The Loh Down On Science

Is chocolate healthy or unhealthy?

Freeze-fractured cryogenic scanning electron micrograph of water-in-cocoa butter dispersions. Image courtesy Skelhon et al., J. Mater. Chem., 2012, 22, 19289.

Is it possible to make chocolate any better—for you, that is?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. 

Chocolate can be a healthy snack—when eaten in moderation. It's rich in antioxidants, molecules that can help fight infection and disease. But the high fat content is a problem.  

Now, research led by Stefan Bon of the University of Warwick is showing that the health benefits of chocolate can be made even more fruitful. Literally! How?  By making it with fruit.  

Bon’s new manufacturing process replaces up to fifty percent of the fat with an infusion of fruit juice. And it reduces the need for sugar: another health no-no. 

The juice is added via microbubbles that mix with the fat thanks to a hundred-year-old emulsion technique. Emulsions are blends of things that don't normally mix, like oil and water. The microbubbles let the candy retain its smooth, melt-in-your-mouth properties. 

But don't worry, chocolate purists. Bon says the juice doesn’t overpower  the chocolatey flavor. 

I guess science is like a box of chocolates? You never know what you’re gonna get!

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The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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