“#Milk chocolate can be made healthier by adding peanut skins, coffee grounds”
August 18, 2020 | 3:19pm
The American Chemical Society (ACS) is preparing to present the results of a study that suggests milk chocolate can be made less unhealthy by adding peanut skins and coffee grounds, giving it more antioxidants than bitter dark chocolate varieties while still keeping the flavor light and sweet with a silky texture.
To cook up the antioxidant-packed milk chocolate, Lisa Dean, Ph.D., the team’s lead researcher, obtained peanut skins from a number of companies that normally discard the skins — which are rich in antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory benefits — after roasting. She and her colleagues at the US Department of Agriculture’s Research Service then ground the skins into a powder and extracted the phenolic compounds, leaving behind the lignin and cellulose (substances in plant cell walls).
Next, researchers enlisted coffee roasters and tea producers to extract antioxidants from coffee grounds and tea leaves. They then combined the antioxidant-rich phenolic powder with the food additive maltodextrin, to easily mix into the milk chocolate.
“The idea for this project began with testing different types of agricultural waste for bioactivity, particularly peanut skins,” Dean said in a news release on the findings. “Our initial goal was to extract phenolics from the skins and find a way to mix them with food.”
Different varieties of chocolate were created containing between 0.1 percent and 8.1 percent of phenol concentration. In the taste test, eaters preferred the 0.8 percent phenolic milk chocolate (which had a higher level of antioxidants than most dark chocolates) to normal varieties.
The study, however, notes that bringing such a product to the market is still “a ways off and subject to corporate patents,” though researchers are hopeful that their work will one day result in a commercially available, “more healthful” milk chocolate product.
The scientists plan to use the excess peanut skins, coffee grounds and other products that would otherwise go to waste to boost health content in other foods, as well.
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