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The European Space Agency is to mount Juice probe, a billion-euro mission, to Jupiter and its icy moons.

Juice probe has just been approved at a meeting of member state delegations in Paris.

It would be built in time for a launch in 2022, although it would be a further eight years before it reached the Jovian system.

The mission has emerged from a five-year-long competition to find the next “large class” space venture in Europe.

Juice stands for JUpiter ICy moon Explorer. The concept proposes an instrument-packed, nearly five-tonne satellite to be sent out to the Solar System’s biggest planet, to make a careful investigation of three of its biggest moons.

The spacecraft would use the gravity of Jupiter to initiate a series of close fly-bys around Callisto and Europa, and then finally to put itself in a settled orbit around Ganymede.

Emphasis would be put on “habitability” – in trying to understand whether there is any possibility that these moons could host microbial life.

Callisto, Europa and Ganymede are all suspected to have oceans of water below their icy surfaces. As such, they may have environments conducive to simple biology.

“People probably don’t realize that habitable zones don’t necessarily need to be close to a star – in our case, close to the Sun,” explained Prof. Michele Dougherty, a Juice science team member from Imperial College London, UK.

“There are four conditions required for life to form. You need water; you need an energy source – so the ice can become liquid; you need the right chemistry – nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen; and the fourth thing you need is stability – a length of time that allows life to form.

“The great thing about the icy moons in the Jupiter system is that we think those four conditions might exist there; and Juice will tell us if that is the case,” she said.

The European Space Agency is to mount Juice probe, a billion-euro mission, to Jupiter and its icy moons

The European Space Agency is to mount Juice probe, a billion-euro mission, to Jupiter and its icy moons

The mission will cost ESA on the order of 830 million Euros ($1.1 billion) over its entire life cycle. This includes the cost of manufacturing the spacecraft bus, or chassis, launching the satellite and operating it until 2033.

This sum does not however include Juice’s 11 instruments. Funding for these comes from the member states. When this money is taken into account, the final budget for Juice is expected to be just short of 1.1 billion Euros.

It has not yet been decided which European nations will provide which instruments. An Announcement of Opportunity will be released this summer with a view to identifying the instrument providers by the start of next year.

The final and formal go-ahead for Juice should be given in 2014. In ESA-speak, this stage is referred to as “adoption”.

It is the moment when all the elements required to build the satellite are in place and the full costs are established.

It is also the point at which any international participation is recognized.

At the moment, Juice is a Europe-only venture, but there is every possibility that the Americans will get on board.

The US space agency (NASA) walked away from the idea of producing a companion satellite to Juice – a spacecraft that would orbit Europa rather than Ganymede – due to programmatic differences and budget concerns.

Nonetheless, there is a strong desire among the American scientific community to have some involvement in Juice, especially in those aspects that concern Europa.

Dr. Britney Schmidt from the University of Texas at Austin is excited that Europe has chosen to fly Juice, and expects the probe’s data to resolve many outstanding questions at the icy moon.

“We know that ice is a really good place [for life] to do business on Earth,” she said.

“There’s plenty of microbial and even some macroscopic organisms that use ice to make a living. It’s not so hard to imagine that life like that which lives in Antarctica and in the Arctic might be very possible on Europa.”

The ESA executive has put down 68 million Euros as a kind of placeholder, to give some idea of how much NASA might like to contribute. The sum is roughly the equivalent of two instruments. However, it should be said that no explicit discussions between ESA and NASA have taken place concerning which specific instruments might come from across the Atlantic.

One further issue needs to be resolved: the name of the mission. The “Juice” label was dreamt up by the science team who devised the mission concept, but the researchers acknowledge there was a touch of humor in its creation.

They would like to use the name Laplace, after the great 18th/19th-Century French mathematician and astronomer Pierre-Simon Laplace. A number of commentators would like to see ESA run a public competition to find a suitable mission name.

The Juice proposal was chosen over two other ideas – Athena, which envisages the biggest X-ray telescope ever built, and NGO, which would place a trio of high-precision satellites in space to detect gravitational waves.

These defeated concepts will probably now be entered into the next competition, due to be announced next year or the year after.



Dentists warn that children who are encouraged to drink large amounts of fruit juice as part of their “five a day” could be damaging their teeth.

Specialists are concerned that health- conscious parents who regularly give their children juices and smoothies bursting with fruit could be doing long-term damage.

Dr. Kathy Harley, dean of the dental faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons in UK, warned that half of 5-year-olds had signs of wear to their tooth enamel.

She has called on schools to offer milk or water to pupils during breaks instead of fruit juice, which has a high acid content.

Dental erosion, which is irreversible, is caused by acid attacking the surface of teeth – and citrus fruit juices in particular are very acidic.

While fruit juices contain a range of vitamins that are good for your health, they are also often high in natural sugars, which cause tooth decay.

Kathy Harley suggested parents should give their children fruit juice as a treat once a week, for example on Saturdays.

It suggests people drink the juice with a meal as this can help to reduce damage to the teeth.

Drinking more than one glass of juice a day does not count as more than one portion of fruit, as it does not contain the fibre found in the whole fruit.

Juicing or blending fruit releases the sugars inside and is worse for the teeth if drunk frequently.

Dentists warn that children who are encouraged to drink large amounts of fruit juice as part of their “five a day” could be damaging their teeth

Dentists warn that children who are encouraged to drink large amounts of fruit juice as part of their “five a day” could be damaging their teeth

Some researchers also say drinking juice slowly can cause more damage to teeth.

Dentists have previously warned that, while tooth decay is less common as more children and adults brush their teeth regularly than in the past, dental erosion is a growing problem due to acidic drinks.

Research published last year by King’s College London Dental Institute, based on a study of 1,000 people aged between 18 and 30, suggested eating an apple could be worse for teeth than drinking a fizzy drink because of the acid it contains.

Experts recommend people continue to eat fruit but drink water afterwards to wash away the acid or eat something containing calcium, such as cheese, which neutralizes acid.

Damien Walmsley, an adviser to the British Dental Association said: “If you are having fruit, keep it to meal times. That [may] go against the [recommendation of] five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but it is not a good idea snacking on it because of the continual drip, drip on to the tooth.”


CeBIT 2012 visitors have been treated to very latest digital trends, industry news and inspired innovations at the tradeshow’s home base in Hannover, Germany, between March 6 and March 10.

