Everyone is familiar with chocolate and has probably tasted it at least once. But if you have yet to explore the shelves of your nearby health food store, you probably aren’t familiar with carob.
Carob is a sustainable and environmentally friendly superfood packed with nutrients and antioxidants, making it environmentally friendlier and healthier alternative to chocolate.
The demand for nutritious, natural foods has skyrocketed as consumers worldwide become more concerned with what they eat and how it is sourced. Carob falls right into those natural foods categories.
It is difficult for chocolate lovers to find a substitute that replicates the flavor, texture, and melt-in-your-mouth feel as a delicious treat.
Carob is a Potential Chocolate Substitute
It is made from the tree “Ceratonia siliqua” seed pods. Due to its inherent sweetness, it first gained popularity as a chocolate alternative in the 1980s. It was widespread at the time, promoted as “healthy,” and recognized as a component of early vegetarianism and a healthy way of life. Now that people realize how beneficial this chocolate alternative is, demand is on the rise again.
Carob powder is rich in fiber, calcium, and protein, in addition to many other health advantages and nutritional qualities, making it a desirable alternative to chocolate.
People are replacing chocolate with carob because, unlike cocoa, carob has no caffeine or theobromine. Both compounds (members of the methylxanthines family) are stimulants. Caffeine predominantly affects the nervous system, whereas theobromine affects the cardiac and pulmonary systems.
Compared to chocolate, which contains more fat and caffeine, this vegan, gluten-free, and naturally sweet substitute has 25 calories, no cholesterol, no saturated fat, and 6 g of carbohydrates per tablespoon. It is simple to understand why carob is undergoing massive popularity.
Carob has three times the calcium level of cocoa powder, a high iron concentration, and is said to lower cholesterol.
According to a 2010 study about insoluble carob fiber and its effects on cholesterol, carob fiber (rich in polyphenols) intake lowered blood cholesterol in just four weeks for participants.
Carob also has antioxidants that combat free radicals and kill cancer cells. Whis was investigated in a study on anti-cancer activity and phenolic content of extracts derived from Cypriot carob.
Additionally, people use carob instead of chocolate because it helps compress your appetite, makes you feel fuller, and thus helps in weight management.
Is Carob the Same as Chocolate?
Carob, like chocolate, can be utilized in various ways. It is a well-liked chocolate alternative for people who avoid caffeine. It resembles chocolate in appearance, texture, and how it works in recipes.
Carob has a nutty flavor. Therefore, carob powder or carob chips can replace equivalent amounts of cocoa powder or chocolate chips in recipes. However, you should test half of each at first to get a feel for the carob’s distinct flavor. Additionally, carob chips do not possess the same reliability as chocolate chips.
Therefore, carob might be worthwhile because it is a close enough and healthier substitute for chocolate.
Does Carob Really Taste Like Chocolate?
Carob doesn’t taste exactly like chocolate. Plain carob powder may be preferred in a taste test compared to unsweetened cocoa powder because it is sweeter.
But be clear-headed. The taste of the two powders differs significantly, and using carob in place of cocoa will not make a product that tastes “exactly like chocolate.”
How Do You Make Carob Taste Like Chocolate?
If you’re looking for ways to make carob taste like chocolate, there are a few things you can do.
The secret to making it taste like chocolate is to add one or two teaspoons of instant coffee or any other coffee substitute, like the barley or chicory-based “coffee” powders.
Another option might be to add some vanilla extract or almond milk for extra flavor.
The hard pods work great as a stirring spoon in hot tea or coffee, and the resulting mush is tasty.
You may add some cocoa powder or cocoa nibs to your recipe, so it doesn’t taste like plain carob!
Is Carob Better For You Than Chocolate?
Although carob and chocolate taste similar, carob is better for you than chocolate when looking at nutritional values. Caffeine, fat, and cholesterol are all higher in chocolate. Carob has more calcium and potassium than chocolate. On the other hand it has more carbs, and less iron and magnesium than chocolate.
Let’s dive deeper and compare chocolate vs. carob on different levels.
Chocolate is better if you’re watching your carb intake. But, at the same time, carob is preferable if you’re trying to cut your fat and/or calorie intake.
Carob is better than chocolate for those who are allergic or want to avoid chocolate’s caffeine.
Carob, unlike conventional chocolate, doesn’t affect calcium absorption and is thought to help treat mouth sores and diarrhea in addition to its nutrient content (such as a good source of iron, niacin, thiamin, magnesium, riboflavin, calcium, and other minerals). To learn more about nutrients in carob, I suggest an in-depth study about the nutritional characterization of carobs and traditional carob products.
On the other hand, if you pick carob, you sacrifice all of the health benefits of chocolate. This includes the flavanols, which, according to a study on how cocoa flavanols lower blood pressure and increase blood vessel function in healthy people, are beneficial for blood circulation. So it’s no surprise that chocolate always makes us happy because it’s rich in mood-enhancing compounds like serotonin and endorphins.
Is Carob Better Than Chocolate For Diabetics?
Carob contains less sugar and less fat than chocolate. It’s a fantastic option for those who want to avoid blood sugar spikes. According to research, carob has a very low glycemic index and is safe for those who have diabetes.
In fact, a 2017 study indicated that carob’s fiber content can really aid in regulating blood sugar. 50 healthy adults with normal weights participated in the experiment by being instructed to have a carob snack before lunch.
The researchers took blood samples from each participant at the start of the day, 2 hours after breakfast, right before the carob snack, 2 hours after their carob snack, 3 hours after their carob snack, and just before and after lunch.
Researchers found that carob stabilized blood sugar levels, reducing the glycemic response to lunch meals.
Is Carob Less Fattening Than Chocolate?
While carob itself doesn’t cause fattening, carob-containing foods might.
Since carob is low in calories and nutrients in its natural state, you may lose weight by replacing high-calorie, high-fat sweets with carob. The reason for this could be found in all the fiber in the carob.
According to a study, adding dietary fiber to the diets of obese individuals has resulted in considerable weight control benefits. In addition, by improving appetite control, fiber enables you to feel full on fewer calories.
However, consuming large quantities of carob powder, carob chips, or baked items containing carob can cause weight gain, like eating other chocolate-based foods.
Sugary, calorie-dense foods, such as cakes, cookies, and sweets, are tempting to overeat and thus more likely to upset blood sugar balance. This way, they raise the risk of between-meal cravings, weight gain, and diseases linked to obesity, like type 2 diabetes.
Is Carob Vegan Chocolate?
Yes, carob is often considered vegan chocolate. Carob pulp is dried and ground to make carob powder. It is vegan and is a fantastic dairy-free alternative if you have lactose intolerance or decide to live a vegan lifestyle.
Although carob is made without dairy products, certain carob products can contain dairy. Therefore, always read the label.
In short, carob is an excellent chocolate substitute for those who suffer from cocoa allergies or want to avoid consuming sugar and fat in the form of chocolate. Additionally, carob is full of many great health benefits.
So, whether you’re looking for new fun food to try out or are trying to cut down on the sugar in your diet, carob can be your go-to chocolate alternative.
Although carob does have a distinct taste, it is just a short distance from chocolate for people who consume it frequently. The more you know carob, the more likely you will enjoy it.