Health by chocolate?

CocoaviaMars Inc., the company responsible for my M&M’s and Snickers addictions, is trying to rebrand chocolate as a health food. According to an article in The New York Times, Mars is rolling out a new line of chocolate products under the name CocoaVia to be sold in health-food not candy aisles. Touting the health benefits of flavanol-rich cocoa (which is said to lower blood pressure and help prevent heart disease), the company is recommending two servings a day, which would add about 300 calories to your diet. In the article, Jim Cass, Mars’s vp of marketing explains, “Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the world, and chocolate is the No. 1 favorite ingredient in the world. When you put those two giant macro trends together, we know this is a big idea.” Of course it is. And it’s only going to make us bigger. I’ve read about the health benefits of dark chocolate before. As a chocoholic, any news telling me my addiction is a benefit not a hazard is welcome news. But giving me a health-sanctioned reason to indulge in two bars a day will only send me looking for another product to undo the damage. Could a Mars-marketed chocolate-based weight loss product be next?

—Posted by Eleftheria Parpis