Robots everywhere, driverless cars, new eco-solutions, screens that “read” feelings, and smart museums and stadiums – just some of the “City of the Future” technologies at this years’ CeBIT trade fair.

Many of the devices on show sound like the stuff of science-fiction. But even if most are not yet ready for release, their developers are at least able to show off working prototypes.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology is at the event holding live demonstrations of a system that creates a connection between cars and traffic lights.

The system is designed to eliminate accidents by forcing cars to slow down when they approach a traffic light that is about to change to red.

The institute’s Oliver Sawade said that the technology could be used on the road within five years.

“Your car will be able to come to your place once you call it, without a driver,” he added.

“And when you arrive at your destination it will be able to go to the garage by itself.”

CeBIT 2012 visitors have been treated to very latest digital trends, industry news and inspired innovations at the tradeshow's home base in Hannover, Germany, between March 6 and March 10

CeBIT 2012 visitors have been treated to very latest digital trends, industry news and inspired innovations at the tradeshow's home base in Hannover, Germany, between March 6 and March 10

Metres away the German Robotics Innovation Centre is showing off a vehicle that can shrink to squeeze into tight parking spaces.

The EO Smart Connecting Car also saves space by avoiding the need for an engine in a bonnet or boot. Instead its engineers have put small engines in each of its four wheels.

The vehicle can also be folded or connected to other similar cars to create a “train”. The centre’s Timo Birnschein said that the innovation would allow those taking part to share and save energy.

“With newly developed technologies, vehicles can be mechanically and electrically docked together in order to transfer data and electric power from one vehicle to the next,” he said.

“It is thus possible to steer several vehicles at a time and to drive in the slipstream. This way, traffic jams can be reduced and large quantities of energy can be saved.”

A range of robots are also strutting – or in some cases grinding – their stuff at CeBIT 2012.

Britain’s Engineered Arts’ singing “Robothespian” attracted attention for its rendition of Singing in the Rain and Star Wars impersonations.

The android is being marketed as an educational guide. Its developers now plan to link up the machines’ brains via the cloud so they can share information between each other.

The Karlsruhe Institute’s Armar robot offered a vision of the future in which domestic droids carry out chores. The machine’s grip is sensitive enough to allow it to take milk and cartons of juice out of a fridge, and it can learn how to clean or empty a dishwasher by watching its owner.

Germany’s Tobit Software’s engineers are obviously thinking along very different lines. Their booth is decked out as a club with one of its creations acting as DJ while two others pole-dance to the beats.

Visitors with a robo-fetish can pick up one of the dancers for about 30,000 Euros ($39,500).

The IT2Green project offers a more sober – and perhaps more useful – take on technology.

It is designed to transfer data from company and government servers to employees’ computers overnight. This then frees up capacity to carry out more sophisticated operations in the day.

The innovation has already secured state funds. The Fraunhofer Institute’s Dr Phil Lutz Stobbe said care had been taken to ensure the transfers were secure to avoid data exposure.

“We expect these projects to work within the next two years.” he said.

Another technology demonstrated by the institute is able to “read” faces.

A computer’s camera films people’s expressions and then uses algorithms to work out the age, sex and even what mood they are in.

The software – known as Shore – can cope with any background, changes in lighting conditions and other objects that appear in its sightline.

After eight years of development one of its creators said it could also distinguish one person from another.

“Even if someone leaves the camera’s field of vision they can still be recognized,” said Tobias Ruf.

“The Shore software has a short term memory that lets them be recalled when they reappear in its view.”

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As some people dislike the calories in soft drinks, but loathe the taste of their zero-calorie diet equivalents, Pepsi is hoping to win back beverage consumers with a compromise, a mid-calorie soda.

The American company is rolling out Pepsi Next, a cola that has less than half the calories of a standard Pepsi at 60 calories per can.

Pepsi Next, which is slated to hit store shelves in the U.S. by the end of next month, is the company’s biggest product launch in years.

Pepsi Next comes as people increasingly move away from sugary drinks to water and other lower-calorie beverages because of health concerns.

It is also an attempt by Pepsi to revive the cola wars against Coke and others.

Pepsi Next isn’t the first drink to try to hit the sweet spot between diet and standard cola.

Dr. Pepper Snapple rolled out its low-calorie Dr. Pepper Ten, which has ten calories. The company said the drink, which has sugar unlike its diet soft drink, helped boost its fourth-quarter sales.

But coming up with a successful “mid-calorie soda”, which has more calories, has proved a challenge for beverage makers.

In 2001, Coke rolled out C2 and Pepsi in 2004 introduced its Pepsi Edge, both of which had about half the calories of a regular soft drink. Both products also were taken off the market by 2006 because of poor sales.

John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest, said: “The problem was that consumers either wanted regular soda or a diet drink with zero calories – not something in between.”

Pepsi Next is made with a mix of three artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup

Pepsi Next is made with a mix of three artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup

Pepsi says its latest stab at an in-between soft drink uses a different formula to more closely imitate the taste of a regular soda.

Pepsi Next is made with a mix of three artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup.

Melissa Tezanos, a spokesperson for Pepsi, said the company developed the cola by researching the “taste curve” that consumers experience when drinking a regular soft drink

She compared that arc to how someone might evaluate a sip of wine, from the moment the liquid hits the tongue to the after-taste it leaves.

Melissa Tezanos said: “We wanted to develop a taste curve that gives the full flavor of regular Pepsi.”

Pepsi Next also follows the company’s lower-calorie variations of its other drinks.

The sport drink Gatorade, a unit of Pepsi, has G2, which at 20 calories has a little less than half the calories of the original version. And the company’s Tropicana unit introduced Trop50, which is half of the 110 calories in a regular glass of orange juice.

But orange juice and sports drinks have nutritional benefits that a drink maker can market. A mid-calorie soft drink is a tougher sell because it provides only empty calories.

So health-conscious drinkers usually opt for a diet soft drink or quit altogether.

Sales in the $74 billon soft drink industry have been fizzling out, with volume falling steadily since 2005, according to Beverage Digest, which tracks the industry.

Meanwhile, healthier drinks are growing more popular, with bottled water accounting for 11% of all beverages consumed in 2010, up from 2% in 2000. Consumption of sports drink rose to 2.3%, from 1.2%.

Diet soft drinks also rose to 29.9% of the carbonated drink market in 2010, up from 24.7% a decade earlier.

