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Polyphenols: how healthy is chocolate?


"Healthier" chocolate? Waste product as a supplier of polyphenols
Taste is discussable. Some love the fine-tart aroma of dark chocolate, which has a high cocoa content and is therefore rich in valuable polyphenols. The majority prefer to have a piece of milk chocolate melted on their tongue, which contains less cocoa and tastes significantly sweeter due to fats and sugar.

With a trick, scientists from North Carolina State University have enriched whole milk chocolate with polyphenols without accepting their bitter taste. To do this, they used an ingredient that is actually a waste product: the thin skin of peanuts. Chocolate from the laboratory is far from being launched on the market. It is not yet clear whether it actually has a measurable higher health value.

Plants protect themselves from stressors by forming certain chemical compounds, which include the so-called polyphenols. Both cocoa and the skin of the peanuts are rich in these phytochemicals, which act as antioxidants and protect the body from harmful oxygen radicals. An unanswered question, however, is whether the polyphenols of the peanut skin are similarly available to the organism.

Peanut processing in the United States removes and discards thousands of tons of peanut skin every year. The scientists extracted the polyphenols from the peanut skin and processed them into a powder that could be used as an ingredient in many different foods. The powder is made with the sugar maltodextrin to reduce the bitter taste. Maltodextrin has a slightly sweet taste and is obtained from starchy foods such as potatoes and rice. In a "taste test" with 80 subjects, whole milk chocolate with and without peanut skin extract was equally popular. The research continues. The allergy-triggering potential of the extract also has to be tested, the food technologists write in the "Journal of Food Science". Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de Source: Journal of Food Science, Vol. 81, No. 11, S2824-S2830; 2016 (DOI: 10.1111 / 1750-3841.13533)

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