Milk chocolate may have had its heyday in the candy aisles once upon a time, but it's long since lost its cool quotient. Meanwhile, dark chocolate's star keeps rising. We get it: Dark chocolate has endless flavor nuances, and some proven health benefits. But if you prefer your chocolate a little sweeter, there's no shame in going the milk route—even if you get the side-eye at the artisanal chocolate shop down the street. And now, according to a new study, milk chocolate may soon start rivaling dark chocolate on the health front.
A study recently published in the Journal of Food Science found that peanut skins—a normal waste byproduct of peanut-processing—can give milk chocolate some of the antioxidant properties typically associated with dark chocolate. When a powder made from peanut skins and maltodextrin, an edible carbohydrate with a natural sweetness, gets added to milk chocolate, the taste stays the same (according to subjects in the study) but the chocolate gets a nutritional and antioxidant boost. Researchers involved in the study say this added nutritional value is comparable to that of dark chocolate.
Some experts are skeptical. “While this study seems encouraging to milk chocolate lovers, the addition of phenolic compounds from peanut skins cannot offer an equal substitute for all of the compounds found in dark chocolate,” Dr. Jennifer Stagg, author of Unzip Your Genes: 5 Choices to Reveal a Radically Radiant You, tells The Feast.
“Antioxidants protect DNA against oxidative damage, while compounds that act as epigenetic modifiers influence how our genes are expressed. While there would be health benefits seen in the new and improved milk chocolate, the dark chocolate would still come out on top,” adds Dr. Stagg.
But still, even slightly better-for-you milk chocolate? We'll take it.
As for how this enhanced milk chocolate would play out for those with peanut allergies? That’s still TBD, the study says.
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