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Chocolate as medicine?
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Scientists invent chocolate so healthy 'it could be eaten as medicine'

Chocolate so healthy it could be eaten as medicine has allegedly been invented. Scientists at an American chocolate company specialising in herbal technologies claim to have developed the “medicinal” chocolate, which contains only 35 per cent fat.

Chocolate most commonly comes in dark, milk, and white varieties, with cocoa solids contributing to the brown color

Cacao, the key ingredient in chocolate, contains a variety of antioxidants and minerals, which perform health benefits such as protecting the nervous system, reducing stroke risk and lowering blood pressure. However, cacao is extremely bitter meaning many chocolate companies sweeten their products with fat and sugar, overriding cacao’s health benefits.

Cacao fruits on the tree

Kuka Xoco, the Boston-based firm in America, has discovered a new de-bittering agent in the form of a little-used herb from the Andean region of Bolivia and Peru. Using micrograms of the plant extract can completely de-bitter large amounts of unsweetened cacao, developing a prototype with only 35 per cent sugar and fat.

Cacao beans, used to make cocoa mass, cocoa powder, and chocolate

Said the chief scientist at Kuka Xoco,

“This eliminates the need for sugar, sweeteners and much of the fat in chocolate, unleashing the medical benefits of cacao.”

The firm argues that sugar is an addiction. Artificial sweeteners have also been disastrous because they lead to weight gain and other problematic health complications.

Saccharin in historical wrapping displayed at the Sugar Museum (Berlin, Germany) - saccharin was the first artificial sweetener and was originally synthesized in 1879

Kuka Xoco’s long-term goal is to develop chocolate with just 10 per cent of fat and sugar. The company believes that if the unhealthy ingredients are removed from chocolate, it could be eaten medicinally. In fact, the chocolate industry may double its annual profits if it also became a health food industry by removing as much fat and sugar from its products as possible.

(All images - credit: Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licence)

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