Electrorheology Leads to Healthier and Tastier Chocolate

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jul 5;113(27):7399-402. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1605416113. Epub 2016 Jun 20.


Chocolate is one of the most popular food types and flavors in the world. Unfortunately, at present, chocolate products contain too much fat, leading to obesity. Although this issue was called into attention decades ago, no actual solution was found. To bypass this critical outstanding problem, two manufacturers introduced some low-calorie fats to substitute for cocoa butter. Somehow, their products are not allowed in most countries. Here we show that this issue is deeply related to the basic science of soft matter, especially to the viscosity of liquid suspension and maximally random jammed (MRJ) density. When the concentration of cocoa solid is high, close to the MRJ density, removing a small amount of fat will jam the chocolate flow. Applying unconventional electrorheology to liquid chocolate with applied field in the flow direction, we aggregate the cocoa particles into prolate spheroids in micrometers. This microstructure change breaks the rotational symmetry, reduces liquid chocolate's viscosity along the flow direction, and increases its MRJ density significantly. Hence the fat level in chocolate can be effectively reduced. We are expecting a new class of healthier and tastier chocolate soon.

Keywords: electrorheology; fat in chocolate; liquid chocolate; maximum random jammed density; viscosity.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chocolate*
  • Electricity*
  • Food-Processing Industry / instrumentation
  • Food-Processing Industry / methods*