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Hands up and step away from the chocolate -- slowly!

"Chocolate offenders" kicked out of a heart disease study turn out to have made an important contribution after all. The junk-food industry makes a contribution, but like its cereals, it seems all puffy and soggy.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins enrolled 1,200 people in a study to determine the effect of aspirin on preventing heart attacks. At the start of the study, participants were asked, for just 48 hours, to refrain from drinking caffeine, wine and grapefruit juice; smoking; and eating chocolate.

Guess which one was hardest to give up?

There were 139 people who were kicked out of the study as "chocolate offenders." But the researchers measured their blood anyway and found, to their surprise and to all chocolate-lovers' delight, that cocoa is beneficial in slowing platelet-clumping. It is not, however, as effective as baby aspirin, but it does taste better.

Big Macs, Froot Loops and Coca-Cola also taste pretty good, but these and other junk-food industry leaders just agreed to voluntarily spend half their gargantuan advertising dollars on positive nutrition messages aimed at kids. By doing so they avoided certain government regulation. But think they'll lose any money by manipulating kids' understanding of what's good and what's not? Fat chance.

Originally posted to Ira R Allen on Wed Nov 15, 2006 at 01:55 PM PST.

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