The global chocolate market is expected to reach more than $180 billion by 2025 from just $137 billion in 2019.
With chocolate widely described as one of the most addictive types of food, scientists at Leeds University in the United Kingdom revealed the reasons for why it is a guilty pleasure for many.
An interdisciplinary research team found the secret is in the feeling of chocolate when being consumed, citing its transformation from solid to soft as the prime reason.
“During the moments it is in the mouth, the chocolate sensation arises from the way the chocolate is lubricated, either from ingredients in the chocolate itself or from saliva or a combination of the two,” the university said, explaining the consumption process.
The research centered on tribology, the study of interacting surfaces, in which it analysed liquids from the chocolate.
Researchers analysed the process from A-Z, starting with when the chocolate comes into contact with the tongue, to the release of solid cocoa particles. The researchers believe that the findings could pave the way for the creation of healthy chocolate that maintains the same sensation.
“If a chocolate has 5% fat or 50% fat it will still form droplets in the mouth and that gives you the chocolate sensation. However, it is the location of the fat in the make-up of the chocolate which matters in each stage of lubrication, and that has been rarely researched,” Anwesha Sarkar, Professor of Colloids and Surfaces in the School of Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds, explained.
So good yet so bad
Various research has pointed to the pros and cons of chocolate, many of which agree that it is the go-to source of comfort food for many.
The global chocolate market is expected to reach more than $180 billion by 2025 from just $137 billion in 2019, per market reports.
One common downside of chocolate is the sugar and fat it contains, especially in milk chocolate or other types that have been processed.
Research also proved that chocolate is more calorie-dense than other snack while containing high saturated fat, increasing the chance of cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
On the other hand, dark chocolate, which is less processed, has more health benefits due to its healthy compounds.
Analysing the overall benefits of chocolate, nutritionists said that the food contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties while serving as a cognition and mood booster.