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Caffeine free chocolate is chocolate that has had the large majority of caffeine removed from it. Unfortunately, there is no chocolate that is entirely devoid of caffeine. Caffeine is naturally part of the cocoa bean, which is related to the coffee bean, from which all chocolate is made. The percentage of caffeine found within chocolate largely varies by variety and also by manufacturer. However, in comparison to coffee, chocolate is quite low in caffeine. There is less caffeine in a 2-oz bar of chocolate than a cup of decaffeinated coffee.
Caffeine is an alkaloid found naturally in beans and the fruit and leaves of some plants. Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant, which means that it reacts within the nervous system, causing altered moods and perceptions. Chocolate beans naturally contain caffeine. Due to the side effects of caffeine, a caffeine free chocolate is quite desirable.
According to the type of chocolate one chooses, the amount of caffeine varies. So while there is no caffeine free chocolate, there are definitely some types of chocolates that have less caffeine than others. Caffeine in chocolate that is unsweetened or is semi-sweet usually contains about 5 to 10 milligrams of caffeine per ounce. Caffeine in chocolate with milk added is usually measured at approximately 5 milligrams or less per ounce. As the chocolate gets darker, generally the percentage of caffeine is present in higher amounts.
For those having difficulty finding caffeine free chocolate, the most popular and well-known alternative to chocolate is carob, which contains no caffeine. Prior to processing, carob resembles a pea pod. Once it is processed, it is sold in a powder form, which can be directly substituted for chocolate in recipes. It is also made into carob candy bars and carob chips, which can be used in place of the caffeinated chocolate chip.
One of the reasons that a type of caffeine free chocolate is desired by many are the health benefits derived from chocolate. Cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times of those found in the popular antioxidant-rich green tea. Dark chocolate, which contains the most caffeine per serving, also carries with it the most antioxidants. Consuming a moderate amount of chocolate is also said to be good for your heart. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. These health benefits are one of many other reasons caffeine free chocolate would prove to be of great benefit to a large number of people.