Study Reveals Chocolate Tastes Best When Melted in the Mouth

Lovely melt-in-mouth chocolate, but is it healthy? Study finds fat is the secret ingredient – but there might be a lighter way

Chocolate lovers, rejoice! A new study released in the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces by researchers from the University of Leeds, has discovered the melt-in-your-mouth sensation we experience with chocolate is mainly contributed by fat – specifically cocoa butter.

Lead researcher of the study, Siavash Soltanahmadi, from the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds, explains cocoa butter is solid at low temperatures, but when it comes in contact with our tongue and palate, it turns into an oily liquid – what gives us the irresistible feeling we love. To accurately examine this phenomenon, the team used an artificial tongue.

The good news? According to Soltanahmadi, it is possible for chocolate to still retain its melt-in-your-mouth taste but with a lower fat content. The key lies in where exactly in the chocolate the fat is distributed. Whereas most chocolates usually have it uniformly spread in the entire chocolate, the researchers suggested to keep the fat mainly on the surface, with less of it inside.

The study also reveals the lighter version of the chocolate will still contain fewer calories, while naturally having lesser amount of sweetness. An interesting twist to the story, nonetheless.

Although the sensation of melt-in-mouth chocolate will remain the same, critics of the study argued plantation workers receive low wages and environment also suffers when forests are cleared for plantations. In light of this, the study encourages consumers to purchase certified products.

As chocolate is found to be a sacred and irresistible temptation from South Korea to Belgium, Cuba and Cologne, consumers should be aware of their ethical and healthy choices when treating themselves.

Author: Ines Eisele

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