Scientists put Defence Force chocolate energy bar to the test
Tasmanian scientists are testing a chocolate bar designed to help soldiers fight for longer without frequent meal breaks.
Eating under combat conditions is no picnic but it is hoped the new chocolate bar might make it a little tastier.
The bar has been developed by the Centre for Food Innovation, which is a collaboration between the University of Tasmania, the CSIRO and the Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG), which has a laboratory at Scottsdale in north-east Tasmania.
DSTG’s Paul Capella said the extended energy bar was designed to provide energy over an longer time period, instead of an instant sugar hit.
“We need food that’ll release energy slowly so they can remain focused and alert while on extended missions,” he said.
“The question is time and having the opportunity to sit down and eat.”
The bars contain flour made from green bananas and plantains.
The Centre for Food Innovation’s director, Professor Roger Stanley, said the unripe fruit contained a resistant starch, which takes longer to digest than sugar from ripe fruit.
“You do have sugars come through and you’ll get the sugar hit, but that will be over in about about two to three hours, whereas when it moves through to the large intestine, we expect a much longer delay and energy production over extended periods, which may be up to 10 to 12 hours.”
Chocolate may also help prevent troop illness
University of Tasmania PhD student Tanvi Shinde is also testing whether the bars could incorporate prebiotics and probiotics, which help improve gut health and prevent conditions like irritable bowel disease and colitis.
They can also boost immunity.