Study: Chocolate Pills to Help Your Heart

A new study is being launched to see if pills containing the nutrients in dark chocolate can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Chocolate pills

Processed Food Makers Cut Corners As Prices Rise

Do you read labels at the supermarket? If you do, you may soon notice changes in the ingredients of some of the foods you buy. Food makers are quietly substituting cheaper ingredients in processed foods to offset the high price of commodities.

The Wall Street Journal took note of this trend last weekend, reporting that Food Makers Scrimp on Ingredients In An Effort to Fatten Their Profits [1]. However, that may be overstating their intentions. With high fuel prices driving up the cost of basic ingredients such as sugar and wheat, food companies are are forced to make a choice: raise prices or cut corners. Because competition in the industry is so strong, raising prices is the last thing food companies want to do. Instead, they look to the quality and quantity of the ingredients they use [2]. For example:

  • Kraft Miracle Whip now contains more water
  • Nestle snack products now contain less milk
  • Sara Lee has switched to cheaper wheat for some breads
  • Mars Inc. is reducing the size of its Funsize candy packs
  • Hamburger Helper products have reduced the number of spice and ingredient pouches
  • Some of Hershey’s chocolates are now being made with vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter


Quercetin is a polyphenol, one of a number of water-soluble plant pigments called flavonoids (meaning class of plant secondary metabolites known for their antioxidant activity) that are largely responsible for the color of many flowers, fruits and vegetables. High concentrations of quercetin are found in apples, onions, tea and red wine [1]. Other sources of quercetin include olive oil, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, dark cherries and dark berries such as blueberries, blackberries and bilberries. The average U.S. citizen eating a normal, healthy diet including fruits and vegetables consumes approximately 25-50 mg of quercetin/day. Quercetin and other flavonoids (also referred to as bioflavonoids) cannot be produced in the human body.

Alternative to Dichloroacetate

It’s been three months since an article on dichloroacetate (DCA), the chemotherapeutic agent that selectively inhibits cancer cell growth in lung, breast and brain tumor cells grown in culture and lung tumors grown in immunocompromised rats, was published on Highlight HEALTH. Since then, thousands of people have read the article. Indeed, the blogosphere has been buzzing about DCA, unfortunately focusing on a conspiracy theory accusing big pharma of suppressing a cure for cancer instead of recognizing the study for what it is — a preliminary study in cell culture and rats that cannot be translated to humans without further research and clinical trials.


Polyphenolic compounds (meaning the presence of more than one phenol group per molecule), often referred to as polyphenols, are plant-derived polyhydroxylated (meaning has more than one hydroxyl (OH), or alcohol, group attached) phytochemicals. Polyphenols are divided into three classes and include tannins, phenylpropanoids and flavonoids.