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The Executive Director of Newstart For Health, Oheneba Ntim-Barima, has faulted the National Chocolate Day instituted by the government two years ago to encourage more Ghanaians to consume the product. Contrary to claims by Government that the consumption of the product would promote good health among the populace, Mr. Ntim-Barima said it would quicken their journey to the grave, adding, “It is going to kill our people”.
Addressing a fully packed auditorium of the Ghana International Trade Fair last Saturday at a health crusade, the Director of Newstart For Health explained that the chocolate being sold on the local market contains only 35% of solid cocoa,” while the other 65% is made up of chemicals that militate against good healty.Instead of the National Chocolate Day, he expected government to make it a National Cocoa Day when the citizenry would be encouraged to consume as much as possible of the bean in its natural form. He added, even though chocolate was made from cocoa, “it loses its potency when chemicals are added to it.”
In the same vein, he condemned the mass consumption of iodine through the promotion of iodated salt concept. According to him, too much of everything is bad. He explained that, although iodine was necessary for a healthy life, not everyone needed supplements through the consumption of the iodated salt. He said iodine could be found in see weeds, vegetables, mushrooms and even breast milk. He therefore, warned the government of a possible showdown, if it went ahead to make the consumption of the iodated salt compulsory. “Some of us don’t need iodated salt and will continue to take in ‘Ada salt,” he warned.
Ntim-Barima urged Ghanaians to desist from the eating of fast foods, which have become the norm now. He said studies had shown that diseases such as hypertension, diabetes such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disorders were due to the western lifestyles acquired by Ghanaians in recent times. He urged the participants and Ghanaians in general to revert to the olden days when “our fore fathers ate fresh fruits and vegetables and exercised a lot by walking long distances to their farms.Dr. Abdul-Samed Tanko, cardiologist at the National Cardio thoracic Centre, Korle Bu, corroborated Ntim-Barima’s arguments. Dr. Tanko bemoaned the low cocoa content in the chocolates being promoted by the government, whereas those sold in Belgium “contain as high as 65% solid cocoa though Belgium does not produce cocoa”.
He also attributed most of the heart problems in the country to unhealthy lifestyles. He prescribed the consumption of locally grown foodstuffs, which, he said, were more nutritious than the imported beef burgers. He further urged Ghanaians to check their drinking and smoking habits and to exercise regularly.
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