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Delicious, healthy chocolate might just be a zap of a high-energy electrical field away.
Scientists working for a firm hired by chocolate giant Mars Inc. have successfully found a way to remove approximately 20% of the fat of chocolate "while making the end product tastier," the Los Angeles Times reported, by using electrical fields to change the composition of the chocolate.
Yes, that's right, 20% less fat.
The technique is borrowed from prior work on reducing the viscosity of crude oil and works by changing the structure of small cocoa particles suspended in the mixture of oil and fat which comprises the rest of the chocolate. (The temperature of the chocolate does not change during the process.)
After passing through the electrical fields, "individual cocoa solids [are] transformed from symmetrical circles to elongated, pill-shaped chains," the researchers wrote in the paper that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, according to the Times.
The resulting mixture is both less viscous and denser than the original chocolate, and could enable chocolate producers to use approximately 10-20% less fat without sludging up production machinery.
But, most importantly, according to the study authors, the stuff tastes pretty good, too.
"The treated chocolate has wonderful taste," lead study author and Temple University physics professor Rongjia Tao said in a press statement. "Some people even claim that the ER-treated chocolate has a slightly stronger cocoa flavor, better than the original chocolate."