Food News

Chris Kilham, GNC Chocolate: Snake Oil or Miracle Supplement?

This Sunday in Miami,

"Medicine Hunter" Chris Kilham kicks off his 10-day, nine-city

tour of GNC markets to discuss the benefits of cocoa and to foster a

broader understanding of the "exceptional super fruit." Says Kilham, "This is the best way to set the groundwork for broad education of the health-conscious market about the

remarkable health benefits of cocoa." CocoaWell is the first-ever

line of cocoa-based supplements combining whole food cocoa with pure

plant flavanols. "They are supported by clinical studies and

science to help support heart health, healthy blood pressure,

increased energy, and improved mental acuity," Kilham endorses. So much for feeling guilty about chocolate binges.

Chris Kilham, an ethnobotanist, became interested in cocoa

in the 1990s. After visiting a large cocoa

plantation in the South Pacific, his interest intensified. Since

then, he claims to have studied cocoa extensively in the field and in journals. Naomi Whittle, CEO of

Reserveage, met Kilham at a cosmetic trade show in Paris. "She

described to me her interest in putting together a line of effective

cocoa-based supplements, and I thought it would be a rewarding and

innovative project," shares Kilham.

The cocoa comes from a

cooperative of small-scale farmers, named FONMSOEAM. Kilham found the

co-op while investigating for product that is certified fair-trade

and organic. The cocoa is a "beautifully and thoughtfully

manufactured product," describes Kilham. He acknowledges, though, that it also produces for major chocolate companies such as Mars.

There are two different brands, but

each are the exact same three products with just slightly different

names. Reserveage Organics ($27.99 to $29.99) are sold direct to

consumers from their website with the Reserveage Organics LLC logo.

CocoaWell's branded products for ResVitale ($29.99) are sold in

retail stores such as GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods, and other

fine health food stores.

Although Cocoawell's website boasts support by

science for their products' health benefits, clinical studies, with facts and complete findings, are not

referenced. And a search of the Food and Drug Administration's website for "Cocoawell," "ResVitale," and "Reserveage" turned up empty. So while these thirty-dollar cocoa capsules may help keep

your mind sharp and your heart beating, according to Kilham and Cocoawell, I'll take my chances and grab

a Snickers.

Chris will be available in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area all day on Sunday, April 10, with the exception of 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, you may contact Joyce Burkhardt, with Dean Draznin Communications, at 641-209-3883 or via email at [email protected].

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John Zur