It seems only natural, then, that hot chocolate would be paired up with the boningest of holidays. (No, not Presidents' Day. The other one. Valentine's Day.) It took a good two centuries from the time of its Western discovery for British chocolatier J.S. Fry & Sons to develop a version of chocolate that didn't require a cup. It then took another decade for Richard Cadbury (of modern-day Cadbury Creme Egg fame) to arrange said solid chocolates in fancy boxes. They were an instant hit. Victorians, being huge fans of both fanciness and boxes, snatched them right up.
Fast-forward another seven years to 1868, and Cadbury finally produced the first heart-shaped box of chocolates, right in time for Valentine's Day. Today, Americans alone buy an estimated 40 million such boxes each year. Meanwhile, allegations of chocolate's sexual benefits are still as full of shit as they always were.
We Use Inferior White Sugar Because A Sugar Company Ran A Smear Campaign Against The Natural Stuff
Today's brown sugar is basically the over-refined white stuff with some molasses added back in. But did you know that sugar wasn't always white? Back when it was shipped in its raw form to England in big-ass barrels, sugar often arrived with the molasses content having oozed toward the bottom. Rather than attempting to redistribute the molasses, it was more feasible to refine the sugar -- a 32-step process that saps it not only of its brownness, but also of everything that makes it awesome. Whereas today's sugar can be described in one simple word (i.e. "sweet"), the sugar of yesteryear boasted an array of flavors that would make a pretentious sommelier stammer.
But why did white sugar become the norm? Surprisingly, it had nothing to do with racism. It's only because sugar giant Domino wanted it that way. Around the turn of the 20th century, Domino launched a media campaign featuring blown-up photos of the natural, harmless, but admittedly gross-looking microbes present in brown sugar. And the public, always down for a good ol' misinformed scare, almost immediately stopped buying it. Domino then rode to the pinnacle of the market atop a literal sugar high. And ever since, the world has been a bit less sweet and a lot more white. Ain't that always the way?
The Definition Of "Overweight" Was Refined To Benefit Food And Drug Companies
BMI is the two-digit number that medical professionals use to determine how expansive your ass is. Anything higher than 30 means you're obese, while anything in the 25-29 range means you're overweight. We'll leave the validity of the BMI itself aside for now -- after all, it's nothing but a formula calculated based on your height and weight. But who set that scale? Who decided that 25 was overweight, and not, say, 26 or 27?
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty ImagesThe scale clearly has some problems when The Rock fits comfortably into “obese.”
That would be the World Health Organization, and by extension, its International Obesity Task Force, headed up by one Professor Philip James. In 1997, following two years of study, the IOTF lowered the "overweight" cutoff to 25 from its previous value of 27. And do you know who financially backed the IOTF's study? Pharmaceutical companies Hoffmann-La Roche and Abbott Laboratories, producers of the weight loss drugs Xenical and Meridia, respectively. Now, for his part, James maintains that the drug companies didn't push any sort of agenda on him (they merely pushed him lots of checks for $200,000 apiece). Still, there's no denying that by shifting an arbitrary dot on an arbitrary scale, James expanded said companies' markets by millions of instantly overweight people.
Of course, none of this is saying that it's cool to burst right through the top of the body mass index like some sort of French-fry-powered rocket-person. We're simply saying that as a general rule, anyone attempting to define a human being in two digits or fewer probably has some ill intentions.
Dr. Claudio Buttice, Pharm.D., is a former hospital pharmacist who eventually grew bored being just a doctor and became a freelance medical writer. He's also a screenwriter and journalist who contributed to several magazines, such as The Ring of Fire, Digital Journal, Techopedia, and Business Insider -- and he managed to look cool every time. If you want to offer Dr. Buttice a writing gig or just want to throw money in his general direction, feel free to contact him at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.
The Overworked Person's Guide to Better Nutrition can help you by starting to sort all this craziness out.
And to further expand your noggin, check out Cracked's De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew.
It's loaded with facts about history, your body, and the world around you that your teachers didn't want you to know. And as a bonus? We've also included the kinkiest sex acts ever described in the Bible.