To keep up with changing tastes, Coke and Pepsi have introduced newer versions of their diet drinks – Coke Zero and Pepsi Max – that promise a taste that’s more like their regular sodas.

Pepsi hopes Pepsi Next will help it gain back the market share it has lost in recent years.

The company’s namesake drink had its share in the carbonated soft drink market fall to 9.5% in 2010, from 13.6% a decade earlier, while Diet Pepsi’s share remained steady at 5.3%.

Coke is still the top selling brand, with 17% market share. Diet Coke follows with 9.9%.

Pepsi, based in Purchase, New York, said earlier this month that it plans to increase marketing for its brands by $500 million to $600 million this year. A centerpiece of that will be Pepsi’s first global ad campaign this summer, a peak time for the soda market.

Soda calorie counter

A standard can of soft drink contains the following calories:

Pepsi Next – 60

Pepsi – 150

Coca-Cola – 140

Diet Pepsi – 0

Diet Coke – 0

Sprite – 96


Researchers claim that eating oranges and grapefruit could cut your risk of stroke.

Both the whole fruit and breakfast juices appear to protect against having a “brain attack”, probably due to their high content of a certain type of antioxidant.

A new study looked at citrus fruit for the first time, rather than a range of fruit and vegetables which have been linked to stroke protection.

The study involved thousands of women taking part in the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study in the US, but experts believe the benefits may also apply to men.

A research team based at Norwich Medical School in the University of East Anglia in UK investigated the strength of protection from flavonoids, a class of antioxidant compounds present in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine.

The study used 14 years of follow-up data provided by 69,622 women who reported their food intake, including details on fruit and vegetable consumption every four years.

The research team examined the relationship of the six main subclasses of flavonoids – flavanones, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavonoid polymers, flavonols and flavones – with risk of ischemic, hemorrhagic and total stroke.

The researchers did not find a beneficial association between total flavonoid consumption and stroke risk, as the biological activity of the sub-classes differ.

But women who ate high amounts of flavanones in citrus had a 19% lower risk of blood clot-related (ischemic) stroke than women who consumed the least amounts.

The highest level of flavanones was around 45 mg a day compared with 20 mg a day. A glass of commercial orange juice can provide 20-50mg depending on processing and storage conditions.

In the study, reported in the medical journal Stroke, flavanones came primarily from oranges and orange juice (82%) and grapefruit and grapefruit juice (14%).

Researchers claim that eating oranges and grapefruit could cut your risk of stroke probably due to their high content of a certain type of antioxidant

Researchers claim that eating oranges and grapefruit could cut your risk of stroke probably due to their high content of a certain type of antioxidant

However, researchers recommended that consumers wanting to increase their citrus fruit intake should eat more whole fruit rather than juice, due to the high sugar content of commercial fruit juices.

Lead researcher Aedin Cassidy, professor of nutrition, said: “Studies have shown higher fruit, vegetable and specifically vitamin C intake is associated with reduced stroke risk.

“Flavonoids are thought to provide some of that protection through several mechanisms, including improved blood vessel function and an anti-inflammatory effect.”

A previous study found that citrus fruit and juice intake, but not intake of other fruits, protected against risk of ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage.

Another study found no association between yellow and orange fruits and stroke risk, but did link increased consumption of white fruits like apples and pears with lower stroke risk.

An additional study found that Swedish women who ate the highest levels of antioxidants – about 50% from fruits and vegetables – had fewer strokes than those with lower antioxidant levels.

More studies are needed to confirm the association between flavanone consumption and stroke risk, and to gain a better understanding about why the association occurs, said Prof. Aedin Cassidy.

Dr. Sharlin Ahmed, Research Liaison Officer at The Stroke Association said: “We all know that eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg is good for our health. This study suggests that eating citrus fruits in particular, such as oranges and grapefruits, which are high in vitamin C could help to lower your stroke risk.

“However, this should not deter people from eating other types of fruit and vegetables as they all have health benefits and remain an important part of a staple diet.

“More research is needed in this area to help us understand the possible reasons why citrus fruits could help to keep your stroke risk down.

“Everyone can reduce their risk of stroke by eating a healthy balanced diet that is low in saturated fat and salt, exercising regularly and ensuring that your blood pressure is checked and kept under control.”




Cissy Houston, Whitney Houston’s mother, paid an emotional tribute to her beloved daughter today as family, friends and some of the biggest names in the music world gathered at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, for the singer’s funeral.

Among the mourners at today’s highly-charged service, were singers Chaka Khan, Brandy, Roberta Flack, Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson. Singer Ray J, who spent time with Houston during her last days, broke down crying. His sister, singer Brandy, put her arm around him.

After a brief welcome by City Mayor Cory Booke, Pastor Joe Carter took to the alter to read some scripture and start the celebration of Whitney Houston’s life.

Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin was the first soloist to sing. He performed Stand which was a request from the Houston family. As he came up to sing he briefly stopped to greet Whitney Houston’s mother Cissy and her daughter Bobbi Kristina who are sitting next to each other on the front row of the church.

Members of the congregation stood up and started raising their hands and praising as Donnie McClurkin sang to the congregation accompanied by the large gospel choir.

Dionne Warwick, who is officiating the service and introducing the guests to the congregation, told Donie McClurkin after his performance: “This song means a lot to Cissy and a great deal to Whitney so thank you.”

She then invited Tyler Perry to come and say a few words.

Tyler Perry started by saying: “It was Pat [Whitney’s sister-in-law] that introduced me to Whitney. I met her a few years ago. She told me about things that she went through. I saw this sadness and heaviness.

“But before she would say what was bothering her she would interrupt and say <<But the Lord… But my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ>>. I’m thankful for all that God has done in her life.

“There was a grace that followed her through her life. There was a grace that kept on carrying her. She loved the Lord.”

Tyler Perry ended by saying: “God bless you family. We love you Whitney.”

Dionne Warwick said: “That’s someone who truly knew Whitney. He loved the lord and still does.”

She then invited gospel singer Bebe Winans to come up and sing.

Bebe Winans and his sister CeCe Winans came up to the altar. CeCe was a close friend of Whitney Houston’s and is Bobbi Kristina’s Godmother.

“Whitney invited us over to her home and we sat in her closet. It was a huge closet,” Bebe Winans said.

He told the story of how Whitney Houston changed her tour so they would be the ones to headline instead of her which made “Clive Davies” mad.

