Thursday, July 13, 2006

In the news: Chocolate bar for PMS

From WaPo, a story about really clever marketing: it's a bar of rich Swiss chocolate that supposedly contains some stuff to ease PMS. Sounds like a license to print money. Snip:
It's a hunk of chocolate, designed specifically to alleviate the effects of premenstrual syndrome. (More than, say, a Snickers bar already does.) The irritability, the anxiety, the moodiness -- all of it is allegedly soothed by the Wonder Bar, at $3.69 a pop. As it says on the wrapper, 'Take sweet revenge on PMS, menopause & everyday cravings with this delicious Swiss chocolate, rose oil, herbs and soy.'

The concept, which is explained on the inside of the wrapper, is that the Wonder Bar is filled with PMS-fighting ingredients, including pure soy powder, flaxseed and something called Chaste Tree Berry. The latter, we are informed, "was shown to balance hormones." The soy and flaxseed contain "phytoestrogens," which according to the wrapper are similar to human estrogen and help balance hormones, "and thus help relieve the symptoms of PMS and menopause.

Kramer emphasizes that the Wonder Bar isn't touted as a cure-all. Which is wise, because it isn't hard to find doctors who are pretty skeptical that a woman with PMS can snack her way to peace of mind. Chaste Tree Berry has never been proved to work against PMS or menopause in any scientific study, says Edward Lichten, a gynecologist based in Birmingham, Mich., with 35 years of experience. And he adds that while ingredients like soy have been shown to help, you'd need to consume a whole lot of it before you felt any positive effects. Link.

The writer goes on to speculate about a male-oriented product with a similar angle: beer with anti-baldness properties.

Maybe. Or maybe I'll just have a little of that chocolate.

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