Australia’s latest secret weapon is a healthy, high-energy chocolate bar designed to give soldiers more than just nutrition.
The bittersweet treat is a collaboration between the CSIRO, the Defence Science Technology Group and the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Food Innovation being revealed tonight in Launceston for the event Can “Functional” Foods Make You Faster, Smarter and Stronger?
The bar is designed to be eaten quickly in combat situations to keep soldiers going over a long period.
Some of the techniques and ingredients are top secret but one of the keys, centre director Roger Stanley said, was flour made from green bananas destined for the bin.
“The flour is starch resistant, which means it is not digested in your small intestines, which delays the release of energy,” Stanley told The Huffington Post Australia.
“Before someone invented a thing called fire, a lot of our starch was raw, and thus resistant.”
Green Bananas contain resistant starch. Picture: Getty Images
Banana flour has largely been used by celiacs for its gluten free properties but Stanley predicted their supplier might want to consider scaling up production.
“It’s got great potential in delivering a slow release of energy instead of a glucose spike that you might get from Coke.”
However, as Stanley said, “no one wants to eat a spoonful of flour”, so it’s been mixed with antioxidant-rich chocolate, and a few other goodies including probiotics like those found in Yakult.
“It’s now understood probiotics assist in recovery but also helps the immune system and controls permeability of the gut,” Stanley said.
“A student is working on how to incorporate probiotics in the bar without needing refrigeration.
“This bar is an example of research that will hopefully stimulate people to think differently about the hype and the science of functional foods,” Stanley said.
As for plans to get your hands on one of these bars, you won’t have to enlist.
“We’ve already shipped out a few hundred for testing,” Stanley said.
“We’re in talks with producers who would be looking at marketing them for athletes and high performance.”