chocolate, cocoa
New research shows that flavanols- certain antioxidants present in cocoa, can help retain cognitive health at old age.Steven Depolo/Flickr

There are several health benefits of chocolate; it helps lighten the mood, control blood pressure and more, but chocolate, owing to its high fat content, poses health risks as well. While the debate on whether chocolate is healthy for you or not may go on, scientists have stumbled upon a technique that not only brings down the fat content in chocolate but also makes it tastier.

The discovery was made thanks to a company working on behalf of Mars Inc, the one that makes Mars bars, Snickers, Bounty and M&Ms. While trying to find ways to ensure that the chocolate flowing through a pipe wouldn't coagulate and clog up the plumbing, the company wondered whether a technique used to improve the viscosity of crude oil could be applied in this case or not, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The technique applied to crude oil was developed by Ronjita Tao and his team at Temple University in Philadelphia and they found that by applying an electrical field in the same direction as the flow of the chocolate, they could make the chocolate more viscous, thus less prone to clogging.

Applying the electric field also reduced the fat content in the chocolate from around 32 to 58 percent to somewhere between 40 and 60 percent.

A paper on the study was published at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, where Tao explained that normally the fat solids in chocolate are strewn about randomly. When the electric field is applied, the fat solids band together to form long chains that allows them to flow freely.

"The treated chocolate has wonderful taste," said Tao on Temple University's news page. "Some people even claim that the ER-treated chocolate has a slightly stronger cocoa flavor, better than the original chocolate."