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Mars, Inc.

Press Release: World leaders in cardiology meet to discuss potential cardiovascular benefits of chocolate

Press Release (Aug) 08:28, 2000

This is a press release by a company (Mars, Inc.) that makes chocolate bars, which explains the somewhat optimistic title. The reportage concerns a paper presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting this August in Amsterdam a few days ago regarding chocolate by Dr. Carl Keen from UC Davis. The press release does a reasonable (if slightly slanted) job of reporting the story.

The ESC abstracts are not yet on the web. They perhaps will be in the near future at AstraZeneca's site: http://www.incirculation.com, which does have a number of news stories featuring events and presentations at the ESC 2000 meeting. So anyway, back to the chocolate bar manufacturer's happy interpretation of the findings:

SOURCE: Mars, Incorporated

World Leaders in Cardiology Meet to Discuss Potential Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Chocolate

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ World leaders in cardiology met today at the 22nd Congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) to discuss new research that suggests the potential role of chocolate in helping to maintain cardiovascular health.

New research suggests that cocoa polyphenols (naturally present in the cocoa in chocolate) may help to maintain cardiovascular health in the following way: In laboratory studies, cocoa polyphenols appear to help relax blood vessels (vasodilation). Blood vessel function is increasingly being recognized by cardiologists as an important factor in the development of heart disease.

A year ago, there was little research available to suggest that chocolate may help to maintain heart health. Now, many scientists believe that cocoa polyphenols, naturally occurring substances within chocolate can act like antioxidants. Antioxidants, also found in fruit and vegetables, have been shown to prevent damage to our bodies. Importantly, antioxidants help reduce LDL oxidation, minimizing the effects of this ``bad'' cholesterol in the body that is implicated in coronary heart disease; and may be anti-thrombogenic. This means that cocoa polyphenols may help reduce the formation of blood clots.

In addition, the main fat in chocolate is stearic acid, shown to exert a neutral effect on blood cholesterol.

``We have already conducted preliminary research and are finding more evidence to suggest that regular intake of active cocoa components may contribute to a lower risk of blood clots within blood vessels,'' comments Carl Keen, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Nutrition, professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, Davis, and lead researcher and presenter of the data at the ESC Congress. ``While more research is necessary, these results suggest that chocolate may contribute to a healthy diet.''

The ESC Congress is one of the major cardiovascular educational and scientific events worldwide. The ESC hosts key meetings on the latest advancements in cardiovascular science and medicine. This year, the society is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Although cocoa polyphenols are naturally occurring components in cocoa, manufacturing processes, such as fermentation and roasting, can affect the levels of cocoa polyphenols that are in the final chocolate product. In Mars chocolate products, much of the natural levels of polyphenols found in the raw cocoa are maintained through proprietary processes that help prevent the destruction of the cocoa polyphenols during processing. Products made with these processes carry the trademark Cocoapro(TM), which is currently found on such favorites as ``M&M's''r Chocolate Candies, DOVEr Chocolate and SNICKERSr Bars.

Contact: Barbara King or Melissa McAllister, both of Aronow & Pollock Communications, Inc., 212-941-1414, for Mars, Incorporated.

SOURCE: Mars, Incorporated