With the help of an artificial 3D tongue, scientists from the School of Food Science and Nutrition and the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds have deciphered the physical process that occurs in the mouth when eating chocolate, concluding that that fat plays a key role.
According to this research, the conclusions of which are published in the ACS Applied Materials and Interface journal, chocolate is irresistible to most people because it releases a film of fat that coats the tongue and other surfaces of the mouth, providing silkiness and smoothness. Furthermore, he states that the fat deep within the chocolate has limited impact on mouthfeel, so mouthfeel can be reduced without diminishing pleasure.
“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,” says Dr Siavash Soltanahmadi, from the School of Food Science and Nutrition in Leeds and principal investigator of the study. “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,” he adds.
To reach these conclusions, the scientists used analytical techniques from a field of engineering called tribology, which studies how surfaces and fluids interact, the levels of friction between them, and the role of lubrication: in this case, saliva, or chocolate liquids.