Cacao vs. Carob
Thanks, everyone, for the great feedback from yesterdays post! I don’t label myself as any type of eater, but I do favor the vegan lifestyle. The title “vegan” is scary for most people. So I feel a sense of responsibility in opening their eyes to the simplicity, health, and taste that it provides. I loved reading your experiences trying vegan food or introducing friends to veg dishes. What a supportive group!
So yesterday while I was digging into to a carob, goji, cashew mix I started wondering the difference between my beloved superfood cacao powder and the other raw “chocolate” found in raw recipes carob. I’ve always favored cacao and will admit I actually have fewer experiences with carob. But I was starting to wonder if I was missing out on something, I decided to do some research and see the difference between the two. Here’s what I found:
- Like cacao, carob is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp. But their different plants and have different flavors.
- Unsweetened carob powder may be naturally sweeter than cocoa powder, but carob is not as flavorful as chocolate. It actually has a more bitter taste, making the cacao seem sweeter.
- Baking with carob may means less sugar, since carob powder is naturally sweeter than cocoa
- Both have equal parts of calories and fat.
- Cacao is RAGING with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (more antioxidants than any other plant food), making cacao a superfood.
- Cacao has also shown to stop artery-clogging plague, lower cancer risk, has cardiovascular benefits, and lowers cholesterol.
- Some people report adverse effects, like headache, jitteriness or allergic reactions to cacao– in this case carob is preferred.
- Cacao has mood enhancing chemicals: caffeine and theobromine that can be addicting.
- Carob is caffeine free (good for kids).
- Carob is more alkalizing for the body.
- If substituting one for the other in recipes: replace one part cocoa with 2-1/2 parts carob powder by weight is order to mimic the taste. But I’ve also done a 1:1 before and had no problems.
- Due to cacaos popularity, especially for making it into conventional chocolate, there are environmental and ethical issues present with harvesting cacao. Carob isn’t reported on, but I’d guess because it’s less used, it’s more fair. However, raw cacao is going to be prepared differently than commercial chocolate. Buying Fairtrade (or something of the sorts) may be a good idea.
So my personal conclusion is to use both. I would say cacao has more benefit, but potentially more negatives. While carob is good for you, but not as good for you; it is, however, a more balanced or alkalized food–which I like! I don’t know if we reached any conclusion on which is hands-down better. But I hope this info helps you too!