Wave of new products containing high levels of pure cocoa unveiled following research that dark chocolate may provide health benefits; products being marketed as healthy way to enjoy chocolate without addition of empty calories

LOS ANGELES , March 23, 2012 () – A wave of new products containing high levels of pure cocoa has been unveiled following research that the consumption of dark chocolate may provide some health benefits, The Wall Street Journal reported March 20.

The products are being marketed as a healthy way to enjoy chocolate without the addition of empty calories.

Cocoa contains compounds known as flavanols. Flavanols can improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and reduce a person’s overall risk of developing heart disease.

Three scientific analyses that were published over the last six months indicated that the consumption of cocoa is good for a person’s heart. These analyses were conducted by compiling the results of smaller studies.

While a majority of chocolate products are not labeled with their flavanols content, and there are no industry-wide or scientific standards for measuring the flavanols content of chocolate, there are industry-wide standards for measuring the percentage of cocoa in chocolate products. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the higher the flavanols content.

According to scientists, a majority of dark-chocolate bars, by weight, typically contain 50%-60% cocoa.

Yale University's Prevention Research Center Director David L. Katz said that it is not known how much chocolate is necessary to provide the health benefits.

The new wave of "functional chocolates" includes:

        • Choffy, a product that contains specially milled 100% cocoa and can be brewed like coffee.

        • Tripple Red Corp.’s Antidote “red label” chocolate, which contains high-quality Ecuadorian cocoa beans.

        • Navitas LLC’s Navitas Naturals sweetened nibs, which are raw, unroasted cocoa beans sans the shell.

        • Mars Inc.’s CocoVia daily supplements, which contain 350 milligrams of cocoa flavanols. Mars also makes 15-calorie, fruit-flavored Cirku packets that contain cocoa extracts.

The primary source of this article is The Wall Street Journal, New York, New York, on March 20, 2012.

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