carob vs chocolate

Most of us know carob in the form of small brown chips at the local ice cream or frozen yogurt shop. They look like chocolate, but as chocolate lovers know, they’re definitely not chocolate. In many health food spheres, carob, in powdered or solid form, is often used as a substitute for chocolate in anything from baked goods and hot chocolate to dry rubs and sauces. Let’s take a look at this supposed imposter and answer, is it Paleo?

What is Carob?

Carob is most commonly found in the form of powdered carob or carob chips. It is the fleshy fruit in the pod of a legume that grows on the small Mediterranean carob tree. This flesh is deseeded, dried, roasted, and ground into a light powder, and often blended with sweeteners, oils, and sometimes milk to form a chip shape.

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These carob chips have a unique flavor, somewhat similar to chocolate, but not as rich or decadent as the real deal. Carob is naturally sweeter and less bitter than chocolate, meaning less sugar is typically added to the final product. The chips have much more of a roasted flavor, and are commonly used in savory-sweets, like breads and trail mixes.

The interesting thing to note about carob is that coming from a legume, you’d assume it isn’t Paleo. However, it is the seeds found nested in the carob flesh that contain the bulk of defense mechanisms and anti-nutrients such as phytic acid. We don’t eat the seeds; we eat the fleshy fruit in the pod itself. So if you don’t have to worry about these anti-nutrients, does that mean it’s Paleo?

Is Carob Paleo?

Yes! While carob is not really significant source of most vitamins and nutrients, it is high in protein and fiber, and low in sugar. The high fiber might not be great for those with IBS or other GI problems, but we agree with Mark’s Daily Apple. It is a safe component of a Paleo lifestyle.

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Are you struggling with which foods are Paleo?  Do you need help planning some Paleo meals?  Check out this great Paleo cookbook:

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