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British study says fat in chocolate could be replaced with fruit juice

Updated: 2012-08-15 09:34

A British study said on Monday that scientists have found a way to replace the fat content in chocolate with fruit juice while maintaining the "mouth-feel".

University of Warwick said in a statement that its chemists have taken out much of the cocoa butter and milk fats that go into chocolate bars, substituting them with tiny droplets of fruit juice measuring under 30 microns in diameter, which could replace up to 50 percent of the fat content in chocolate bars.

They reported in the Journal of Materials Chemistry that the clever method does not take away the "chocolatey mouth-feel" given by the fatty ingredients.

This is because the new technique maintains the Polymorph V content, the substance in the crystal structure of the fat which gives chocolate its glossy appearance, firm and snappy texture but which also allows it to melt smoothly in the mouth.

The final product will taste fruity, but there is the option to use water and a small amount of vitamin C instead of juice to maintain a "chocolatey" taste.

"Everyone loves chocolate - but unfortunately we all know that many chocolate bars are high in fat," said Dr. Stefan Bon, who is the lead author of the study and based at University of Warwick.

Noting that it's the fat that gives chocolate all the indulgent sensations that people crave, Bon said "we've found a way to maintain all of those things that make chocolate 'chocolatey' but with fruit juice instead of fat."

"Our study is just the starting point to the 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 added.