New York: Love to eat milk chocolates, but are wary of its negative health effects as a result of higher levels of added sugar and fat? Take heart. Researchers have found a way to introduce the health benefits of dark chocolate -- a powerful source of antioxidants -- into milk chocolates.
Researchers from the North Carolina State University, in the US, have developed a method to use peanut skin extracts to make milk chocolate that has even more nutritional benefits of dark chocolate without affecting the taste.
They extracted phenolic compounds from peanut skins -- a waste product of peanut production -- and encapsulated them into maltodextrin powder which is an edible carbohydrate with a slightly sweet flavour that comes from starchy foods such as potatoes, rice or wheat. The maltodextrin powder was incorporated into the milk chocolate.
"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 lead author Lisa L. Dean from the North Carolina State University.
Including these extracts would allow for a value-added use of the discarded skins, because peanut skins are a waste product of the blanching process of the peanut industry, the authors said.
Consumer testing of 80 subjects who compared samples of both milk chocolates with peanut extracts and without showed that the fortified chocolates were liked as well as the untreated milk chocolate.
These tests also showed that the threshold for detecting the presence of the peanut skin extract was higher than that needed to fortify the milk chocolate to antioxidant levels comparable to dark chocolate, the researchers noted in the paper appearing in the Journal of Food Science.