Although carob powder is somewhat bland compared to chocolate, carob improves upon chocolate in a number of beneficial ways:
- Carob is stimulant-free and requires no additional sweetening, while cocoa contains the potent caffeine-like stimulant, theobromine, and requires the addition of a sweetener - one reason why carob has only one third the calories of chocolate.
- Another is that carob is virtually fat-free (100 g - a bit more than 3-oz - contain less than a gram of fat). In contrast, even low-fat cocoa contains 8 g of fat per 100 g, and high-fat cocoa delivers a whopping 23.7 g of fat, much of it saturated, in 100 g.
- Both carob and low-fat cocoa powders are low in sodium and high in potassium-a desirable quality for individuals with high blood pressure or congestive heart failure, whereas cocoas with moderate to high fat content are often quite high in sodium since they are typically processed with an alkali to enable them to dissolve in water.
- Both carob and cocoa contain calcium, but carob provides twice the amount of calcium found in cocoa (290 mg in 100 g of carob versus 123 to 153 mg in 100 g of cocoa). Plus, unlike cocoa, carob contains no oxalic acid, which interferes with calcium absorption.
- Carob pods are also free of phenylethylamines, small nitrogen-containing molecules found in chocolate that, in susceptible individuals, can trigger migraines.
- Also unlike cocoa, carob powder is high in protein and rich in fiber, particularly pectin.