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Chocolate and Carob

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  • Chocolate and Carob

    We have been receiving questions about Chocolate and Carob as a substitute.

    I thought perhaps it might help if we use this thread to discuss all things Chocolate or Carob. Please post any information that you might find or have experienced with Chocolate and Carob.

    I seem to be able to eat chocolate as long as I do not over due it..

  • #2

    This info taken from: [url][/url]

    If chocolate tastes so good, it has to be bad for you, right? Wrong. Not only does chocolate pack positive health benefits, but also recent research has cleared chocolate of blame in several problems it's often accused of causing.

    The latest scientific verdicts:

    Source of good antioxidants

    Chocolate contains the same type of disease-fighting "phenolic" chemicals as red wine and fruits and vegetables, says Andrew Waterhouse of the University of California at Davis.

    He found 205 milligrams of phenolics in a 1.5 ounce chocolate bar -- that's about the same as in a 5-ounce glass of cabernet. Two tablespoons of cocoa powder has 145mg of phenolics. Dark chocolate has the most; white chocolate has none.

    These antioxidant phenolics combat cell damage leading to chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease. New Japanese tests show that phenolics extracted from chocolate suppressed cell-damaging chemicals and boosted immune functioning in human blood samples.

    Boosts brain chemicals

    More Americans crave chocolate than any other food. Some explanations: chocolate's "melt-in-the mouth" consistency and mood-lifting chemicals such as caffeine and theobromine. And when mixed with sugar and fat, chocolate appears to boost "feel-good" chemicals in the brain (endorphins and serotonin), thus promoting euphoria and calm. Some women use chocolate candy to "self-medicate" for premenstrual syndrome, studies have found.
    Also, researchers at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego recently found that chocolate contains anandamide, a chemical that mimics marijuana's soothing effects on the brain.

    Helps lactose intolerance

    Chocolate makes milk easier to digest if you are lactose-intolerant. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island found that adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of cocoa to 1 cup of milk blocked cramping, bloating and other signs of lactose intolerance in half of 35 subjects. Cocoa stimulates lactase enzyme activity, they found.


    • Chocolate, notably dark chocolate, is one of the few foods with a high content of chromium, ironically thought to help control blood sugar.
    • In tests, some animals tend to reduce intake of alcohol when given a chocolate drink as an option.
    • Tests show chocolate contains antibacterial compounds that may discourage, not promote, tooth decay.


    Doesn't raise cholesterol

    Surprisingly, the fat in chocolate (cocoa butter) does not raise cholesterol -- at least in men with normal cholesterol (under 200). When the men went on a month-long binge of cocoa butter or pure chocolate (equivalent to seven chocolate bars a day) their cholesterol did not rise. But it soared 18 points when they pigged out on butter.

    Doesn't cause acne

    Giving up chocolate won't cure acne or pimples, according to a famous test at the University of Pennsylvania. In the test, 65 acne-plagued adolescents ate the amount of chocolate in 1 pound of bittersweet chocolate a day for a month. For another month, they ate a dummy chocolate bar. Their acne was no worse on the real chocolate than on the fake chocolate.

    Doesn't cause most headaches

    Contrary to popular belief, chocolate is not a common trigger of headaches, says Dawn Marcus, of the University of Pittsburgh. In recent tightly controlled tests, she gave disguised chocolate (similar to a commercial candy bar) and carob (fake chocolate) to 63 women plagued by tension headaches, migraines or both. Half did not develop headaches within 12 hours of eating either. In the others, carob was just as apt to cause a headache as the chocolate.

    No link to hyperactivity

    Some contend that eating chocolate (or sugar) causes hyperactivity, aggression or other behavior problems, notably in children. But several scientific studies have found no evidence of that. In fact, some research finds sweets calm many children.


    Chocolate's greatest crime is that it usually is combined with animal fats, dangerous trans-fats and sugar in high-calorie, bad-fat baked goods. Plus, it:

    Can cause heartburn

    Chocolate is a common culprit in heartburn, according to tests by Donald O. Castell, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. The reason: Chocolate contains concentrations of theobromine, which relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle, letting stomach acid squirt up into the esophagus. If you suffer from heartburn, he advises, go easy on chocolate.

    Does contain caffeine

    Most people have no negative reaction to small amounts of caffeine. If you're sensitive, you should know how chocolate stacks up with caffeine sources:

    • 5 oz. brewed coffee has
    • 85mg caffeine
    • 5 oz. loose tea or 1 tea bag, 30mg
    • 6 oz. cola, 18mg
    • 1 oz. chocolate candy, 6mg
    • 5 oz. cocoa or hot chocolate, 4mg
    • 6 oz. chocolate milk, 4mg


    • #3

      Carob General Information

      Carob pods grow on evergreen trees mainly in the Mediterranean countries. The tree can grow up to 30 feet tall. It has compound leaves, green flowers and large violet-brown fruit (bean pods). Ancient Grecians called Carob the Egyptian fig and used it to treat stomach pain and promote digestion. The Egyptians used the sticky properties of Carob seed as an adhesive binder in the mummification process.

