The carob is an eastern Mediterranean evergreen tree of the pea family, and the source of carob or locust bean, which is used as a thickener, and in foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paints, and textile sizing and finishes. The carob tree is sometimes known as locust or St. John's bread, from a theory that the "locusts" that John the Baptist ate in the wilderness were really carob pods. The seeds, which are extremely uniform in size and weight, are thought to have been the original standard karat weight used by jewelers and goldsmiths.
Carob has enjoyed increased popularity in recent years as a low-fat, low-calorie, low-caffeine alternative to chocolate.
Carob itself does not contain any caffeine. However, it does contain traces of theobromine and theobromine is occasionally added to carob.
Theobromine is related to caffeine, but it is a milder stimulant. It is the stimulant found in chocolate.
(One hundred grams of carob contains no caffeine and only three milligrams of theobromine; 100 grams of chocolate contains 180 milligrams of caffeine and 2,320 milligrams of theobromine).
Because of the small amounts of the caffeine- related theobromine, and because carob is sometimes used in combination with chocolate, most sources call carob a low caffeine alternative to be on the safe side.
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