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How chocolate could become one of your five-a-day

By John von Radowitz

Chocolate could one day become one of your five-a-day following a Willy Wonka-style discovery.

Scientists have managed to halve the fat content of chocolate by replacing the cocoa and milk fats with fruit juice.

 The researchers at the University of Warwick say the new fruity confectionery still retains its "chocolatey" feel and taste.

The secret is juice in the form of micro-bubbles that preserve a texture that is firm to bite yet melts in the mouth. Lead researcher Dr Stefan Bon said: "We have established the chemistry that's the starting point for healthier chocolate confectionery.

"This approach maintains the things that make chocolate 'chocolatey', but with fruit juice instead of fat. Now we're hoping the food industry will take the next steps and use the technology to make tasty, lower-fat chocolate bars and other candy."

Using fruit juice or diet cola to make chocolate also reduced overall sugar content. The technology works with all kinds of chocolate -- dark, milk and white, said Dr Bon.

The Warwick team has made chocolate infused with apple, orange and cranberry juice.

"Fruit juice-infused candy tastes like an exciting hybrid between traditional chocolate and a chocolate-juice confectionery," Dr Bon added. "Since the juice is spread out in the chocolate, it doesn't overpower the taste of the chocolate. We believe the technology adds an interesting twist to the range of chocolate products available."

Chocolate contains healthy antioxidant plant chemicals known as flavonoids, but also lots of unhealthy fat and sugar.

A two-ounce serving of top-quality dark chocolate contains 13 grams of fat -- a fifth of the daily amount recommended for someone consuming 2,000 calories a day, said Dr Bon.

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