They say, "You can't improve on perfection," but a scientist has just found a way to make chocolate healthier — and taste better.
He didn't do it by cultivating a new cocoa bean or injecting any chemicals; he simply... shocked it.
By running liquid chocolate through an electric field, Rongjia Tao, a physicist at Temple University, found he could remove up to 20 percent of the chocolate's fat content and make the end result taste better.
Like the discovery of penicillin, this was a happy accident.
Tao's research was only intended to improve the viscosity of liquid chocolate for manufacturing purposes. Having previously used a similar technique on crude oil, Tao was asked by a consulting firm from Mars Inc. (the maker of Snickers, M&M's, and Twix) to test out his method on chocolate.
Made up of cocoa solids and cocoa butter, liquid chocolate takes the microscopic form of symmetrical balls (cocoa solids) floating in liquid fat (cocoa butter). While chocolate needs a certain amount of fat to flow, Tao discovered that when it passed through the electric field, the cocoa solids changed from individual ball shapes to a long, pill-shaped chain.
That tiny transformation was a giant game changer.
Due to their new shape, the cocoa solids could pack more tightly, decreasing the viscosity and improving flow. With better viscosity and less space between solids, Tao told the Los Angeles Times, "I realized, this technology can not only reduce the viscosity, it can reduce the level of fat."
Wanting to test the potential of his discovery, Tao conducted several additional trials.
Not only did he and his team reduce chocolate's fat content by between 10 and 20 percent, but some colleagues even said the reduced fat chocolate was more delicious than regular chocolate.
Tao attributed this taste preference to the cocoa solids having a better chance to "stand out" from the cocoa butter's competition.
Because Mars partially funded his research, Tao hopes the corporation and others begin to use his new technique soon.
"I love chocolate and eat it quite frequently," he told the LA Times. "I will eat more chocolate once it has less fat." That's good news since, according to the publication, he still has over 300 pounds of leftover chocolate in his lab.
Cover image via Youtube.