Chocolate is the ultimate edible indulgence to many, but a technique developed by researchers at the U.K.'s University of Warwick may soon change that.
In a study published in the Journal of Material Chemistry, scientists injected chocolate with micro-bubbles of fruit juice, which succeeded in cutting the product's total fat content by up to 50 percent without sacrificing its silky texture.
The tiny droplets of apple, orange and cranberry juice, which were each less than 30 microns in diameter, were infused into chocolate (milk, dark and white) to create a creamy emulsion. In conventional chocolate-making, fatty ingredients like cocoa butter and milk are used to create this creaminess.
In a university press release, scientist Stefan A. F. Bon expressed optimism about the discovery.
"Our study is just the starting point to healthier chocolate -– we’ve established the chemistry behind this new technique but now we’re hoping the food industry will take our method to make tasty, lower-fat chocolate bars," he said.
Another benefit to the new product is that bars left on the shelf for too long won't develop a chalky white film. One downside (at least for some) is that the chocolate will retain a fruity flavor from the droplets. But the scientists assured the public that chocolate makers will have the option of replacing the juice with water and a small bit of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which will remedy the issue.
We're excited by the prospect of a healthier chocolate bar, but fruit juice is still packed with sugar -- and that could lead to weight gain. That said, the fruit juice chocolate would contain less saturated fat, which might make it a healthier alternative for some people.