      The Romans ate the pods when they were green and fresh for its natural sweetness, and for centuries Carob pods have been eaten as a remedy for diarrhea. They also used the pods to expel worms.

      Carob was also used as a treatment for poor eyesight and eye infections. Carob is a healthy alternative to chocolate. It is caffeine free and is naturally sweet, therefore it has less sugar than chocolate. It is a good substitute for cocoa powder in recipes that call for cocoa. Carob is eighty percent protein and contains vitamins A, B, B2, B3, and D. It is rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Carob is also high in pectins, lignans, and tannins. The pods have laxative properties and the bark is astringent.


      • #4
        from an AP bulletin

        Chocolate Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

        Associated Press Writer

        February 28, 2006, 8:44 AM CST

        CHICAGO -- Leave it to the Dutch to help demonstrate the health benefits of chocolate. A study of older men in The Netherlands, known for its luscious chocolate, indicated those who ate the equivalent of one-third of a chocolate bar every day had lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of death.

        The researchers say, however, it's too early to conclude it was chocolate that led to better health. The men who ate more cocoa products could have shared other qualities that made them healthier. Experts also point out that eating too much chocolate can make you fat -- a risk for both heart disease and high blood pressure.

        "It's way too early to make recommendations about whether people should eat more cocoa or chocolate," said Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, who co-authored the study.

        Still, the Dutch study, supported by grants from the Netherlands Prevention Foundation, appears to be the largest so far to document a health effect for cocoa beans. And it confirms findings of smaller, shorter-term studies that also linked chocolate with lower blood pressure.

        The findings, published in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine, are based on data collected for more than a decade on Dutch men who were ages 65 and older in 1985. The long-running Zutphen Elderly Study has been used by other researchers to look for risk factors for chronic disease.

        This time, researchers examined the eating habits of 470 healthy men who were not taking blood pressure medicine. The men who ate the most products made from cocoa beans -- including cocoa drinks, chocolate bars and chocolate pudding -- had lower blood pressure and a 50 percent lower risk of death.

        The men ate the equivalent of about 10 grams of chocolate a day.

        Cocoa beans contain flavanols, which are thought to increase nitric oxide in the blood and improve the function of blood vessels.

        "This is a very important article providing epidemiological support for what many researchers have been observing in experimental models," said Cesar Fraga of the University of California Davis, who does similar research but was not involved in the new study.

        Buijsse noted the men eating the most cocoa products were not heavier or bigger eaters than the men who ate less cocoa.

        Could the study results apply to women?

        "Our study consisted of elderly men," Buijsse said. "If you look at the other interventional studies, you see the same effects in men and women, younger people and older people. It may be the findings are generalizable to women, but you never know."

        (Thistle's reponse: Since I am an active chocoholic, I am going to hope that future study will discover that the results apply to women if they consume double the amount of chocolate! )


        • #5
          Funny I found this! Just yesterday I was having a "chocolate"attack (pms), but knew I better not since I have GERD and my symptom is a sore throat, and my throat was hurting. So, I thought, why not try i settled on carob coated almonds. It was a 1/3 pd bag and yes, I ate the whole bag! My throat has been unbearable sore and inflammed ever since. The only thing that helps is taking a 5-day rx of steroids. I was on this site searching for other alternatives, but it looks like I'm going to call the dr and get an rx because I can't take the pain much longer. So, like I said, I was starting to feel a sore throat coming on before I ate the carob, but i think the carob just made it worse.


          • #6
            Choc gives me sore throats... causes my sinuses to drain... therefore the sore throat... I ate TONS of choc as a child and had constant chronic tonsilitis... it also keeps me up at night... of course that could be the sugar in it too... I love choc but it doesn't love me! and I don't agree AT ALL on the acne thing.... at least in my life... I can eat a snickers bar and the next day a break out is starting... at Easter time I always have bad skin.. and there is no way someones gonna tell me it's NOT the choc... HAHAHA I've seen it in my own kids too... two boys with terrible acne in their teens... one did Tetracycline like I did when I was in H.S. , my youngest did the Accutane round... same with coke products... my oldest has FINALLY all but stopped drinking his Mr. Pibb and has gone to water... his face is FINALLY clear... neither goes too crazy with the chocolate any more... but they did as teens.... THAT along with the raging hormones and WOW... Every derm and reg doc has said OH NO..CHOC AND SODA DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH BAD SKIN.... I beg to differ... at least with myself and my offspring....

            and oh myyyyyyyyyyy does choc bother my sternum... as in GERD... ouch!