Low-fat chocolate that actually tastes good? Thanks, science. We’re not talking about the dark variety either, the kind most often associated with health benefits. But instead, researchers from Temple University in Philadelphia have found a way to reduce milk chocolate’s fat content by 20%, medicaldaily.com reports.
Cocoa solids are one of the richest sources of antioxidant flavonoids, but unfortunately, most chocolate products are high in cocoa butter, oils, and other fatty ingredients. This is because when liquid chocolate flows through factory pipes, the step before it’s solidified and wrapped in foil, cocoa tends to pack together and get jammed — butter keeps everything moving. The researchers reported that fats make up to 40 percent of a typical molding, 25 to 30 percent of which are cocoa butter. The rest are other oils and fats. “Because children are the leading chocolate consumers, reducing the fat level in chocolate to make them healthier is important and urgent,” they wrote.
So when a consulting firm working for Mars Inc. — the manufacturer responsible for M&Ms, Snickers, and Twix bars among others — contacted the Temple team for help, they agreed. According to NPR, the company got in touch with lead study author Rongjia Tao specifically because he specializes in electrorheology, a type of science that’s dedicated to a deep understanding of liquid suspensions.