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Calorie Bargain or Calorie Rip-Off: Are the Claims Really True?

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Diet Coke Plus, Hershey's Reserve, Special K Protein Water -- are fortified foods healthier than their regular counterparts?

Hershey's Reserve: Is It Better Than Regular Chocolate?

Diet Detective

Every time I read a magazine or walk down the aisles of the supermarket, I see packages, advertisements, or promotions trying to lure unsuspecting consumers into living a better life. I looked into a few of these latest health pitches in order to uncover whether the claims meet our expectations.

Hershey's Reserve

Hershey's has finally responded to the research and media hype about the health benefits of dark chocolate by developing Hershey's Reserve. This chocolate comes in a variety of styles; however, I was most captivated by the fancy tin container at the checkout line at my supermarket. Each tin includes six truffles -- they're available in 65 percent cacao (dark chocolate) and 35 percent cacao (milk chocolate). Each candy is almost 50 calories. And yes, eating chocolate does have health benefits. According to Teresa Moore, PhD, RD, a professor at the Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, "Cacao contains polyphenols [potent plant-based compounds also found in tea, red wine, and some fruits and vegetables] that may act as antioxidants, which may help reduce LDL [low-density lipoprotein -- the bad stuff] cholesterol oxidation and modulate platelet activity, both of which contribute to cardiovascular disease."

"Cacao also contains biogenic amines that may help enhance feelings of well-being, methylxanthines such as caffeine that act as stimulants, and anandamide, which helps give feelings of heightened euphoria," Moore adds. Keep in mind that even with all these health benefits the idea is not to add the chocolate to your diet, but to use it as a replacement for a less healthy food. For instance, if you typically eat a bag of Skittles or have a Snickers bar, you would be better off having chocolate with a high cacao content. "The higher the cacao content in chocolate, the higher the amount of the pharmacologic chemicals in the chocolate," says Moore.

Bottom line: Kudos to Hershey's for promoting a healthier chocolate, but don't forget that this is still candy and should be eaten occasionally, not daily. Plus, it has plenty of added sugar and 2.5 grams of saturated fat for just one bite-size truffle.

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julietwoods11 wrote:

I love chocolate, and if it helps me live a better life, I'll eat it all day every day!

11/27/2012 07:52:33 PM Report Abuse
a3984502 wrote:

Right now I am following the Diet Plan for You blog by nutrition specialist Kate Hill. Kate helped me lose weight in a healthy way in few weeks, without starving! If you want to lose weight, just visit Kate's blog at:

2/2/2012 02:52:45 AM Report Abuse

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