To Carob or To Chocolate? That is the question!
Although carob and chocolate seem very similar at first glance, they are quite different. Each strutting their own unique nutritional and taste profile.
To determine the differences and which is better for you, it's more of a comparison between carob and cocoa (the secret sauce behind chocolate).
So, grab your popcorn (or carob chips if you're feeling adventurous) and discover carob vs. chocolate when it comes to taste, nutrients, sugar, carbs, calories, fat, fiber, and those cheeky stimulants that keep us buzzing.
CAROB VS. CHOCOLATE
THE DIFFERENCE IN FLAVOR
Carob and chocolate both have distinct taste profiles and are not similar in taste. You may be surprised or deeply disappointed (sorry!) when you expect carob to be an exact replacement for your guilty pleasure, chocolate.
Cocoa (and chocolate): Cocoa has an intense, round flavor but is very bitter if not mixed with sweeteners. Not what we're after!
Carob: Carob is naturally sweeter with a slightly nutty taste and less bitter than chocolate. It does, however, not have that luxurious taste like chocolate.
This makes carob an excellent option for people with diabetes or those who wish to eat less sugar.
The winner: This is up to you, but carob gets our vote 'cause it is naturally sweeter.
MINERALS & NUTRIENTS
Cocoa: Cocoa is higher in magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and phosphorus.
Two tablespoons of cocoa provide 1.6 milligrams of iron and 409 micrograms of copper. In contrast, carob contains a mere 0.4 milligrams of iron and 69 micrograms of copper.
Two tablespoons of cocoa also provide 81 milligrams of magnesium and 80 milligrams of phosphorus. In contrast, carob provides only 6 milligrams of magnesium and 9 milligrams of phosphorus.
Carob: Carob is, however, higher in folate and calcium; it contains about three times more calcium than cocoa.
Both contain other essential vitamins, like vitamins A and B.
The winner: Cocoa, because we want all the minerals we can get!
SUGAR & CARBOHYDRATES
Ooh, these are the biggies most always fret about. Another distinctive difference between carob and chocolate is the carbohydrate and sugar content.
Cocoa: Cocoa powder contains 16 grams of carbohydrates and 0 grams of sugar per ounce.
Carob: Carob flour contains 25 grams of carbohydrates and 14 grams of sugar per ounce.
However, you won't eat plain carob or cocoa powder, right? That's just not tasty at all... So this comparison will come down to the added ingredients that will alter the sugar and carbohydrate content.
A chocolate bar may contain sugar and milk to offset its bitter taste. Or carob-coated nuts may contain loads of added fat to mimic the richness of chocolate. It's imperative to carefully examine the labels to compare them.
The winner: Looking at the sugar and carbohydrate content in its raw state, cocoa wins.
STIMULANTS & CAFFEINE
One of the most crucial differences between carob and chocolate or cocoa is the stimulants they contain and their caffeine content. You know, those that keep us jittery and awake!
Cocoa: Cocoa and chocolate contain caffeine and theobromine, which are stimulants and can become addictive. Some people can be very sensitive to these and experience headaches, jitters, poor sleep quality, and acne.
Chocolate also contains oxalic acid, which can inhibit mineral absorption and cause kidney stones.
Carob: Carob contains no caffeine, theobromine, oxalic acid, or other stimulants. This makes it a fantastic alternative for people with heart rate, sleep, or blood pressure problems.
The winner: If caffeine makes you go a bit crazy, carob is the way to go!
Both carob and cacao can boast about having high antioxidant content. The two main bioactive plant antioxidant compounds are polyphenols and flavonoids. Antioxidants are crucial for neutralizing oxygen-based free radicals and toxins in your body.
However, cocoa seems to take the cake (no pun intended). According to Cornell University food scientists, a cup of hot cocoa has up to three times the antioxidants found in a cup of green tea.
The winner: Cocoa beats carob in this category.
Carob and cocoa powder both contain approximately 25 calories in 2-tablespoon servings.
They can both be enjoyed in a balanced diet, as they make up less than 2 percent of your daily calorie intake if you follow a standard 2,000-calorie diet. We like the sound of that!
The winner: Both
Cocoa: 1 Ounce of pure cacao powder contains 4 grams of fat, while 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate contains 15 grams.
Carob: 1 Ounce of pure carob powder contains 0 fat.
Carefully examine the labels, as both carob and cacao/chocolate products can contain hydrogenated, refined fats. The best is to buy raw carob or chocolate powders and make your own treats at home to avoid refined fats and added sugars. Yes, homemade for the win!
The winner: Carob in its pure form is great if you follow a low-fat diet.
Both carob and cocoa are excellent sources of dietary fiber that can help with constipation, regulate blood sugar levels, and lower cholesterol.
Cocoa: 1 Ounce of carob powder provides around 4.8 grams of fiber.
Carob: 1 ounce of carob powder provides around 11 grams of fiber.
Carob is great if you have digestive issues, as carob's tannins dry the digestive tract, helping tackle toxins and preventing harmful bacterial growth in the intestines.
The winner: Definitely carob, because we can all do with a little bit of extra fiber, right?
carob vs. chocolate - so which is better?
Looking at our comparison above, it is a win for carob with a score of 5 to 4. But only because of the naturally sweet taste of carob. The pros and cons of both make it a tie.
Both offer unique benefits and drawbacks, and both are okay for enjoying as a sweet treat. Remember, this is the case when they are minimally processed and can significantly change depending on the other ingredients used.
The sensitivity to caffeine and theobromine will also be a deciding factor.
Also, dark chocolate may be better if you're watching carbs. And if you're trying to cut back on fat, carob is the healthier choice.
When trying to eat healthily and cut out excess fat or sugar, you'll want to look at the ingredients of any sweet treat. Always carefully read any chocolate or carob product's ingredients and nutritional content lists.
Carob and cocoa both have their place, and it will come down to personal preference and the need to avoid stimulants.
Just know that carob may not please everyone's taste buds. Instead, view it as a unique alternative rather than expecting carob to replace your beloved chocolate.
HOW TO USE CAROB
If you are looking for something to satisfy your sugar cravings, carob will do the trick as it is naturally sweet. You could sweeten it even more with stevia, if you wish.
In any recipe, you can replace cocoa powder or chocolate with a carob replacement in a one-to-one ratio to still enjoy your favorites like fudge, cake, chocolate milkshakes, cookies, and brownies.
If you want to gradually get used to the taste of carob or keep the rich taste of chocolate, swap out 50% of the cocoa with a suitable carob replacement, i.e., powder or chips.
We have a wide variety of carob products suitable for whatever use you need them for.
Some of our favorites include: