Scientists say sensual discovery could be used to design low-fat product that mimics feel of high fat.
The irresistible melt-in-the-mouth sensation of chocolate comes down to the way it lubricates the tongue, according to scientists.
A study investigated the physical process by which a solid square of chocolate morphs into a smooth emulsion. It found that chocolate released a fatty film that coats the tongue, giving a smooth sensation for the entire time it is in the mouth.
Dr Siavash Soltanahmadi, the study’s lead researcher at the University of Leeds, said the findings could be used to design low-fat chocolate that mimicked the sensation of a high-fat product.
“We believe that a next generation of chocolate can be developed that offers the feel and sensation of high-fat chocolate yet is a healthier choice,” she said.
Soltanahmadi and colleagues set out to investigate texture sensation using a luxury brand of dark chocolate and an artificial tongue. The device has a 3D-printed tongue-like texture, is kept at 37C (98.6F) and powered to move like a human tongue.
They found that soon after the chocolate is placed in the mouth, the tongue becomes coated in a fatty layer, which depends on the fat content of the chocolate. After that, solid cocoa particles are released and they become important in terms of the tactile sensation, the researchers found.
“We are showing that the fat layer needs to be on the outer layer of the chocolate, this matters the most, followed by effective coating of the cocoa particles by fat, these help to make chocolate feel so good,” she said.
This implies that the fat deeper inside the chocolate plays a limited role in contributing to sensation and could be reduced without having an impact on how the chocolate feels in the mouth. The researchers suggested chocolate bars with a fat content gradient or a low-fat bar, coated in high-fat chocolate, might work well as a healthier alternative.
Soltanahmadi said creating healthier chocolate was a challenge for the food industry because low-fat versions were not always as appetising.
“Our research opens the possibility that manufacturers can intelligently design dark chocolate to reduce the overall fat content,” she said. “We believe dark chocolate can be produced in a gradient-layered architecture with fat covering the surface of chocolates and particles to offer the sought after self-indulging experience without adding too much fat inside the body of the chocolate.”
The researchers suggested similar techniques could be applied to help design healthier versions of other foods that transform from a solid to a liquid in the mouth, such as ice-cream or cheese. The findings are published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Source: The Guardian
Here are the popular flavors we think will be big this year, plus recipes to try these trends at home.
We're ready to say hello to summer—and with the new season comes lots of delicious things to eat and drink. Trending flavor profiles will draw inspiration from the garden—from fresh fruits and vegetables to herbs and edible flowers. When it comes to popular beverage trends, easy day-drinking is the name of the game. Think: low-ABV drinks, nonalcoholic spirits and a bumper crop of new canned cocktails that are easy to throw in the cooler for a day at the beach or a summer barbecue.
1. Passion FruitPassion fruit is having a moment in the summer sun—from White Claw's new Passion Fruit hard seltzer to Vonbee Passion Fruit Honey Puree, a Korean product gaining popularity in the United States. On Google Trends, search queries for "passion fruit honey puree" saw a 1,050% increase in the last 12 months, as shoppers tried to track down the popular product sold at some Costco locations. Passion fruit lends tart tropical flavors to drinks and desserts. My personal favorite is passion fruit puree mixed into Ellenos Greek Yogurt (a Seattle specialty sold in retail locations nationwide). In April, views of articles and recipes related to passion fruit grew 1,469% on EatingWell.com compared to last year.
Try the trend at home: Copycat Starbucks Pink Drink
2. Cucumber EverythingWhat makes a recipe go viral? Here at EatingWell, anything with cucumbers, apparently. Cucumbers are a crunchy, refreshing summer vegetable. They're readily available, relatively inexpensive and offer some health benefits too. Perhaps that's why whenever we publish a new cucumber recipe, it just takes off. Case in point: we refer to this as *the* Cucumber Sandwich here at EatingWell, because it went instantly viral as soon as we published it. Who knew? Maybe cucumber sandwiches have a certain nostalgia people are drawn to right now. As one reviewer says, "My very British grandmother used to make cucumber sandwiches for my sisters and me along with 'nursery tea.' Thank you for the reminder. Your version is quite nice and a lovely memory." In April, views of articles and recipes related to cucumbers overall grew 180% on EatingWell.com compared to last year. Views of cucumber salads grew 237%.
Try it at home: Cucumber Sandwich
3. Baby Bok ChoyTwo things we know about EatingWell cooks: they're busy and they love their veggies. They are always on the lookout for simple recipes that let the fresh produce shine, dressed up in a flavorful sauce that cooks up fast. So what veggies are trending this year? Baby bok choy, for one. In April, interest in baby bok choy grew 176% on EatingWell.com compared to last year.Baby bok choy cooks up in minutes, making it a great easy weeknight side. It's also loaded with nutrients, like its cruciferous cousins—Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale.
Try the trend at home: Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Soy-Lime Dressing
4. MatchaMatcha is a finely milled green tea powder with deep cultural roots in China and Japan dating back centuries. The tea has a distinct bright green color and is traditionally served whipped into hot water as a beverage. Matcha has gained popularity in the U.S. in recent years, showing up as flavoring in popular menu items, in food products like latte mixes and snacks like Pocky and Kit Kat, and even in deodorant. In April, interest in matcha grew 376% on EatingWell.com compared to the previous year.
Learn more about the history, cultural context and different types of matcha powder available on the market today, plus our favorite brands, in our matcha powder taste test guide.
Try it at home: Matcha Castella Cake
5. LavenderPerhaps the elevated levels of stress we've all been facing over the last couple of years have us turning to recipes and ingredients that soothe. Lavender lends a comforting nostalgia to some dishes. It's commonly included as an ingredient in herbes de Provence blends. The herb has calming medicinal properties as well. In aromatherapy, lavender has been shown to help reduce stress. Lavender-infused drinks and desserts are rising in popularity—from cheesecake to lemonade and cocktails. Interest in lavender as an ingredient grew 514% on EatingWell.com compared to last year.
Try it at home: Lavender Bee's Knees
6. HibiscusWidely available in many countries in the form of an herbal tea and an ingredient to cook with, hibiscus lends a tart, floral flavor and gorgeous crimson color to beverages and dishes like tacos. "I freaking love hibiscus tea," says Carolyn Malcoun, EatingWell's senior food features editor. "I had it in Jamaica forever ago and it stuck with me. Ever since, I make hibiscus tea and chill it for summer drinking. It's so refreshing and so pretty."
Drinking hibiscus tea is not only delicious, it has health benefits too. It contains anthocyanins and other antioxidants that may help to lower blood pressure. We're seeing hibiscus appear in more and more beauty products for its purported anti-aging properties, and as a flavoring in beverage products like Q Mixers' Ginger Beer and Sorel, a hibiscus-based liqueur.
Note: For safety, it's best to consume prepared hibiscus products rather than picking your own, and to consume it in moderation. Hibiscus may be toxic to pets. And hibiscus (and many other herbal teas) are not recommended during pregnancy.
Try it at home: Hibiscus-Pomegranate Iced Tea
7. Ice Cream, ReinventedThis summer, expect all your ice cream wishes to come true, and then some. We're seeing next-level ice cream with flavors from everything bagel seasoning to mango sticky rice and more. Ice cream sandwiches are having a moment, too. In April, traffic on ice cream sandwich recipes and articles grew 136% since last year on EatingWell.com.
The plant-based ice cream trend we've seen in the freezer aisle will make its way to more ice cream shops. Interest in dairy-free recipes grew 22% on EatingWell.com in April from the previous year.
Try it at home: No-Churn Ice Cream with Cardamom & Saffron
8. EdamameSoybeans are an affordable, versatile plant-based protein option—a 1-cup serving contains 18 grams! Soy sometimes gets a bad rap when it comes to health, but it actually contains some beneficial properties for your heart and brain. Eating plant-based protein in place of meat is better for the planet too. As Malcoun reported earlier this year, "If Americans swapped plant proteins for 25% of their beef, pork and poultry, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 82 million metric tons annually."
Interest in articles and recipes related to edamame jumped 141% last month on EatingWell.com, compared to the prior year. We think the trend will keep going as consumers look for plant-based protein alternatives. It's so convenient, too. Keep a package of shelled edamame in your freezer for a last-minute meal idea to top your salad this summer. I also like to keep frozen edamame in the shell on hand for an easy snack kids love.
Try it at home: Kale & Avocado Salad with Blueberries & Edamame
9. Canned CocktailsWhen it comes to popular drinks trends, expect to see more canned cocktails in the cooler. On Google Trends, search queries for "canned margarita brands" saw a 700% increase in the last 12 months, while interest in "best canned cocktails" is up 850%. If you think you're not a canned cocktail fan, this is a category worth exploring again. More and more distilleries and spirit companies are releasing their own canned cocktails, which mean better quality and more variety. Find everything from classic gin and tonics and mojitos to more complex flavor profiles like Drifter Cocktail Co's passion fruit caipirinha, Hunni Soju's new sparkling cocktails, featuring flavors like yuzu and elderflower, and the Long Drink, a Finnish gin soda with citrus flavors.
10. Low-ABV & Nonalcoholic DrinksPeople are drinking less alcohol than they were in the early days of the pandemic. Some are cutting it out altogether, while others are sober-curious. Whether you're cutting back here and there, like trying Dry January, or choosing options with less alcohol (low-ABV), you're not alone! In April, year-over-year interests in mocktails and nonalcoholic beverages grew 40% and 41% respectively. Make sure to toss some NA beers into the cooler this summer for easy day-drinking. Athletic Brewing Co.'s Cerveza Atletica is crisp and clean—just the thing to crack open in the hot summer sun. Or if you are a seltzer fan who adores craft beer, give Hoplark's sparkling waters a try. You can shop by your favorite hop for a refreshing sip.
Try it at home: Mocktail Mojitos
Source: EatingWell Reviewed by Dietitian Victoria Seaver, M.S., RD