Milk chocolate is a consumer favorite worldwide, prized for its sweet flavor and creamy texture. This confection can be found in all types of treats, but it isn’t exactly health food. In contrast, dark chocolate has high levels of phenolic compounds, which can provide antioxidant health benefits, but it is also a harder, more bitter chocolate. Today, researchers report a new way to combine milk chocolate with waste peanut skins and other wastes to boost its antioxidant properties.
The researchers presented their results today at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo. ACS held the meeting through Thursday. It features more than 6,000 presentations on a wide range of science topics.
“The idea for this project began with testing different types of agricultural waste for bioactivity, particularly peanut skins,” says Lisa Dean, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator. “Our initial goal was to extract phenolics from the skins and find a way to mix them with food.”
When manufacturers roast and process peanuts to make peanut butter, candy and other products, they toss aside the papery red skins that encase the legume inside its shell. Thousands of tons of peanut skins are discarded each year, but since they contain 15% phenolic compounds by weight, they’re a potential goldmine of antioxidant bioactivity. Not only do antioxidants provide anti-inflammatory health benefits, they also help keep food products from spoiling.