Scientists find the chocolaty secret to chocolate's sweetness

Scientists find the chocolaty secret to chocolate's sweetness

As soon as a piece of chocolate begins to melt in the mouth, fat has the onus to ensure the sensation of chocolate's signature flavour.

Science has an answer why chocolate feels so good to eat, with a near universal acceptance. A team of researchers in England analysed the physical process that takes place when chocolate breaks down in the mouth.

So why chocolate tastes delicious?

It was found that the breakdown of fat constituents in chocolate when it is put inside the mouth is the reason why it feels so good to eat. The researchers at University of Leeds said that their findings will result in the development of luxury chocolate with a similar feel and texture.

They explained that when chocolate comes in contact with the tongue, it releases a fatty film which then coats the tongue and rest of the mouth, and makes an individual feel the smoothness the whole time when it's in the mouth.

The study also found that chocolate's signature sweetness comes from the way the chocolate is lubricated, either from ingredients of the chocolate itself, saliva or a combination of the two.

Fat and cocoa composition is the secret

As soon as a piece of chocolate begins to melt in the mouth, fat has the onus to ensure the sensation of chocolate's signature flavour. Following this, the cocoa particles present in the chocolate ensure the physical sensation. 

Scientists find the chocolaty secret to chocolate's sweetness
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"You can use that knowledge to design food with better taste, texture or health benefits," Anwesha Sarkar, a professor at Leeds University said in an official statement. 

"If a chocolate has 5 per cent fat or 50 per cent fat it will still form droplets in the mouth and that gives you the chocolate sensation."

"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."

Lead researcher Dr Siavash Soltanahmadi said: "With the understanding of the physical mechanisms that happen as people eat chocolate, 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."

The researchers believe the physical techniques used in the study could be applied to the investigation of other foodstuffs that undergo a phase change, such as ice-cream, margarine or cheese.

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