Mars Inc., maker of Milky Way, Snickers and M&M’s candies, next month plans to launch nationwide a new line of products made with a dark chocolate the company claims has health benefits.
Called CocoaVia, the products are made with a kind of dark chocolate high in flavanols, an antioxidant found in cocoa beans that is thought to have a blood-thinning effect similar to aspirin and may even lower blood pressure. The snacks also are enriched with vitamins and injected with cholesterol-lowering plant sterols from soy.
Not so fast:
“To suggest that chocolate is a health food is risky,” said Bonnie Liebman, nutrition director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Recent research has not established a link between flavanols and a reduced risk of cancer or heart disease, she said. And with obesity already a serious health problem, “the last thing we need is for Americans to think they can eat more chocolate.”