Why is (dark) chocolate so good? Researchers have an answer

Have you ever wondered what makes chocolate more appealing than any other candy? Science now has the answer: the secret isn’t just how it tastes or smells, but rather how it lubricates our tongues, a study by researchers at the University of Leeds reveals. According to a study they published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and InterfaceFrom the American Chemical Society, scientists wanted to analyze the process that occurs when food is eaten and focus on texture rather than taste. To do this, they used an artificial tongue 3D printed in silicone to mimic the texture and elasticity of the human tongue. Then they discovered it while in the mouth, the sensation of chocolate is caused by the lubrication of the chocolate, the ingredients in the chocolate, saliva, or a combination of both. And the phenomenon that attracts its audience so much is nothing more than the fact that when chocolate is placed in the mouth, it leaves an oily film on the surface of the candy that makes it smooth.

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So, when a piece of chocolate comes into contact with the tongue, almost immediately the oil plays a key role. However, the researchers say that the higher fat content of chocolate does not affect its texture and taste, and therefore can be eliminated or reduced without affecting that pleasant sensation. “ Lubrication science provides insight into how food actually feels in the mouth. You can use this knowledge to make foods with better taste, texture, or health benefits. Whether the chocolate is 5% or 50% fat, it will always form droplets in your mouth, giving you a chocolate sensation. However, important and less studied at each stage of lubrication is the location of the oil. We show that the fat layer must be on the outside, which is the most important thing, followed by the effective coating of the cocoa particles by the fat, which helps the chocolate to be very tasty. “, explains study co-author Pr Anwesha Sarkar.

Still good tasting chocolate, but with fewer calories

For these tests, conducted using luxury brand dark chocolate on an artificial 3D tongue-shaped surface, the researchers used analytical techniques from an engineering field called tribology. Tribology is about the interaction of surfaces and fluids, the levels of friction between them and the role of lubrication: in this case saliva or chocolate fluids. This process showed that when chocolate comes into contact with the tongue, it leaves an oily layer that coats the tongue and other surfaces of the mouth, and it is this oily layer that makes the chocolate smooth as it passes through the mouth. “There isBy understanding the physical mechanisms that occur when people eat chocolate, we believe that a new generation of chocolate can be developed: one that will offer the sensation of high-fat chocolate while being a healthier option. Our research opens the door for manufacturers to intelligently design dark chocolate to reduce total fat content. “, the scientific team notes.

We understand that butter is definitely a very important material for the good taste of chocolate, but it does not have to be spread all over the chocolate. The main point is the surface layer. Once you start eating chocolate, if you break it into pieces, you don’t get as much benefit from the fat it contains. “, emphasizes Professor Anvesha Sarkar. Specifically, it is about designing a dark chocolate with fat only “on the surface”, which will still give a pleasant fondant feeling, but with fewer calories. Finally, the researchers used the process in the study to make ice cream, margarine or cheese. believe that it can be applied to other foods that undergo a phase change when a substance changes from a solid to a liquid. Meanwhile, the best option is to simply use the changed ingredients first, such as cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar, and perhaps other raw materials that haven’t changed much. should be made towards a bar of dark chocolate containing (hazelnut slices. , red dried fruits, etc.) and if possible with a minimum of 60% cocoa.

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