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Your Valentine's Day buzz kill

February 14, 2013|By Alexandra Le Tellier
(Los Angeles Times )

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you’re in a relationship, you can rejoice in knowing that married couples are not only healthier, but research also shows that they live longer than their single peers.

But if you’re single, you can take pleasure instead in knowing that there’s nothing healthy about most Valentine’s Day chocolate -- and lucky for you, you don’t have to consume any of it! And that in and of itself could make you healthier, provided that you don’t wallow in a pint of ice cream instead.

Photos: Valentine's Day

“About two-thirds of the money spent for today is on food, and an astonishing amount of that food is straight up candy. In fact, we spend more on candy than flowers and cards combined,” writes the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson in a post that breaks down how Americans spend on this $20-billion holiday.

That means a lot of people are eating a whole lot of high-fructose corn syrup.

In a Grist article that will kill your sugar buzz, “Your Valentine’s Day Chocolate Is Mostly Corn,” Rebecca Leber and Aviva Shen write that “on a typical Valentine’s Day, consumers buy more than 58 million pounds of chocolate. Since 70 percent of that chocolate is owned by two companies, Hershey and Mars, most of it was actually processed from genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans.”

Thought the jury’s still out on whether genetically modified food is harmful, we do know that processed foods -- especially ones containing high-fructose corn syrup -- can be detrimental to our health.

Grist’s writers also warn: “Milk chocolate is also likely to contain milk from cows injected with Monsanto’s hormone rBGH, which was banned in the European Union, Japan, Australia and Canada because of the risks associated with increased hormones in cows and humans.”

If this stomach-churning knowledge isn’t enough to kill your holiday-inspired appetite -- it’s only one day, after all, and sometimes heart-shaped beets just don’t cut it -- then this non-health-related stat should:

80% of the world’s cacao comes from West African operations where children are commonly used as slave labor.”

Feeling conflicted? If you’re single, be glad you don’t have to eat any junk today. Abstaining is not only good for your health, it’s also good for humanity.

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Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier

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