Nestlé says it can cut sugar in chocolate, but not the taste

Kit Kat - has more than 2000kj per 100g, at least for now (Getty)
Kit Kat - has more than 2000kj per 100g, at least for now (Getty)

Love chocolate, but hate what it does to your body? Here's some news to savour.

Nestlé says it has found a way to cut the sugar content of its chocolate by 40 percent, without changing the taste or resorting to artificial sweeteners.

It's patented the "truly groundbreaking" technique, and plans to have the new chocolate on shelves by 2018.

"Our scientists have discovered a completely new way to use a traditional, natural ingredient," said Stefan Catsicas, Nestlé  chief technology officer.

The company says it has "found a way to structure sugar differently". It apparently dissolves more quickly, so "your tongue perceives an almost identical sweetness to before".

Presently, the company's Kit Kat bars are 49 percent sugar. If Nestlé's claims are correct, that would reduce to just under 30 percent, saving chocolate lovers about 307kj in energy per 100g.

White chocolate can contain up to 60 percent sugar, while dark chocolate typically contains much less.

Food scientist Prof Julian Cooper told the BBC Nestlé's advance could spur an arms race amongst confectionery manufacturers.

"A patent is a double-edged sword. Although it protects what you have done, it also tells your rivals about it."

Artificial sweeteners contain next to no energy at all, but often leave unwanted aftertastes and have been linked to overeating.