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Sunday, 29 April 2007 21:24

Don't mess with chocolate'”keep trans fats out!

The Chocolate Manufacturers Association is trying to convince the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that cocoa in chocolate can be substituted with artificial sweeteners, milk substitutes, and hydrogenated and trans fats.                  

Don’t mess up a good thing, guys!

Called “Hershey's 'mockolate' move” by Bloomberg News writer Adam Satariano, the price of chocolate has increased in recent months due to increases in the price of cocoa. Prices have increased more than 25% over the last six months due to exceptionally dry weather in the Ivory Coast and Ghana—two of the largest areas in the world for the production of cocoa beans.

The Netherlands and the United States are the two largest cocoa processing countries in the world. Belgium has the highest per capita consumption of cocoa and chocolate.

Chocolate that contains cocoa contains high levels of flavonoids and antioxidants, which may be beneficial to the cardiovascular system of humans.

For more information on the benefits of chocolate, go to the ITwire articles “Chocolate does it again, and this time without sugar” and “Flavonoid-rich cocoa found healthy for the brain” .

With the use of vegetable oils, such as trans fats, the cost of making chocolate is about one-third the price as when cocoa is used.

Trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils have been in the news lately, primarily due to their health risk when consuming them. Most health experts consider trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils more dangerous than saturated fats.

Trans fats (trans fatty acids) are a type of unsaturated fat. Most trans fats are created by the large-scale partial hydrogenation of plant oils, which changes a fat’s molecular structure.

Medical professionals consider trans fats to be neither beneficial nor required for human health. Health authorities recommend that trans fats be reduced to only trace (very small) amounts in any person’s diet.

Some countries regulate trans fats. At least one country has outlawed trans fat all together. In the United States, the use of trans fats must be disclosed on product labels. Currently, trans fats are at the center of several lawsuits, especially against fast food outlets.

Some companies are acknowledging that trans fats are bad for people’s health and are removing them from their products or, at least, adding lines of trans-free products.

The chocolate industry does not need to go in the opposite direction and ADD trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils to their products.

Cybele May, publisher of CandyBlog, is asking people to write the FDA to protest “mockolate”, the mock substitute for delicious cocoa in chocolate.



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