(CBS News) Good news for you chocolate lovers: Scientists have a found a way to reduce the fat in your favorite treat.
"Everyone loves chocolate - but unfortunately we all know that many chocolate bars are high in fat," Stefan Bon said in a press 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."
While flavonols in chocolate have been proven to help blood circulation and may even improve cognitive function, the fat content makes some health professionals weary to suggest it should be part of a balanced meal. But, scientists in the University of Warwick have found a way to take the cocoa butter and milk fats that go into the smooth chocolate and replace them with tiny drops of orange and cranberry juice.
Using a process called a Pickering emulsion, the butter and fats were replaced by droplets of juice less than 30 microns in diameter and prevented from combining into larger drops. Scientists tried out the new ingredients in milk, dark and white chocolate successfully, and the modified treats were able to retain the "mouth-feel" of the original with only half the fatl. The chocolates were also immune to the "sugar bloom," the coating that appears when chocolate is stored too long.
There was one downside: The chocolates did have a fruity flavor. For those who don't like the taste, the scientists also came up with a substitute using water and a small amount of ascorbic acid or vitamin C that retained the chocolate flavor.
"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.
The research was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry on Aug. 8.