Bebe Winans said that Whitney Houston was doing it because they were “poor” and she was “rich” and she wanted to help them and get them more exposure.

He told the story through tears and laughter at how giving their long term friend was.

Bebe Winans sang a heartfelt rendition of I Really Miss You. The lyrics of which speak of how much he will miss her “wit, charm, just want to hold you in my arms”.

“I’ll miss her voice when she will call. I’ll miss her smile most of all. I’m gonna miss you.”

During the song, his voice broke as he became emotional and he ended the song in tears.

Dionne Warwick then invited renowned pastor Bishop T. D. Jakes to the pew who met her on the set of the remake of Sparkle, Whitney Houston’s final movie which will be released in August, which he helped to produce.

“I really the dichotomy at this time. Surrounded by friends and admirers enthralled by the beautiful Whitney Houston. But that’s not what brings you here because you knew who she was. Not what she did. You shared her with the world and we just want to take a moment to say thank you,” he opened up with saying.

He embarked on a sermon where he talked about the Bible speaking of love being stronger than death.

“One day you’ll be driving and hear Whitney’s voice in your head, something that she said or did, and you’ll giggle. They may leave you outwardly but they never leave you inwardly.”

Kim Burrell was next to take to the altar. The gospel singer and pastor says Whitney Houston helped her in the start in her career.

She was supposed to sing I Believe In You and Me, a favourite of Whitney Houston’s, but she instead did a personalized version of A Change Is Going To Come, where she sang that a change had to come in Whitney’s life.

Her lyrics were directed to Cissy Houston and sang about how she would get on her knees and pray for her daughter during all the trials and tribulations in her life.

“Whitney a change has come,” she ended the song and then went and gave Cissy Houston a huge hug.

The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner got up to share memories of his time with his beloved friend Whitney Houston

The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner got up to share memories of his time with his beloved friend Whitney Houston


The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner got up to share memories of his time with his beloved friend.

Kevin Costner started by saying: “I would like to thank Cissy and Dionne for the honor of being here. Everyone treating my wife and I so gracefully.”

“The song I Will Always Love You almost wasn’t. She was meant to sing What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. So what becomes our broken hearts.

“For a moment we should dry our tears, suspend our sorrow and anger. Never forgot that Cissy and Bobbi Kristina are sitting among us.

“Your mother and I had a lot in common,” Kevin Costner said to Bobbi Kristina.

“He’s a boy, she’s a girl. I’m white, she’s black. You’d think we had nothing in common but we did.

“We both grew up in a Baptist church. My grandmother led the choir and played the piano.”

Kevin Costner told stories of his childhood in the church that Whitney Houston enjoyed him telling her when they worked together including him “drinking grape juice” in the back of the church.

He laughed: “I can see her as a skinny girl running around this place, using her smile to get out of trouble and Cissy having enough of it. Whitney said she was waiting no whisper, her mother Cissy and cousin Dionne.

“As I’m sure of Whitney’s place in musical history. I’m also sure of how she felt about her mother. Was she good enough. Could I have done better. Did they really like me or were they just being polite because they’re scared of you Cissy?”

The actor spoke about how there was initial anxiety about Whitney Houston, a black woman, to play alongside Kevin Costner.

He said that there was a sigh of relief when it turned out that Whitney Houston was going to be able to do The Bodyguard because she was going to be one tour. But Kevin Costner said he would wait a year for so she would be available.

“Whitney was nervous and scared that she wasn’t good enough for the role. But I told her I would be with her every step of the way.

“I wanted to tell her that the fame was rigged. That I didn’t care how the test went, that she could fall down and start speaking in tongues. That somehow it was a kind of acting method.

“The Whitney I knew despite her worldwide fame always worried. Am I good enough. Am I pretty enough. Will they like me. The part that made her great and the part that made her great was also the part that made her stumble.

“A lot of men could have played my role. But you Whitney were the only person who could have played Rachel Marron. People didn’t just like you Whitney. They loved you. I was your pretend bodyguard once. And now you’re gone too soon.

“What you did was the rarest of achievements. You set the bar so high. That your colleagues don’t even sing that little country song. What’s the point.

“I think Whitney would tell you, little girls wanting to become singers. Guard your bodies and guard the precious miracle you have.”

Fighting back tears Kevin Costner said: “Off you go Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. When you sing before him. Don’t you worry. You will be good enough.”

Singer Alicia Keys was next to perform and, introducing her Dionne Warwick said she was “a young lady that Whitney adored”.

Alicia Keys was tearful as she walked to the piano and spoke about her friendship with the singer.

“We called each other Meema. She was such a beautiful human being. Call you for no reason at all but just to say hi. And that’s rare I think sometimes.

“I feel like in so many ways she reached back to me and to Michael and Brandy and Jordin and all these young artists and made us feel strong and capable and loved. I think she is an angel to us. She has been an angel to us.”

Alicia Keys then sang a medley of songs on the piano starting with Send Me An Angel, changing the lyrics to Whitney is an Angel.

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A group of indomitable and infamous pageant moms have been given the beauty queen treatment, transforming them into adult-sized versions of their daughters on Anderson Cooper show.

Anderson Cooper and his team have taken TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras’ four most famous mothers and given them pageant makeovers – even going as far as dressing them in copycat outfits to mimic their daughters’ favorite competition costumes.

The results, while hilarious, are an attempt by Anderson Cooper to encourage the controversial women to think differently about dressing their young girls up and asking them to perform in the revealing outfits and make-up.

Six-year-old Alana Thompson, aka Honey Boo Boo Child, looked like a miniature version of her mother, June Shannon, from McIntyre, Georgia.

June Shannon, the self-proclaimed “Coupon Queen”, said she found the corset a little tight, but apart from that she was determined to see the humorous side of the get-up, echoing the mothers’ attitudes towards the pageant world as a whole.

“We have had a blast,” June Shannon said of the day at the studio.

“This is something we’ll laugh about for years to come. This is fun, this is all about having fun.”

A group of indomitable and infamous pageant moms have been given the beauty queen treatment, transforming them into adult-sized versions of their daughters on Anderson Cooper show

A group of indomitable and infamous pageant moms have been given the beauty queen treatment, transforming them into adult-sized versions of their daughters on Anderson Cooper show

When questioned ether the outfit may make her change her philosophy towards child beauty pageants, it became clear the embarrassing makeover experience had made no impact.

