Carob, we learn, seems to exist mostly for the chocolate-challenged, as it is caffeine-free and not associated with migraine headaches. It also contains more calcium. Though chocolate and carob contain nearly the same amount of fat and calories, their taste and texture are not the same and carob is considered less flavorful. Chocolate contains theobromine which can be fatal to dogs or cats; carob, “chocolate-flavored” treats are safe for your pets.
The carob tree is native to Sardinia, Italy, and it grew abundantly around the Mediterranean and Middle East as early as 4000 years ago. The Greeks introduced carob to Italy, and the Spaniards spread it to Mexico and South America. The Brits brought it to South Africa, India, and Australia.
Carob is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds. After drying, the pulp is roasted and ground into a powder that resembles cocoa powder. Cocoa powder and chocolate also come from a tropical pod containing beans for processing.
Just as cocoa powder and chocolate contain compounds thought to aid in good health, carob processors tout higher vitamin and mineral qualities. When taking into account calorie content, one must consider how sweet one requires their chocolate, in that white and milk chocolate are far sweeter than popular bittersweet blends. Also, carob is sweeter, requiring less sugar.
In short, if you enjoy your chocolate moderately sweet and have no adverse physical reactions to it, carob is not going to improve your life very much. On the other hand, if you are careless with your chocolate and have a rummaging Rover at home, keep things simple and switch to carob!