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Scientists halve fat content of chocolate using fruit substitutes

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August 13, 2012

Scientists halve the fat content of chocolate using fruit substitutes (Photo: Ayelie)

Scientists halve the fat content of chocolate using fruit substitutes (Photo: Ayelie)

Researchers at the University of Warwick have found a way to halve the fat content of chocolate without compromising any of the properties people prize in the cocoa-based confectionery. The discovery hinges on the substitution of fat with an unlikely alternative: fruit juice.

Droplets of orange and cranberry juice less than 30 micrometers in diameter were used as a direct substitute for some of the cocoa butter and milk fats that are generally essential in giving chocolate its choclateness. The juice droplets were infused into dark, milk and white chocolate to create what is known as a Pickering emulsion, an emulsion which is resistant to coalescence due to the presence of solid particles. The solid particles in this case were food grade hydrophobic silicates.

The scientists claim that the chocolatey properties aren't compromised thanks to the maintenance of the chocolate's "Polymorph V" structure, which gives it its glossy texture and allows it to melt in a pleasing way.

"Our study is just the starting point to healthier chocolate," said Dr. Stefan Bon, lead author on the paper. "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."

As one might expect, the reduced fat chocolate does have a fruity taste, but the researchers are confident that water with a dash of ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C) could be used instead of fruit juice to retain a chocolatey taste.

The paper, Quiescent Water-in-Oil Pickering Emulsions as a Route toward Healthier Fruit Juice Infused Chocolate Confectionary, appeared last week in Journal of Materials Chemistry.

Source: University of Warwick

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
7 Comments

Low fat is so nineties, I thought the scientific community and nutritionists had understood that fat isn't the enemy.

ElSmurf
13th August, 2012 @ 10:52 am PDT

How does taking the naturally occurring fats out of chocolate make it healthy?

Randolph Fabian Directo
13th August, 2012 @ 11:51 am PDT

Agreed with the other two, the old concepts of fats being bad has been clearly shown to be based on a significantly outdated misunderstanding of how our bodies function.

How about you take that fruit sugar and use it to eliminate the refined sugar used in sweetening cacao into what the masses consider edible chocolate. I do it with raw cacao nibs in a raw veggie and fruit smoothie almost everyday.

reefingbuddha
13th August, 2012 @ 05:00 pm PDT

Any word on how much they increased the sugar content?

Fat in chocolate (cocoa butter) not bad for you. Contains mainly Oleic acid (found in olive oil) and Stearic acid. No natural fat is bad for you. Generally speaking, only hydrogenated and industrially processed fats (eg polyunsaturated vegetable oil) are bad for you.

Some think that 'fruit sugar' is healthier than 'refined sugar' but this is not necessarily the case. Refined sugar is sucrose - fructose bonded to glucose. Requires metabolising before use. Fruit sugar is 'free' fructose (not bonded to anything) - is used immediately by the liver, and consumed in sufficient quantities is very unhealthy (take High Fructose Corn Syrup for example - a sweetener for soft drink and many processed foods). Note - I'm not saying that eating fruit is unhealthy, just its concentrated sugar extract consumed in large quantities - not natural.

So they just made chocolate worse, and are passing it off as better. Typical.

Pipeliner
14th August, 2012 @ 02:39 am PDT

Low fat = death. Sugar = death. Fat = life. Any questions?

Randolph Lee
14th August, 2012 @ 02:18 pm PDT

Give us a dark non-Belgian chocolate, with a cocoa content at or above 75%, and do it without including "harmful" sweeteners or other additives, while carefully exploring the sugar content, looking for the highest quality, least harmful to human health, and finally, sweeteners which extract the greatest and most satisfying taste, in the result. Fat is not the problem, and for those of us unwilling to trade deliciousness for sound nutritional principles, eating more than an ounce is almost invariably not healthful in any case, with detriment increasing as levels above an oz increase. Sugar is the devil here. There certainly are a few willing to consume the darkest chocolates/cocoa, approaching, even reaching devastatingly bitter 100% cocoa, but most of us make a compromise at 70% cocoa, though research reveals that 75% is a preferable cocoa minimum. Anything to reduce the sugar content as much as possible, while retaining as much flavor as possible, that's the challenge the true, professional chocolatier faces, with the quality, naturalness, deliciousness and healthfulness of the sweetening agent being the greatest challenge of all. Yes, I know, it will be expensive. But we won't be eating that much, so nearly all of us can, and will, pay the price.

JOHN POLIFRONIO
16th August, 2012 @ 04:14 pm PDT

Fail. Stefan Bon.

"Our study is just the starting point to healthier chocolate,"

No, no, no! Your study is a mistake from go to woah. The only people who would ever buy this product are people who don't read.

The only provably naughty ingredient in most chocolate is sugar. Everything else about chocolate is good for you, or neutral.

Poor Stefan, wasted part of his valuable life taking one of the main GOOD things OUT of chocolate and replacing it with something containing one of the WORST things that doesn't occur in natural chocolate, i.e. fructose.

And if that weren't bad enough he's adding (yeccch) hydrophobic food-grade silicates. So, yeah, low-cost fruit-juice and waterproof rocks, people.

That's what this is selling.

And worst, this version would probably cost more and they'll also be selling the fat they didn't include in the more expensive "low fat" chocolate for real money.

No, thanks.

sleat
22nd August, 2012 @ 07:43 pm PDT
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