Many studies have shown compounds in dark chocolate can boost health, but the high fat content of many foods made with the sweet treat can cancel its beneficial effects. Now, food scientists have come up with a new way to make chocolate — using fruit juice — that they said can boost chocolate’s beneficial properties.
The technique, detailed at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans this week, produces chocolate with half the fat without compromising on taste or texture.
Stefan A. F. Bon, who led the research, said the technology would allow manufacture of chocolate with fruit juice, vitamin C water, or diet cola — replacing up to 50 percent of the fat. The juice is in the form of micro-bubbles that help chocolate retain the lush, velvety "mouth-feel" texture and also prevent "sugar bloom," the unappetizing white film that coats the surface of chocolate that has been on the shelf for too long.
"We have established the chemistry that's a starting point for healthier chocolate confectionary," Bon said. "This approach maintains the things that make chocolate 'chocolatey,' but with fruit juice instead of fat. Now we're hoping the food industry will take the next steps and use the technology to make tasty, lower-fat chocolate bars and other candy."
Chocolate contains high levels of healthful plant-based antioxidants and flavonoids. But a 2-ounce serving of premium dark chocolate may contain 13 grams of fat ― 20 percent of the total daily fat recommended for a person who eats 2,000 calories per day, Bon explained. But substituting fruit juice cuts the fat and the overall sugar content of the candy.
The technology works with dark, milk, and white chocolate. Bon's team at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom has made chocolate infused with apple, orange, and cranberry juice.
"Fruit-juice-infused candy tastes like an exciting hybrid between traditional chocolate and a chocolate-juice confectionary," he said. "Since the juice is spread out in the chocolate, it doesn't overpower the taste of the chocolate. We believe that the technology adds an interesting twist to the range of chocolate confectionary products available," according to Bon. "The opportunity to replace part of the fat matrix with water-based juice droplets allows for greater flexibility and tailoring of both the overall fat and sugar content."
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