“I don’t rethink any decision that I’ve made for my daughter as far as pageants,” June Shannon said.

“This was all in fun for us today, yeah, the corset is a little tight. With her, she enjoys doing it, so we are going to continue doing it.”

June Shannon insists on the programme, airing Thursday, February 16, that the highly criticized pageant world is nothing more than a sport.

“To us women who do it everyday it is a sport. Alana, she loves doing it, she’s not into the basketball or the baseball or anything like that.”

When asked whether she had indulged in any “GoGo Juice” – the caffeine-heavy mix of Red Bull and Mountain Dew she famously uses to energize her child – the larger-than-life June Shannon pointed out that Anderson Cooper and the audience had drunk it all. Indeed, at one point, the host takes a swig from a bottle and declares that the potent mix is “very sweet”.

“I don’t give her GoGo Juice everyday of the week,” explains June Shannon.

“Sometimes I don’t give it to her at pageants at all, we may use another remedy that day which may be pixie sticks or candy or just a regular caffeinated drink.”

The mother of eight-year-old Laci was a little less enamored with her Lady Gaga costume. The tiny electric blue spandex number was a touch on the revealing side for the mother-of-three Alicia, whose daughter’s verdict of the outfit was simply: “Weird.”

Anderson Cooper suggested that the audience had found the diminutive outfit “surprising” for such a young child, but the mom disagreed.

“Not at all. I mean, she doesn’t have anything, it’s different for children, it’s not showing anything, it’s a swimsuit for her.”

Happily for the mothers, there is another team of parents – namely, Lifetime’s Dance Moms – who are perhaps even more eyebrow-raising than they.

“They are worse than us, they make us look really good” said June Shannon, while Kayla, who famously encouraged her daughter to diet and lose 10 pounds, said of the Dance Moms: “I think they are mean, they seem mean-hearted.”

Speaking about eight-year-old EverRose’s diet, Kayla said she simply did not want her children to ever reach the weight of 300 pounds – as she once had.

“Obviously it does look like my child lost ten pounds in a couple of weeks,” the mother said of TLC’s editing.

“If I could do that I would bottle it, I would sell it and I would be a millionaire. Also, I would be skinny too.

“We watch what we eat all the time, not just a couple of weeks… Ten pounds she probably put on over the summer because she did not do as much activity. She takes dance, gymnastic and cheer. Over the summer that usually stops, so she was a little more sitting around. So she probably easily put that on over the summer.”

Kayla explains that she aims to teach her children to be as conscious of diet and exercise as they can be so that they do not have to deal with the bullying caused by obesity.

“I have four children and I want them all to not live the things that I have lived, as we all have experienced things in our lives that we don’t want our children to deal with,” Kayla emotionally revealed.

A preschool girl from North Carolina was told her homemade meal consisting of turkey and cheese sandwich wasn’t healthy enough – so West Hoke Elementary School cafeteria monitor made her eat chicken nuggets instead.

The rejected meal consisted of a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, with a side of a banana, potato chips, and apple juice.

“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother, who wished to remain anonymous, told a local newspaper.

“I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”

A preschool girl from North Carolina was told her homemade meal consisting of turkey and cheese sandwich wasn't healthy enough

A preschool girl from North Carolina was told her homemade meal consisting of turkey and cheese sandwich wasn't healthy enough

The Department of Health and Human Services requires students to eat lunches that consist of meat, milk, grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables.

It isn’t clear what the entire meal that the cafeteria at West Hoke Elementary School consisted of, but all that the picky four-year-old girl ate were the chicken nuggets.

The mother still wonders what it was exactly that disqualified her meal, and she expects that the bag of potato chips were potentially the problem.

That said, Jani Kozlowski, the spokesperson from the DHHS children’s division said that the meal sounds like it would have passed the federal guidelines test.

“With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that’s the dairy,” Jani Kozlowski told The Carolina Journal.

“It sounds like the lunch itself would’ve met all of the standards,” she said, not having worked with the school in question herself.

On top of the wasted food that was sent home with the little girl at the end of the day was a $1.25 bill for the “healthy” school lunch.

“I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a letter to her state representative.


British naturopath and nutritionist Max Tomlinson teaches us how to fight against the stubborn fat deposits in his new book, “Target Your Fat Spots: How To Banish Your Bulges”.

For the past 25 years, Max Tomlinson is been running a successful fat spot reduction programme at his London clinic, targeting what he calls the “weird, disproportionate fat deposits” that frustrate so many of his clients.

Max Tomlinson says: “I see young women who have tried rigorous diets and exercise regimes to get rid of a big bottom, only to lose weight from their chests and faces, and menopausal women who tend to accumulate fat on their stomachs and under their upper arms as they age.”

He believes the reason fat gets laid down in specific areas is often hormonal.

“A multitude of processes in the body are co-ordinated by hormones, and hormones govern where we store fat,” naturopath says.

Problems arise because many of us live in a state of hormonal imbalance caused by poor diet, stress, environmental pollution and lack of effective exercise.

British naturopath and nutritionist Max Tomlinson teaches us how to fight against the stubborn fat deposits in his new book

British naturopath and nutritionist Max Tomlinson teaches us how to fight against the stubborn fat deposits in his new book

Max Tomlinson believes that each fat spot (whether it’s stomach fat, the bra-bulge kind, big thighs and bottom fat or “bingo wings”) is caused by the action or inaction of a specific hormone.

By correcting your own personal hormonal imbalance through targeted diet, exercise, supplements and lifestyle changes, he is convinced you can shift those stubborn fat spots.

Max Tomlinson recommends a healthy Mediterranean-style diet (fruit, vegetables, fish, a little meat, healthy oils, but no sugar, junk food and little dairy or alcohol), a daily multi-vitamin and mineral and fish oil capsule, and a programme of regular exercise.

But then the advice for each troublesome fat spot is very specifically tailored to redress the hormonal imbalance that might be causing it.

Here is an extract from his book, in which Max Tomlinson shows you how to zap those problem areas.


Fat bulging over the back and sides of your jeans could be a sign of a problem with the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels and can lead to unsightly deposits of fat above the hips.

A sugary diet forces the body to pump out insulin (to move the sugar out of the bloodstream). But over time, if sugar intake remains high, the cells can stop responding correctly, causing more insulin to be released, excess glucose to build up in the bloodstream and stubborn areas of unsightly fat are laid down.

