According to the scientific studies available, dark chocolate can be a great source of antioxidants for anyone undergoing a diet. However, most of the consumers dread the bitter flavor it has due to the large quantity of cocoa. In contrast, milk chocolate is the one we all crave for, but it doesn't come with the same health benefits of dark chocolate.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers said there is a new way to create milk chocolate with the same health benefits as dark chocolate — without altering the taste. Using peanut skin extracts is the solution to combine health and taste in the same chocolate recipe. The nutritional benefits of milk chocolate will be replicated in order to make the best of antioxidants in our diets.
The research was conducted at North Carolina State University, where scientists from the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences managed to extract a series of phenolic compounds from peanut skins — they're essentially a waste product in the peanut production industry.
After this, the researchers enclosed the compounds into maltodextrin powder. The latter is an edible carbohydrate that has a somewhat sweet flavor and comes from starchy food. The compounds were then added to the milk chocolate recipe in order to test the nutritional benefits of the new composition.
The methodology of the study involved 80 subjects who were asked to compare the initial milk chocolate with the one with peanut extracts. The results showed that the degree to which the volunteers liked the second recipe was the same as the classic one.
The tests also suggested that the threshold for detecting the peanut extract was not exceeded in the attempt to replicate the nutritional benefits of dark chocolate, which would further imply that a mass production of this recipe would not affect the way its consumers perceive the chocolate taste, while also having the antioxidants of dark chocolate.
Additionally, as peanut skins are a waste product of the peanut processing industry, using them in the recipe would also bring advantage to the extent to which we exploit peanuts.
The research is all the more important, as small amounts of chocolate are even recommended in our diets, and benefits have been shown to lower the risks of diabetes and heart disease.
Additionally, consuming chocolate has also been linked to better brain function, protecting against natural, age-related cognitive weakening.
Prior to these studies, another research suggested that a chocolate pill could be used for improvements of heart health and blood circulation, thus paving the way for using the products for its health benefits in the future.