Chocolate comes in countless forms and can even contain different amounts of cocoa and other ingredients. Understanding some of these variations comes down to science, and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) serves an essential role in analyzing the individual compounds within chocolate samples.
By breaking down chocolate into its individual chemicals, HPLC professionals ensure that wrappers display true information to customer making a purchase. Let’s take a closer look, therefore, at why it’s so important to test this globally popular dessert.
Analysis Has Uncovered Hidden Health Benefits in Chocolate
The belief that chocolate could help people live longer seems like a bit of a fairytale, but graduates of HPLC courses may know there is science behind the statement. Polyphenols are a type of micro-nutrient found in chocolate, and flavanoids are a beneficial sub-category. These flavanoids, sometimes referred to as Vitamin P, are found in fruit and vegetables, tea, and cocoa. Catechins and epicatechins are the two flavanoids which carry health benefits, including cardiovascular disease prevention and reduced cholesterol.
These advantages are most commonly found in dark chocolate, which has a higher cocoa content. It has been discovered that milk reduces the impact of polyphenols, meaning that milk chocolate doesn’t carry the same health benefits. HPLC equipment can be helpful in determining catechin or epicatechin content, helping health-conscious customers make a more informed decision about what type of chocolate to buy.
Pros With HPLC Training Can Even Discover the Origin of a Chocolate Sample
Consumers have become much more skeptical about the origins of their food in recent years, leading to growth in the organic sector. Artisan chocolate is also a recent success story, and its success lies in its transparency. The origin of cocoa used in such a product is often printed on its packaging, and this offers more information to customers who may want to know about the farmers and producers behind it.
Professionals with HPLC certification know how to use chromatography equipment to find the origin of cocoa beans used in chocolate products. Polyphenols are again a key focus during this sort of analysis, because they can be used to generate profiles which associate samples with specific locations and specific bean types. Chocolate prices vary hugely, and organic varieties usually carry a higher price tag. Analysis is therefore essential to ensure that producers are displaying factually correct information to customers at all times. Otherwise, they could unknowingly be wasting their hard earned money on a product that isn’t what it claims to be.
HPLC Is Commonly Used to Analyze Caffeine Content in Chocolate
Caffeine is a much-loved stimulant many will consume through energy drinks or a cup of coffee. However, caffeine can unfortunately come with several harmful side effects such as insomnia and increased heart rate. Because chocolate is known to contain some small amounts of caffeine, it’s important for professionals to determine whether chocolate may have such an impact on the body.
HPLC has found that the stimulatory effect caused by caffeine in chocolate is largely insignificant, as a typical cocoa bean has less than 1/20th of the caffeine present in its coffee equivalent. In fact, theophyllines and theobromines, both found in cocoa, are believed to be more significant stimulants within chocolate than caffeine. HPLC has therefore played an important role in quashing myths surrounding caffeine quantity in chocolate products.
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