ACTION PLAN: To calm insulin production and trim “love handles” you need to manage the sugars and carbohydrates in your diet. So stick to a Mediterranean diet and avoid sugar and quick-burn foods (alcohol, white bread, biscuits, cakes, chips, crisps, processed sweetened breakfast cereals, rice, sweets and fizzy drinks).

Eat foods rich in antioxidants (this helps prevent damage from free radicals and reduces insulin resistance) such as cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, fresh herbs, chilli, cranberries, blueberries, broccoli and green tea.

In addition to multi-vitamins and fish oils, consider supplements in the form of chromium (great for controlling blood sugar levels), magnesium, zinc (helps insulin bind to receptors in cells) and glucomannan fibre in water which improves blood-glucose control and reduces cholesterol levels.


Fat that bulges out of the sides of your bra could be a sign of a sluggish thyroid. This gland governs the rate at which you burn calories from food. Low thyroid function can cause bra-bulge fat as well as stubborn overall weight gain, fatigue and depression.

ACTION PLAN: Certain raw foods can interfere with the correct functioning of the thyroid gland, so limit intake of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, swede, turnips, peaches, soya bean products, spinach and strawberries. But cooking these foods appears to deactivate the bad compounds.

Boost your intake of iodine and selenium to support your thyroid by eating Brazil nuts, brown rice, garlic, kelp, liver, onions, salmon, tuna, wheatgerm and wholegrains.

And relax – the stress hormone cortisol can alter thyroid function. Also, use fluoride-free toothpaste as fluoride can mimic the action of one of the thyroid hormones.


Fat accumulation on the underside of your upper arms can be due to falling testosterone levels as women reach middle age. Boosting testosterone levels can, along with targeted exercise, help to restore shape to the arms.

ACTION PLAN: Have more sex! Falling in love increases your testosterone levels and regular sex sends out signals to the body to make more of the hormone.

Ensure you’re getting enough sleep to maximize testosterone production.

Relax and de-stress – stress suppresses testosterone production.

Lack of exercise suppresses testosterone levels, too, but weight-bearing workouts (such as weight-lifting) cause muscles to signal the cells for more energy and to request more testosterone.

Cut sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet as high blood sugar levels decrease testosterone production, but don’t starve yourself – long-term calorie restriction can further deplete levels of the hormone.

Boost your intake of healthy fats – found in oily fish such as salmon, linseed and avocados – which are required for testosterone production.


The female hormone oestrogen promotes fat storage around the top of the legs, and many of us are exposed to high levels of both natural (in water and farmed meat) and synthetic oestrogens (chemicals in plastics and non-stick coatings) in the environment.

ACTION PLAN: Eat more fruit, vegetables and wholegrains as they contain special substances which bind to, and help excrete, excess oestrogen.

Cut down on alcohol, painkillers and drinks laden with chemical preservatives and colouring agents as these hamper the liver’s efforts to clear excess oestrogens.

Eat live natural yogurt to boost the friendly bacteria in your gut which help clear oestrogen via the gastrointestinal tract. And cut back on coffee. A study found that the caffeine in more than two cups per day can trigger the release of higher oestrogen levels in women.


A paunch may indicate a problem with the adrenal glands and over-production of the hormone cortisol. Unmanaged long-term stress causes the body to produce too much cortisol which can raise blood glucose levels. This, in turn, triggers the release of insulin, which instructs the body to store excess glucose as stubborn deposits of fat around the stomach.

The main dietary culprit is too many sugar-based calories especially in the form of alcohol and refined (white) grains and flours.

ACTION PLAN: Relax – anything that helps you to unwind reduces stress levels and breaks the hormonal cycle that is causing your body to lay down belly fat. Studies show that rest will also decrease cravings for calorie-dense foods.

Keep blood glucose levels stable in the face of stress-induced cortisol surges. Increase consumption of slow-burn, low-GI foods (wholegrains, vegetables, pulses, fish and meat) and cut out high-GI foods (processed foods, cereals, sugar, dairy products, dried fruit, beer, wine, fruit juice and coffee).

Moderate exercise can reduce stress, but don’t over do it.

One person wondered what would happen to a host of items that ranged from eggs and tomatoes to music CDs and light bulbs if they are put in a microwave.

The video of the experiment was uploaded onto YouTube and reveals the devastating effect once the microwave was switched on.

Amongst the items that were quick to burst were an egg, a tomato and a limes.

Unsurprisingly, a watermelon proved more resilient, yet a bottle of beer also shattered to its core.

A number of items caught fire including a light bulb, a CD, a carton of juice and some tin foil.

Despite the frivolous footage, doctors having previously warned of the dangers of exploding items leading to serious injuries.

One person wondered what would happen to a host of items that ranged from eggs and tomatoes to music CDs and light bulbs if they are put in a microwave

One person wondered what would happen to a host of items that ranged from eggs and tomatoes to music CDs and light bulbs if they are put in a microwave

In April, 2004, a 9-year-old girl who was left temporarily blind after being hit in the face by an exploding egg was highlighted by eye experts.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, experts said warnings about the risks of heating eggs in their shells in the microwave should be made more obvious, perhaps being displayed on the oven itself.

The ophthalmologists from Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, Kent, and King’s College Hospital in London said exploding microwaved eggs or eggshells had caused facial, eyelid and corneal burns of varying severity.

They pointed out that even eggs out of their shell with pierced yolks could explode when microwaved.

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The latest shocking revelation from TLC’s controversial reality show Toddlers & Tiaras, which tracks the bizarre world of U.S. child beauty pageants, was aired yesterday, when a pageant mother described the means they use to get their children ready for the stage.

Alana Holler, 6, and her mother June, from McIntyre, Georgia, are the subjects of this week’s show.

June Holler, a self-proclaimed “Coupon Queen” told producers that she has tried various products to excite her daughter, including feeding her with Pixie Stix – tubes of powdered sugar referred to as “pageant crack” – but an unidentified “special juice” is her new secret weapon.

The mother says: “We had tried Pixie Stix… We went through fifteen bags at one pageant, and it just don’t do anything for her.”

With the sugared sticks failing to boost her child’s energy levels, June Holler resorted to making her own liquid concoction.

“A lot of pageant moms and people know what the <<special juice>> is – everybody has their different concoctions, <<special juice>> is to help her energize her.”

