Yum! Chocolate at Forefront of Two Scientific Discoveries

Scientists are developing a way to take the bitterness out of chocolate and coffee; and are on their way to making a “chocolate pill” for better heart health
Scientists are figuring out new ways to enjoy chocolate: in pill form, and without the bitterness.

Scientists are coming up with new ways to improve chocolate and new ways that chocolate can improve our lives? Now that’s some science that we can get behind. Penn State University researchers and MycoTechnology have developed mushroom-derived technology to take the bitterness out of chocolate. Meanwhile scientists at Harvard are looking at chocolate’s heart-healthy benefits, and may be developing a chocolate pill soon.

According to Food Navigator USA, the process is called ReishiSmooth, and it takes strains of mushrooms called mycelium and inserts them into coffee beans and cacao beans. The mushrooms naturally will “eat” the bitter compounds found in green coffee beans, resulting in more edible coffee and chocolate, according to MycoTechnology, which will be selling special chocolate, coffee beans, vanilla, grains and cereals enriched with these “bitter-eating mushrooms.”

“Mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with their food source,” MycoTechnology CEO Alan Hahn told Food Navigator USA. “They take something out of food, and they also give back.”

Of course everyone would want sweeter chocolate, but what if chocolate could actually be good for your heart too? Scientists at Harvard are studying the connection between eating chocolate and heart health. Studies of cocoa flavanols have come back with better blood pressure and cholesterol.

Check Out The Daily Meal's 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Chocolate (Slideshow)

"People eat chocolate because they enjoy it, not because they think it's good for them, and the idea of the study is to see whether there are health benefits from chocolate's ingredients minus the sugar and fat,” Dr. JoAnn Manson, preventive medicine chief at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston told The Huffington Post.

But don’t be rushing out to buy boxes of Hershey bars just yet. If scientists decide to roll out a chocolate pill, it will actually be flavorless, and only contain the nutrients found in chocolate. 

Joanna Fantozzi ias an Associate Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi.

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