Blog: The kind of headline that makes me groan

Catherine Sleep | 23 November 2004

“Chocolate could be cough medicine”, dangles BBC Online tantalisingly before readers’ eyes today, introducing a story about theobromine, an ingredient in chocolate that might, just might, ease coughing.

Goodbye coughing, hello obesity! How about looking for other foods that contain theobromine? Oh and by the way, theobromine is thought to be a diuretic, so while your coughing might be eased you might also experience other less desirable side effects.

Of course, if you read the whole article, none of the expert sources quoted recommend self-medicating with chocolate, but the way it is presented implies that this is a reasonable outcome. Not helpful!

UPDATE: Nipped to the Post Office at lunchtime and sure enough the wheezy elderly gentleman queuing in front of me assured the counter staff that he'd soon be rid of his cough as he'd just heard on the news that chocolate was far better than cough medicine.... some people do believe what they hear on TV, you see.

Chocolate could be cough medicine


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