“A lot of moms say, <<Oh, well you’re doping up your child>>, well hey, no I’m not. I’m not hurting her”, June Holler continued.

“…She just drinks it for pageants, to give her that extra <<oomph>>. So, whatever works for your child, use it.”

A bystander explains: “They want their child to stand out, so you’ve got those moms that are going to do whatever is necessary to put their child in that light.”

June Holler told producers that she has tried various products to excite her daughter Alana, including feeding her with Pixie Stix, but an unidentified “special juice” is her new secret weapon

June Holler told producers that she has tried various products to excite her daughter Alana, including feeding her with Pixie Stix, but an unidentified “special juice” is her new secret weapon

No matter how safe June Holler claims her daughter’s “special” drink is, viewers have voiced their concern about its effects on the youngster’s behaviour.

No brand names are mentioned on the show, but many have speculated that the drink is Mountain Dew, a caffeinated soft drink. Others believe it even contains alcohol.

June Holler is filmed instructing Alana to take “two big gulps” from an unlabelled drinks bottle. Within seconds the change is apparent.

The young pageant contestant starts rapidly swinging her arms over her head and spinning around on the floor, exclaiming: “My go-go juice is kicking in right now!”

After her drink fix, Alana Holler takes to the stage in a plaid shirt displaying inches of stomach to perform a routine, inspired by sex symbol Daisy Duke.

Describing how the drink makes her feel, Alana Holler says smiling: “Go-go juice makes me laughy, and play-ey, and makes me feel like I want to pull my mommy’s hair.”

It seems Alana Holler is already a spirited child though. She has a bizarre speaking manner that is at once precocious and incoherent.

Alana Holler tells the camera: “Those other girls must be crazy if they think they’re gonna beat me, honey boo boo child!”

The 6-year-old girl reveals that she wants to win pageant to make money because “a dollar makes me holler, honey boo boo!”

But Alana Holler is not entirely enthusiastic about the pageant experience. She says: “Beauty is so boring, I don’t want to do it.”

The mother’s enthusiasm is more than evident though. As her daughter takes to the stage, she is filmed yelling encouragement, and instructing dance moves.

When she is not accompanying her daughter on the pageant circuit, June Holler says she spends her time collecting money-saving coupons and stockpiling hundreds of household products – a pursuit her daughter claims she wants to follow.

Footage taken inside the family home reveals rooms stocked with hundreds of items ranging from toilet paper to rolls of aluminium foil.

Toddlers & Tiaras show has caused outcry with many who believe that it could influence youngsters to adopt inappropriate behaviour and campaigners set up a Facebook group, “Take <<Toddlers And Tiaras>> off the Air!” in a bid to have the plug pulled on the show.

Previous series have featured children as young as three, emulating inappropriate characters including a prostitute from Pretty Woman and buxom country singer Dolly Parton.

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How to lose weight in a healthy way


Weight loss is not easy as part of a busy life. Healthy eating isn’t always possible if you are on the move constantly. Neither is fitting 2 hours in the gym everyday however if you can make sure to get some whey protein at www.hollandandbarrett. So, every bit of assistance in weight loss helps. That’s where acai berry supplements come into play.

This is an all natural supplement to your daily diet that assists in weight loss. This herbal remedy is a safe way of aiding weight loss. It is high in anti-oxidants, so it also cleanses the digestive system. The berry comes from the Amazon and has a long history with the tribes, who used it for its numerous benefits. The anti-oxidants boost vitality which is very beneficial to weight loss, as you’re more likely to be active in today’s world. The berry has essential fatty acids, amino acids and phytosterols that can improve your metabolism.

The acai berry supplement is often used in conjunction with colonic therapies to enhance the digestive system. This aids weight loss by removing any build ups within the intestines and allowing quicker, more efficient absorption of all the necessary nutrients. The acai berry is also renowned to reduce the appetite making it less likely that a chocolate binge will occur.

The acai berry can be purchased in many forms, from fresh or juice to supplement form. However, it can be expensive, so shop around before you buy. The acai berry needs to be taken, eaten or even drunk as part of a balanced diet. The acai berry alone won’t aid in weight loss, it has to be teamed with a calorie controlled diet and daily exercise.

 The acai berry can also have benefits for mental health as it increases energy and vitality, which can help ward off stress and help to keep a psychologically healthy mind.

Each year, before Halloween, a house from Sunshine State, California is covered by its owner with a series of lights that flash spooky faces which in turn sing classic songs with a Halloween twist.

A video which shows the Sunshine State house prepared for Halloween has become an internet sensation and has already amassed over 690,000 views on YouTube.

The Halloween house owners use tombstones, hand carved pumpkins, strobes, floods and thousands of lights to create an incredible light show set to the tunes of the LMFAO hit pop song Party Rock Anthem.

The Halloween house owners use tombstones, hand carved pumpkins, strobes, floods and thousands of lights to create an incredible light show set to the tunes of the LMFAO hit pop song Party Rock Anthem

The Halloween house owners use tombstones, hand carved pumpkins, strobes, floods and thousands of lights to create an incredible light show set to the tunes of the LMFAO hit pop song Party Rock Anthem

Furthermore, it features four large, moving pumpkin faces on the top level that has given wowed audiences a singing light performance for the past three years.

Last year, the house owner decked his home in the same lights to create an entertaining version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.

In the previous years the owner has made videos set in time to Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice and Bobby Boris Pickett’s “Monster Mash”.

The house was also decorated for Halloween with four singing pumpkin faces, tombstones, hand carved pumpkins, strobes, floods and thousands of lights it really is quite a sight – with not an inflatable snowman anywhere to be seen.

The creator comments on YouTube were: “Most all lights have been changed from incandescent to RGB LED so power consumption is a lot less than previous years.

“All lights, faces and props are custom made (DIY) by me except for the roof line which are CCRs. Controlling channels have gone up 8X from last year. 1144 channels. Light-O-Rama.”

The house yard lawn is also littered with pumpkins and other decorations that add to the show.

A survey has revealed today that Halloween is now the second most popular family occasion behind Christmas with parents spending more than $150 on parties for their children this year.

The survey results show that Halloween came in ahead of other traditional family occasions including Easter, Bonfire Night and even beat childrens’ birthday parties.

