Sugar-free milk chocolate can carry functional properties with inulin best by using sugar substitute maltitol, according to a study.
Research published by Nevzart Konar in the European Food Research and Technology journal concluded that the prebiotic benefits of inulin could be best obtained in sugar-free milk chocolate with maltitol compared to sugar alternative isomalt.
Low calorie milk chocolate
Prebiotics such as inulin stimulate growth of bacteria that can improve bowel functions and boost immunity.
The research could be of interest to chocolate makers looking to satisfy increasingly health-conscious consumers.
“The findings show that the use of prebiotic ingredients instead of sugar could lead to the production of low-calorie milk chocolate without the undesirable textural and physiological effects,” said Konar.
Maltitol gives best properties
“Maltitol used in the study was notable in terms of both the results it produces in terms of color, hardness and rheological properties that are more acceptable and closer to those of fine sugar than isomalt,” he said.
Konar was able to produce a prebiotic milk chocolate with maltitol that contained 2.40 Kcal/g and was around 90% as sweet as a sugar version.
Inulin has 10% the sweetness of sucrose so can act as a partial sugar replacer, said the study.
The experiment used inulin and isomalt from Beneo and maltitol from French supplier Roquette.
Konar also measured different conching temperatures, which he said would be important in the production process as samples could be negatively affected by temperature.
Conching is the mixing process for chocolate that refines its taste and texture. Samples were conched at 50, 55 and 60°C for 270 minutes.
Potential for manufacturers
“Within the past few years, increasing health and nutrition care and public demands have motivated the production of low-calorie, low-fat and reduced sugar products,” said Konar.
“Combining sweeteners with fibres and prebiotic compounds (e.g. inulin) and their applications in the production of dietetic foods are promising applications,” he concluded.
Eur Food Res Technol
‘Influence of conching temperature and some bulk sweeteners on physical and rheological properties of prebiotic milk chocolate containing inulin’
Author: Nevzat Konar