Carob vs Chocolate: What’s the Difference?

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Carob and chocolate are seemingly similar foods but are, in fact, very different from each other. We all have tried chocolate and are big fans of its different types and flavours, but only a few of us are familiar with carob.

Carob usage dates back to Greece about 4000 years ago when the Greeks widely used it for medicinal purposes. Chocolate was founded by the Mayans (Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya people) and was used in bitter liquid form and used as a medicine too. It was until the mid-1800s that the idea of “solid chocolate” was introduced. We’ll cover the differences between carob and chocolate in this article, so let’s get to it!

What is Carob?

Carob is a tree that is grown in the Mediterranean regions and belongs to the legume family. It has various health benefits and was widely used in Greece and surrounding areas as medicine. It is quite versatile and is available in powdered form, liquid form, in the form of chips, as syrup, and even as pills.

Unlike chocolate, carob is naturally sweet and is an excellent substitute for chocolate or cocoa powder when baking cookies, brownies, cakes, or muffins. Because of its naturally sweet property, the carob does not require the addition of extra sugar when it is converted into powder. In the 19th century, British chemists would sell carob to singers because it would soothe their vocal cords, cleanse their throats, and improve performance!

Nutritional Information

100 grams of carob contains:

  • 222 calories
  • 7 g fat
  • 6 g protein
  • 89 g carbohydrates
  • 35 g sodium
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 827 mg potassium
  • 0 g caffeine
  • 34 % of the recommended daily calcium intake

Benefits and Uses

  1. Carob is commonly used in cosmetic products and medications as carob gum. The gum comes from the seeds of the carob tree and acts as a good binder or adhesive in skincare products.
  2. Carob is an excellent texture enhancer and is used in foods to improve their texture and make them more appealing.
  3. It contains plenty of fibre, indicating that the carob is good for diabetic individuals because of its ability to maintain blood sugar levels and low glycemic index.
  4. Because of its low-fat nature, it is also a great choice for people on weight-loss programs.
  5. Carob is low in sodium, and for this reason, it can be consumed by people who have high blood pressure/hypertension without any worries!
  6. It is also known to contain plenty of polyphenols that have high antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are essential to neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damage.
  7. According to a study by the US Department of Agriculture, the antioxidants in carob play a significant role in preventing biochemical disorders that are associated with ovariectomy and menopause.

What is Chocolate?

Chocolate was known as Xocolatl or Chocolhaa, meaning “bitter water” by the Mayans. Cacao was considered quite special in the Mesoamerican civilisations and was used in rather specific rituals, harvests, war, and funerals. In 1847, there was a British chocolate company called Fry and Sons that introduced the concept of consuming chocolate in solid form!

The chocolate we’re familiar with today is a lot different from the chocolate that came into being 4000 years ago. An interesting piece of information regarding “chocolate milk” is that it took about 8 years to develop its recipe! A Swiss chocolatier, Daniel Peter, spent almost a decade finding a suitable recipe for chocolate milk. It was until 1875 that he found the answer: condensed milk!

Germany is the most populated country in Europe and is the largest chocolate producing country, ahead of Belgium, Italy, and France. It sure is taking care of its sweet tooth! The volume of cocoa beans is rising in Europe, which means more reliance on regular trades with Nigerian and Ivory Coast cocoa import partners. Germany has different chocolates designed for special holidays, and that’s what makes it all the more precious.

Nutritional Information

100 grams of dark chocolate contains:

  • 546 calories
  • 9 g protein
  • 31 g total fat
  • 61 g carbohydrate
  • 24 mg sodium
  • 559 mg potassium
  • 8 mg cholesterol
  • 43 mg caffeine

Benefits and Uses

  1. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and is great for skin and cardiovascular health.
  2. Chocolate comes in many different forms and is a great ingredient in most bakery items like cakes, muffins, pies, etc.
  3. If taken in an adequate amount, chocolate can be good for brain functioning and healthier blood flow.
  4. Chocolate has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used as medicine in ancient times for minor ailments.
  5. Some studies indicate that consuming 48g of 70% real dark chocolate helps lower fasting glucose levels and also reduce insulin resistance.
  6. Dark chocolate reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by increasing HDL (good fat) levels and promoting healthier blood flow in arteries.

So What’s the Difference Between Carob and Chocolate?

To summarize everything we’ve covered so far, here are some key differences between carob and chocolate:

  • Chocolate has more calories than carob.
  • Carob has more carbohydrates than chocolate.
  • Carob has 0 g of caffeine, whereas chocolate contains 43 mg caffeine.
  • Carob has a greater amount of potassium than chocolate.
  • Chocolate is naturally bitter, while carob has a naturally sweet taste.
  • During processing, sugars are added in cacao powder to add sweetness to chocolate’s naturally bitter flavour. On the other hand, no sugars are added to the carob because of its already sweet taste.
  • Carob is low in fat, whereas chocolate is high in fat.
  • Many health-conscious people look for carob when they need a healthy replacement for chocolate. On the other hand, chocolate is more of a luxury food item that is famous for its different, flavorful types and unique taste.