Scientists invent 'healthy' fruit juice chocolate

Kimberly Gillan
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Scientists invent 'healthy' fruit juice chocolate
Image: Thinkstock

Health-conscious chocoholics are rejoicing about news that scientists have developed a chocolate bar using fruit juice instead of fat.

University of Warwick chemists in the UK removed cocoa butter and milk fats from a traditional chocolate recipe and substituted them with tiny droplets of orange and cranberry juice.

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And they claim their manufacturing technique allows the chocolate to retain the perfect "mouthfeel".

"Everyone loves chocolate — but unfortunately we all know that many chocolate bars are high in fat," lead author Dr Stefan Bon said in a media release.

"However 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. We've found a way to maintain all of those things that make chocolate 'chocolatey' but with fruit juice instead of fat."

In this version, up to 50 percent of the chocolate's fat content is replaced with fruit 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," Dr Bon said.

They admit that the healthier alternative does have a fruity flavour however they said vitamin C and water could be used instead of juice to maintain a chocolately flavour.

But Julie Gilbert, spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, told ninemsn that it's probably not the miracle product it appears to be.

"All they have done is increase the sugar content but almost deceive people into thinking that because they used a fruit sugar that it would be better than cane sugar," she said.

"But I imagine the energy content would be the same as an everyday chocolate bar."

Instead, Gilbert advocates enjoying small amounts of our favourite chocolates.

"Chocolate should be a treat — we should eat the good stuff and just a little bit of it," she said.

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"Twenty grams per day is perfectly fine, which is the equivalent of four small squares or a small Freddo Frog."

The study was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry.

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