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Diet Chocolate That Tastes Like The Real Thing—With None Of The Regrets

A new chemical breakthrough has led a scientist to a method of replacing the fat in chocolate with more healthy alternatives, without taking away what makes it taste and feel so good in your mouth.

Who doesn’t like a bit of chocolate, eh? Velvety, melt in your mouth, all the good stuff. Problem is, chocolate is high in saturated fat. Just two ounces contains about 13 grams of fat, or 20% of a person’s recommend intake. Like most things that taste good, chocolate comes with some downer nutritional info attached.

You could just not eat it, but a researcher at the University of Warwick, in the U.K., has a more practical solution: replace the harmful ingredients with something more beneficial. What is more, the chemist thinks his juice-infused product doesn’t diminish chocolate’s "mouth-feel" qualities.

Stefan Bon’s chocolate swaps out the cocoa butter and milk fats with microscopic droplets of juice, replacing about 50% of the overall fat content. He says the substance still retains the snap of normal chocolate, and has the same texture. So far, he’s made three versions, with apple, orange and cranberry juices, though he thinks confectioners could use other liquids, too, including cola, water, alcohol.

Bon presented his work at a recent American Chemical Society meeting. He now hopes manufacturers will take up the idea, and develop ranges of healthy products. "Since the juice is spread out in the chocolate, it doesn’t overpower the taste of the chocolate," Bon says, adding that using juice should also lower the sugar content.

Bon’s technique is based on a new type of emulsifier, and also helps reduce the appearance of "sugar bloom"—those white markings that appear the surface of chocolate as it ages. If it really does taste like the real thing, it may take off the same way as diet substitutes for other foodstuffs.