The reason chocolate feels good to eat has been uncovered by researchers at the University of Leeds.
Scientists analysed the process that takes place when the treat is eaten and focused on texture rather than taste.
They claim that where the fat lies within the chocolate helps to create its smooth and enjoyable quality.
Dr Siavash Soltanahmadi led the study and hopes the findings will lead to the development of a “next generation” of healthier chocolate.
When chocolate is put in the mouth, the surface of the treat releases a fatty film that makes it feel smooth.
But the researchers claim fat deeper inside the chocolate plays a more limited role and therefore the amount could be reduced without the feel or sensation of chocolate being affected.
Prof Anwesha Sarkar, from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds, said 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”.
Dr Soltanahmadi said: “Our research opens the possibility that manufacturers can intelligently design dark chocolate to reduce the overall fat content.”
The team used an artificial “3D tongue-like surface” that was designed at the University of Leeds to carry out the study and researchers hope the same equipment could be used to investigate other foods that change texture, such as ice cream, margarine and cheese.