Letters: Chocolate claims are too delicious to be true


I’ll bet you had a lot of hits on your chocolate health benefits story. My survey of the news spin cycles finds that the three that always make health claims are chocolate, red wine and coffee. Decades ago, it was claimed smoking was good for you because it “exercised” your lungs. Tomorrow they’ll be claiming oil-flavored seafood caught in the Gulf of Mexico is good for you because you can get more gas in your engine.

Please, as John Lennon said, “just gimme the truth.”

Dan McAloon

Sydney, Australia

If there is even a glimmer of hopefulness or a specter of forthcoming favorable news that chocolate has any beneficial, redeeming qualities aside from the fact that its taste is just this side of heaven, we as the human race, including me, will most assuredly jump on the possibility that something so good can also be good for you.

Bill Spitalnick

Newport Beach

Don’t knock my Pop-Tarts

I read your May 31 article on whole grains and came away thinking nutritionists are missing the boat when it comes to nutrition. Of particular interest was the bad PR heaped on whole grain Pop-Tarts.

While I agree they are not part of a healthy diet on a daily basis, I do believe there can be a valuable place in your diet for such foods.

Let me explain.

I’m a mobile notary, and many days I have barely enough time to get from one appointment to the next, let alone think about stopping to eat a nutritious lunch or dinner. I usually need food and need it fast, most times consuming it while I drive.

Though whole-grain Pop-Tarts are not a great solution, they are, for me, a much better one than the drive-through window at a fast-food joint. There is far less bad stuff in two whole-grain Pop-Tarts than there is in a burger and fries. And whole-grain Pop-Tarts are incrementally better than regular Pop-Tarts.

This approach — avoiding fast food as much as possible and replacing it with healthier (albeit not the healthiest) options — has allowed me to shed 7 pounds since the first of the year. I have recently modified the routine, switching from Pop-Tarts to Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal. Nutritionists would squawk “Too much sugar!” but I squawk back: “Far less calories and fat than fast food, 5 grains of fiber per serving and it’s easy to quickly prepare and take on the road.”

So rather than go for all or nothing, as nutritionists are fond of preaching, I suggest they try preaching incremental steps toward healthier eating.

P.S.: I don’t work for Kellogg’s/Quaker or own their stock.

David Bonner

West Hollywood

The only issue I have with your article is in your stating how much sugar is in an Odwalla Wholly Grains smoothie. I believe it would be more accurate to note how much added sugar is in a product. (I’ve never thought that “smoothies” are a healthy food — they used to be called “shakes,” and I believe the industry started calling them smoothies to make them sound like a better choice.)

I’d like the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make a change to labeling requirements so we could judge how much added sugar is in something. Total sugar is meaningless, since many healthy foods —fruit, milk, etc. — are full of natural sugar.

Penny Anderson


Our letters page highlights selected reader comments on articles recently published in Health.

source: www.latimes.com

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