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A weekly intake of a minimum 45 grams (1.6 ounces) of chocolate containing at least 30% of cocoa, or dark chocolate, is linked to a lower stroke incidence in women, showed a study.


The study was led by Susanna C. Larsson, PhD, of Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

We followed 33,000 women over the course of 10 years, and we found that those who ate most chocolate had a much lower risk – 20 per cent lower – of suffering a stroke,” she said.

The study, performed by Susanna Larsson, Jarmo Virtamo, and Alicja Wolk, was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In 1997, 33,372 women, age 49 to 83 years, were enrolled and followed up around 10.4 years. The subjects completed questionnaires about their diet and lifestyle.


Dark chocolate

Apparently eating 66.5 grams (2.35 ounces) of chocolate a week protects women against stroke.


There were 1,549 strokes over the following ten years, 1,200 cerebral infarctions (a blood vessel in the brain is blocked, starving an area of the brain of blood), 224 hemorrhagic strokes (bleeding in the brain), and 125 unspecified strokes. Among the persons with more 45 grams (1.6 ounces) dark chocolate intake per week, there were 2.5 strokes per 1,000 women per year. In the same time there were 7.8 strokes per 1,000 women among those with less than 8.9 grams (0.31 ounces) a week intake. A stronger association, not explained yet, was observed for hemorrhagic stroke than for cerebral infarction (ischemic stroke). Only women with chocolate consumption around 66.5 g (2.35 ounces)/week had a significantly reduced risk of stroke. The study does not point out the type of chocolate eaten by the women, but mention that in the 1990s around 90% of chocolate in Sweden was milk chocolate, containing about 30% cocoa solids.

Cocoa contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and can suppress oxidation of low-density lipoprotein which can cause cardiovascular disease,” said Professor Larsson.

In the United States there are around 800,000 strokes every year. Among them, one of six dies and lots remain disabled. Antihypertensive drugs (medicine to lower high blood pressure), quitting smoking, adequate exercise, and healthy diet are the remedies doctors recommend. The chocolate, even dark chocolate, is not included.


The beneficial effects of dark chocolate on human health were highlighted over the years.


There are data which show that dark chocolate might be beneficial to the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in mild high blood pressure cases. Dark chocolate also has been demonstrated to improve endothelial and platelet function (preventing blood clots, chest pain and heart attack) and to ameliorate insulin resistance. Flavonoids contained in dark chocolate have strong antioxidant activity and can prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad cholesterol), lowering the risk of atherosclerosis (stiff and clogged arteries).

Mary Engler of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues, found that around 45 grams (1.6 ounces) a day of dark chocolate can keep blood vessel elastic and healthy. The dark chocolate (high-cocoa content) contains epicatechin. Epicatechin is a particularly active plant flavonoid. Flavonoids prevent cholesterol from gathering in blood vessels and reduce the risk of blood clots. The study used Dove dark chocolate for two weeks and was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Mary Engler previously reported the results at the 2002 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association and at the Experimental Biology 2003 meeting.

Another study published in the Journal of Proteome Research and conducted by researchers at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, showed that eating about 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduce stress. Half of the chocolate was eaten mid-morning and the other half was eaten mid-afternoon. The scientists found that high levels of stress hormone, cortisol, and the fight-or-flight hormones (catecholamines, adrenaline) present in highly stressed, anxious people were reduce by dark chocolate. Dark chocolate partially normalized stress-related differences in energy metabolism and microbial activity in the gut (microbiota).

Regarding the amount of anti-oxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa are better than pomegranate, cranberry, or blueberry juice, fruit powder mixes, a study conducted by the Hershey Company has showed. Polyphenols, organic molecules contained in dark chocolate, could maintain arteries smooth and lower risk of heart disease.

A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed cocoa powder, baking chocolate and dark chocolate have between 14.1 to 18.5 micrograms of resveratrol (antioxidant) per serving (average California red wine contains 832 micrograms per glass).

Dark chocolate with minimum 60-85% cocoa content could prevent sunburns, showed an experiment conducted by researchers from Laval University in Quebec City (Canada) among women with sensitive skin. They ate three squares of dark chocolate a day for twelve weeks. The polyphenol ensure good oxygenation and blood supply to the skin surface, which could explain the protective effect of cocoa.

Cambridge University researchers have demonstrated that regular consumption of dark chocolate could reduce the risk of heart disease by a third. Other study said dark chocolate could be as good as exercise for human health.

Researchers from the United Kingdom and Colombia made a meta-analysis on 7 studies (the link between chocolate and  heart disease) that included 114,009 people. The results were released in the British Medical Journal. Dark chocolate could lower heart disease and stroke by 37%.


Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate appears to have beneficial effects on heart, blood vessels, brain, skin, mood, stress, metabolism, gut microbiota.


On the other hand, over-eating sweets and chocolate, even dark chocolate, might have no or opposite effects.


Chocolate contains a lot of sugar and fat, and caffeine. The persons with diabetes, other metabolic diseases, prone to irregular heartbeats, palpitation or high blood pressure, have to be very careful concerning the chocolate intake. They should read the product label and the ingredients.

Previous research has suggested that dark chocolate can increase levels of good cholesterol and decrease blood pressure, both of which can reduce your risk of stroke. However, it’s very hard to say whether this is true of all types of chocolate and it’s difficult to determine whether the reduced stroke incidence found in this study is directly linked to the amount of chocolate consumed. A lot more research is needed,” said Dr Sharlin Ahmed, of The Stroke Association.

Given the observational design of the study, findings of this study cannot prove that it’s chocolate that lowers the risk of stroke. Chocolate should be consumed in moderation as it is high in calories, fat and sugar. As dark chocolate contains more cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate, consumption of dark chocolate would be more beneficial,” wrote Professor Larsson.

It’s important to keep findings like these in context. These findings don’t mean that people need to exchange chocolate for broccoli in their diet. Chocolate does have antioxidants, and antioxidants are beneficial for your health. They can help make your arteries more flexible and they can help you resist the oxidation of cholesterol. But, what if they had tried this study with apple skins or grapes? There’s an upside and a downside to everything. I don’t think people should eat all the chocolate they can, but some chocolate in moderation can have some benefit,” said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, cardiologist, of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Like in more other situations the moderation is the key. However, more studies are required to specify the exactly percent of cocoa (Theobroma cacao seeds) content in the dark chocolate needed to stroke or heart disease prevention, and also the effect on male’s health.