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Choate helped jump-start awareness of the nutritional content of processed food in the American diet when, at a well-publicized appearance before the U.S. Congress in 1970, he testified that 40 of the 60 leading breakfast cereals were essentially empty calories.The cereal industry attacked him as a non-scientist who made a faulty analysis of the cereals, but within a few years it boosted the vitamin and mineral content of many of its products.

Choate was a civil engineer in the southwestern United States who decided, while recuperating from hepatitis, to dedicate his life to social justice, especially the relief of hunger and malnutrition. He later moved to California where he founded a nonprofit organization to encourage college students to volunteer for civic service.

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