This would give them the right to use the cocoa flavanols health claim for five years within EU countries. Meaning, their success marketing their chocolate products in the future would likely be through the roof.

Juergen Steinemann, CEO of Barry Callebaut, said: “The health claim is also a reward for our long years of extensive research in the benefits of cocoa flavanols on the human body.”

Other recent research has shown that not only can cocoa flavanols have benefits for blood circulation but also for cognition. If consumed before times of high cognitive demand, memory and learning can be enhanced and fatigue reduced. Studying for finals might not be such a chore anymore!

So there we have it. Look forward to a future of chocolate prescriptions and pills. Don’t know about you, but we wouldn’t mind having circulation problems if chocolate is the cure! And the funniest thing of all, we’ve all known what scientists have taken years to prove since we had our first morsel of chocolate at a very young age. How can something that makes us feel so good possibly be bad for you?!

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