Scientists have deciphered the physical processes that occur in your mouth when you eat chocolate. This is because it goes from a solid to a smooth emulsion that many find completely irresistible.
An interdisciplinary research team at the University of Leeds hopes that analyzing each step will lead to the development of a new generation of fine chocolates that have the same feel and texture, but are healthier to consume.
The moment the chocolate is in your mouth, the sensation of chocolate comes from the way it is lubricated by the ingredients of the chocolate itself, saliva, or a combination of the two.
Fats perform an important function as soon as chocolate touches your tongue. Since solid cocoa particles are then released and become more tactile, the deep fat in the chocolate played a rather limiting role and could be reduced without affecting the feel and sensation of the chocolate. rice field.
Anwesha Sarkar, Professor of Colloids and Surfaces, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds, said: You can use that knowledge to design foods with better taste, texture, or health benefits.
“Even if the chocolate has a fat content of 5% or 50%, it will form a drip in your mouth and give you the sensation of chocolate. Yes, but little research.
“We have shown that the fat layer needs to be on the outer layer of the chocolate. This is the most important, followed by an effective coating of the cocoa particles by the fat.These make the chocolate feel very good. It helps you to.”
This study — published in a scientific journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces — We have not investigated the taste of chocolate. Instead, our research focused on its feel and texture.
Testing was conducted using premium branded dark chocolate on an artificial 3D tongue-like surface designed at the University of Leeds. Researchers conducted studies involving in situ imaging using analytical techniques from a branch of engineering called tribology.
Tribology is about how surfaces and fluids interact, the level of friction between them, and the role of lubrication. In this case, it’s chocolate saliva or liquid. All of these mechanisms are happening in your mouth when you eat chocolate.
When chocolate touches the tongue, it releases a fatty film that covers the tongue and other surfaces in the mouth. It is this layer of fat that keeps the chocolate smooth in your mouth.
Dr Siavash Soltanahmadi, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Leeds, was the principal investigator of the study and said: It was developed to offer a healthier option while still providing the feel and sensation of high-fat chocolate.
“Our research opens up the possibility that manufacturers can intelligently design dark chocolates to reduce their overall fat content.
“We believe that dark chocolate can be produced with a gradient layer structure that includes fat coating the surface of the chocolate and particles without adding extra fat inside the chocolate.”
A study by business intelligence agency MINTEL predicts that chocolate sales in the UK will increase over the next five years. Sales are expected to reach £6.6bn between 2022 and 2027, a 13% growth for him.
The researchers believe that the physical techniques used in this study could also be applied to investigate other foods that undergo phase changes, such as ice cream, margarine, and cheese, where substances change from solid to liquid.
Reference: “Insights on Multiscale Lubrication Mechanisms in Edible Phase Change Materials”, by Siavash Soltanahmadi, Michael Bryant and Anwesha Sarkar, 12 Jan 2023, Available here. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.
This project was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.