Milk Chocolate Might Soon Be As Healthy As Dark

Photo: Amanda Ringstad
Dark chocolate has been widely lauded for its health benefits in recent years. From improving cognitive function to boosting heart health, it's thought to be a valuable addition to our diets when enjoyed in moderation. Great news for everyone with a taste for the bitter stuff; not so great for those of us with a sweet tooth. A slab of Dairy Milk unfortunately doesn't count as a health food. But this could be about to change. Scientists have discovered a way to give milk chocolate the same nutritional benefits as dark chocolate – crucially – without changing the taste. Hallelujah! The answer, according to a study by researchers at North Caroline State University, lies in peanut skins. Phenolic compounds from peanut skins, which contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, were crushed into an edible powder and added to milk chocolate, thus giving it the same health benefits as dark, the researchers said. Importantly, they wanted to know what impact (if any) their alterations had on the milk chocolate's taste. The researchers, writing in the Journal of Food Science, then gave 80 people chocolate samples to try: both with and without the peanut skin extract. The good news? The types of chocolate were liked an equal amount. The added peanut skin didn't affect the taste enough for people to notice a difference. "If applied to commercial products, peanut skin extracts would allow consumers to enjoy mild tasting products and have exposure to compounds that have proven health benefits," said Lisa Dean, the study's lead author, reported EurekAlert. Another benefit of adding peanut skins to chocolate is that they're usually wasted in peanut production, so this method would finally give them a use, the researchers said. They didn't investigate the chocolate's impact on anyone with a peanut allergy, but research on this is ongoing. With chocolate cake set to be the food trend of 2017, it looks like there'll soon be an excuse to gorge on chocolate at every other meal too. We can't wait.

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