The virtues of noshing on dark chocolate have long been extolled, but its more milquetoast cousin may now be able to capitalize on its health benefits—and it's all thanks to peanuts, the Independent reports. In a study published in the journal Food Science, scientists from North Carolina State University took samples of milk chocolate, infused them with a powder made out of phenolic compounds—substances that boast antioxidant abilities and can fend off cell damage from cancer, heart disease, and other conditions—from peanut skins, and found they were able to boost the milk chocolate's own levels of antioxidants. Not only that, but by mixing in maltodextrin powder (an artificial sweetener), they were able to tamp down the bitterness often found in dark chocolate and keep the milk chocolate satisfyingly sweet.
Their findings were based on a taste test administered to 80 people given samples of both regular milk chocolate and the peanut-skin-altered confections; the subjects liked both samples more or less equally. This research is also good news on the "one man's trash, another man's treasure" front: Peanut skins are currently nothing more than waste left behind after peanuts undergo the blanching process. "If applied to commercial products, peanut skin extracts would allow consumers to enjoy mild tasting products and have exposure to compounds that have proven health benefits," says lead author Lisa Dean, per a press release. One thing that still has to be researched, per Science Blog: whether the addition of the peanut skin compounds would be harmful to those with peanut allergies. (Dark chocolate may not be everything you thought.)