Juice and chocolate seem like a decidedly unpalatable combination. But, through some complicated chemical mumbo-jumbo, British scientists have figured out a way to cut the fat content in chocolate by half by adding fruit juice, CNN reports. They claim their new concoction tastes pretty much the same as regular chocolate.
The Frankenstein chocolate formula contains teeny droplets of fruit juice that can replace up to 50% of the yummy triglyceride fats found in cocoa butter and milk, explains lead study author Dr. Stefan Bon of the University of Warwick in England. Bon and his colleagues used a process called Pickering emulsion to infuse orange juice, cranberry juice and de-carbonated soft drinks into milk, dark and white chocolate. The magic size for the juice droplets is less than 30 micrometers -- allowing the fat to be replaced without losing the proper chemical structure. The study was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry on Monday.
"It's the fat that gives chocolate all the indulgent sensations that people crave -- the silky smooth texture and the way it melts in the mouth but still has a 'snap' to it when you break it with your hand," Bon said in a press release. "We've found a way to maintain all of those things that make chocolate 'chocolatey' but with fruit juice instead of fat."
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However, Bon (new nickname: Bon Bon) admitted that the finished product has a bit of a fruity aftertaste. He says that water with a small amount of vitamin C could be used instead of juice. "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.
We do love our cocoa butter, but this seems like an OK idea. Who wouldn't want to fall in the chocolate river and come out looking like Lady Godiva instead of Augustus Gloop?