Latests Questions Answered

By John Robbins

The food police may find this hard to take, but chocolate has gotten a bad rap. People say it causes acne, that you should eat carob instead, that it’s junk food. But these accusations are not only undeserved and inaccurate, they falsely incriminate a delicious food that turns out to have profoundly important healing powers.

There is in fact a growing body of credible scientific evidence that chocolate contains a host of heart-healthy and mood-enhancing phytochemicals, with benefits to both body and mind.

For one, chocolate is a plentiful source of antioxidants. These are substances that reduce the ongoing cellular and arterial damage caused by oxidative reactions.

You may have heard of a type of antioxidants called polyphenols. These are protective chemicals found in plant foods such as red wine and green tea. Chocolate, it turns out, is particularly rich in polyphenols. According to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the same antioxidant properties found in red wine that protect against heart disease are also found in comparable quantities in chocolate.

Dear John,

The kind of lifestyle you advocate isn’t just Spartan, it’s downright masochistic. Your way of life seems more like a prison to me. It’s only for the Amish, or others who make self-denial into a lifestyle. I think people like you are crazy.


Dear John,

You people who say that we would all be more peaceful if we ate a vegetarian diet always seem to forget that Adolph Hitler was a vegetarian. That pretty well destroys your belief system, doesn’t it?


Dear John,

I’ve heard you on the radio today, and was surprised that you seemed so down on TV. You seemed to be saying that the more TV children watch, the more likely they will become violent. But don’t you think fantasizing about aggression might let off steam and function as an outlet for them, and actually lessen the chance they will act out their aggressions?

I know most of the programming is basically for idiots, but don’t you think there’s some value in the better shows?

What did you do with you son? Did you let him watch TV?


Dear John,

Is anybody doing anything to change the food in schools? It’s terrible. Last week I took my 8-year-old to a school picnic. It was a lovely day, but they served bologna and cheese sandwiches on white bread, with mayonnaise. Plus Oreo cookies and ice cream. And, of course, enormous plastic jugs of Coke. In class, pupils earn credits for good behavior, which they can use to get candy and Cokes.