Is carob healthier than chocolate?

cocoa nib and chocolate next to carob pods with a vs made out of seeds and nibs

Carob is marketed as a healthy alternative to chocolate but is it really a better option? Healthy Food Guide compares the two sweet treats to see which is the best choice.

Carob comes from the pod of the carob tree. It’s naturally sweet and is usually sold as powder, chips, bars or syrup.

Chocolate is produced from fermented, roasted and ground cocoa seeds. Cocoa nibs are melted to create chocolate liquor which is blended with sugar and milk to make chocolate.

Energy (per 25g)

Carob contains 593kJ (129cal) vs chocolate which contains 560kJ (134cal)

Both carob and chocolate are high in energy, so eat them sparingly – about three to four squares is a sensible portion. If you eat a couple of rows you’ll easily consume more than 2000kJ (478cal)

Sugar (per 25g)

Carob contains 10.7g sugar vs chocolate which contains 14.3g.

Raw carob is naturally sweet, so carob products usually contain less added sugar than chocolate does (the cocoa in chocolate is slightly bitter).

Saturated fat (per 25g)

Carob contains 7.8g saturated fat vs chocolate which contains 4.7g.

Carob beans themselves have minimal fat but manufacturers add fat to bars, chips and blocks, just as they combine cocoa beans with fat to make chocolate. Check your carob bar’s ingredients list for hydrogenated oils, which are the fats you want to avoid.

The verdict

It’s a tie. Despite carob’s reputation as a healthy chocolate alternative, these sweet treats are equally matched. Both are high in energy, sugar and saturated fat, so choose the one whose taste you prefer and stick to a 25g portion.

First published: Jun 2021

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