Confectionery giant Mars Inc says it will stop selling chocolate bars with more than 250 calories by the end of next year.
The company behind some of the nation’s favourite chocolate, including Bounty, Galaxy and Twix, said it will be ditching its super-size bars such as the 540-calorie king-size Snickers as part of its “broad-based commitment to health and nutrition”.
But don’t be fooled into grabbing a Twix and assuming you’re under your chocolate calorie quota for the day. The calorie cap applies to individual portions of chocolate only (classed as a single ‘serving’ on the packaging nutrition labels) so twin packs will still send you over the 250-calorie mark if you scoff both bars.
Large ‘family’ bars are also exempt from the rule as they are designed to be shared by more than one person, a Mars spokesperson explained.
The manufacturer also vowed to eliminate trans fats from its products and aims to reduce sodium by 2015 by 25% from its 2007 levels.
A spokesman said: “We believe that all of our products can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet.
“Our commitment to making all our chocolate products no more than 250 calories per portion reflects this.”
If you fancy a Friday chocolate treat without sabotaging your calorie count, find out which of the Mars chocolate bars will do the least damage to your waistline - as well as the worst offenders:
Milky Way (26g bar): 117 calories
Maltesers (37g bar): 187 calories
Mars Bar (58g bar): 260 calories
Bounty (57g twin pack) 270 calories
Snickers (58.7g bar) 280 calories
Twix (58g twin pack) 284 calories
And remember, chocolate does have health benefits - though probably not in the form of a king-size Snickers...
Eating dark chocolate could help control diabetes and blood pressure, according to an Italian study. Researchers found that eating 100g of dark chocolate each day for 15 days lowered blood pressure. The same study found that chocolate improved the body's ability to metabolise sugar.
Chocolate is packed with antioxidants, which protect the body from environmental stress. In fact, ounce for ounce, the sweet stuff contains more antioxidants, than blueberries and green tea.
Chocolate is a rich source of magnesium, which may help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. It also contains iron and potassium, linked to a reduced risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Although it is frequently lumped in the same category as cakes and pastries, when it comes to sugar content, dark chocolate surprisingly has a low glycemic index which means it won't send your blood sugar levels soaring then crashing.
Chocolate contains a compound, Phenylethylamine (PEA) that releases feelgood chemicals called endorphins in the brain. The same chemicals are released when you fall in love. Another benefit: man replacement?