Chocolate vs. Carob

Author, Uncredited

Chocolate, the beloved confection consumed by people of all ages throughout the world, is often touted as healthful. Its widespread popularity can be better understood once we examine chocolate’s chemical nature. Due to its high amount of stimulants, namely methylxanthines and sugar, this compound is almost irresistible to many — precluding it as a health food.

Methylxanthines are a class of chemicals which act upon the central nervous system, stimulate the myocardium, relax smooth muscle, and promote diuresis. The most well-known methylxanthines in chocolate are Theobromine and Caffeine. Both behave as stimulants in the body, and have the ability to negatively alter the cell’s protoplasm. They can also lead to problems with balance, racing heart, insomnia, fatigue, finger tremor, and even an unexplained sense of dread and misery. Heart disease, diabetes, allergies, and fluid retention are exacerbated by eating chocolate. Cancer is also more common in methylxanthine users.

A healthful substitute for chocolate is carob, made from the pods of the carob tree. Carob has a noteworthy nutritional profile, consisting of 8% protein, 46% natural sugar, some B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It is also a rich source of pectin, a type of plant fiber that aids in digestion and elimination. Chocolate, unlike carob, is highly processed, high in fat, and contains several additives such as milk and sugar in order to mask its naturally bitter taste. In contrast, carob has one-third less calories, three times more calcium, and seventeen times less fat than chocolate. Carob is overall superior to chocolate in its effects upon the human body.

Source: From the October 2017,
Uchee Pines Newsletter, "Emphasis: Your Health". You may subscribe to the Uchee Pines Newsletter here.