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Scientists say electricity can reduce fat content in chocolate without impacting taste

By Shawn Knight
Jun 26, 2016
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  1. A team of physicists from Temple University in Philadelphia have inadvertently stumbled upon a technique that reduces the fat content in chocolate without altering its taste.

    The milk chocolate bars found in stores begin their life not as a solid, but a liquid. Melted consumer chocolate has a very high level of viscosity. This makes it incredibly difficult to manufacture as the thick chocolate can literally jam up the machines used to create it.

    For this reason, manufacturers have traditionally turned to cocoa butter – a fat extracted from the cocoa bean – to help make the chocolate flow more easily. The side effect to cocoa butter, of course, is chocolate with higher fat content.

    Lead researcher Rongjia Tao set about trying to figure out a way to improve the viscosity of melted chocolate during the production process. As NPR notes, Tao studies smart fluids – those whose properties can be transformed by applying an electric field.

    Tao’s team found that the circular coca solids in liquid chocolate flattened when run through an electrified sieve during the manufacturing process. In a flat state, the solids flowed more easily than they did as circular balls. With more viscosity, the team realized they could significantly reduce the cocoa butter content (fat) and retain an acceptable level of viscosity with less fat.

    A paper on the matter claims this technique doesn’t impact the taste of the chocolate although as the publication highlights, no data to support this claim was presented. John Hayes, a food scientist and the director of the Sensory Evaluation Center at Penn State University, isn’t entirely convinced there wouldn’t be a change in taste.

    Part of what makes chocolate so unique is the melting properties of the cocoa butter, Hayes said. In theory, changing the amount of cocoa butter in chocolate would lead to a more powdery, more brittle, more stringent product, he concluded.

    Tao is working with a "major chocolate company" to give the new technique a real-world test run.

    Image courtesy gt29, Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,324   +711

    The rest of the media will report this as "Researchers Shock Chocolate to Make It Healthier!" I guarantee it.
     
    Reehahs and stewi0001 like this.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,684   +790

    Hershey's Electric Kisses ..... I can hardly wait!
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. EClyde

    EClyde TS Guru Posts: 715   +184

    I don't care about the fat content. No one ever got fat eating chocolate
    It doesn't matter what they do to chocolate as long as it tastes better or the same. My favorite is Hershey's. I have never found I chocolate I like as well.
     
  5. noc81

    noc81 TS Enthusiast Posts: 79   +29

    The very, very small fat content is nothing compared to the loads of sugar added.. Otherwise, chocolate is quite healthy.
     

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