The 2015 documentary by BBC 1 on “saving Britain’s teeth” featured research from Birmingham and was screened at prime time 9.00pm. It was subsequently re-run in Sweden, providing international reach and impact for the School. January 2020 saw a further TV documentary on the health benefits of dark chocolate screened on Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped New Year special.
At the request of Channel 4, the Birmingham Team used laboratory and clinical research methods they had developed over many years, to investigate the health benefits of chocolate containing over 70% cocoa. The results were quite startling, clearly demonstrating that the powerful polyphenol antioxidant micronutrients within dark chocolate had ant-inflammatory properties. These were also detected in saliva following a warm chocolate rinse.
The challenge was getting a responsible health message out, which was not to eat foods containing refined simple sugars, but if you have to eat sweet foods, use dark chocolate, limit it to mealtimes, and don’t eat too much of it. Overall the messaging seemed to work and the programme has proved very popular in the public arena.