If you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to embrace the concept of calorie restriction. It’s only when you consume fewer calories than you need that your body will turn to stored body fat for fuel. This is called a negative energy balance or calorie deficit.
While you could go on a restrictive diet such as keto to lose weight, you may not need to. Instead of making massive changes to your food intake, you may find it more convenient and sustainable to make small but sustainable modifications to how you already eat.
For example, you could make the switch from full-fat to skimmed and fat-free dairy, eat smaller meals, cut out snacks, stop drinking soda or beer, or replace things like potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread with low-calorie vegetables.
This raises the question; are carrots good for weight loss? After all, carrots are a vegetable, and all vegetables are good for weight loss, right?
In this article, we reveal whether carrots really are a good weight-loss food and how eating them is good for your health.
Are Carrots Good For Weight Loss?
What Are Carrots
Carrots are a root vegetable. That means they grow in the ground. Other root vegetables include celeriac, parsnip, radish, sweet and white potatoes, and yams.
Most carrots are orange in color, but there are yellow, white, red, and purple varieties too.
Most carrots can be eaten when they are young (called baby carrots) as well as when they’re larger and more mature. Young carrots are usually very sweet and tender. Carrots can be fresh, canned, or frozen and also eaten raw, cooked, or juiced. They’re usually eaten peeled, as the skins can make the carrot tough and bitter.
Baby-cut carrots should not be confused with real baby carrots. They’re a similar size but, instead of being young carrots, the baby cut version has been whittled down from full-sized carrots to make a convenient and aesthetically pleasing vegetable snack.
All carrots are very nutritious and low in calories, making them useful for weight loss.
Carrots contain a lot of water and fiber, which means they’re low in calories. Eating calories in place of a higher calorie food like potatoes will reduce your overall energy intake without having to eat much less. As such, calories are a very useful addition to any low-calorie weight loss diet.
100 grams (3.5 ounces) of carrots provides:
- Calories: 41
- Water: 88%
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Carbs: 9.6 grams
- Sugar: 4.7 grams
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
As well as these macronutrients, carrots also contain the following vitamins, minerals:
- Vitamin A (as beta carotene)
- Vitamin K1
- Vitamin B6
Carrots also contain an abundance of antioxidant plant compounds, including alpha-carotene lutein, lycopene, polyacetylenes, and anthocyanins. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are unstable molecules responsible for a host of health problems, as well as the aging process.
Benefits of Eating Carrots
Carrots are high in water and fiber but low in calories, which means they’re filling and could help you lose weight if you eat them instead of higher-calorie foods. Carrots also offer the following additional health benefits:
In World War II, it was reported that allied pilots ate carrots to help them see in the dark. While this was just clever propaganda, the reality is that carrots ARE good for your eyes, even if they won’t give you night vision.
The vitamin A in carrots is good for the health and function of your eyes and can help lower your risk of developing cataracts. The antioxidants in carrots may prevent macular degeneration.
Reduced Risk of Cancer
The antioxidants in carrots are collectively referred to as carotenoids. Studies suggest that a diet high in these plant compounds may protect against several types of cancer, including prostate, colon, lung, breast, and stomach cancers.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Diets high in carotenoids can help lower bad LDL cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol. This could help lower your risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the developed world.
Lower Blood Pressure
The potassium in carrots can help control your blood pressure and may reduce your risk of hypertension. Potassium relaxes your blood vessels, allowing for easier circulation and lower pressure. Lower BP is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and strokes.
Healthier Skin and Nails
The beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene in carrots are very good for your skin and nails. Lycopene may offer some protection against the aging effect of the sun, as well as lowering the risk of skin cancer.
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help boost the strength and efficiency of the immune system so that it’s better at fighting off illness, germs, and infections.
Portable, Healthy, and Easy to Prepare
A lot of vegetables are laborious and time-consuming to prepare. Carrots usually aren’t. You can buy fresh, peeled carrots that you can eat straight from the bag.
Or, if you have to peel them yourself, using a peeler means you can get the job done in just a few seconds. Carrots cook quickly, and you can eat them raw too. They’re also an excellent base vegetable for soups and fresh juices.
Carrots are very beneficial, and most people should eat them regularly as part of a healthy diet. However, there are a couple of drawbacks to consider too.
Most of The Calories Come From Sugar and Carbs
While carrots ARE low in calories, those calories come from sugar and carbs, which means they are NOT keto-friendly. Just two servings could be enough to kick you out of ketosis. For this reason, ketogenic dieters will probably need to avoid carrots or eat them in very small portions.
Carrots can cause pollen-related allergies in some people. If you have severe hay fever, you may find that eating carrots makes the problem worse.
If your mouth begins to tingle, your tongue swells, or your throat swells after eating carrots, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Conventionally raised carrots may have been grown using pesticides and other toxic chemicals. While most of these compounds are removed when you wash and peel your carrots, trace amounts may remain.
If you are concerned about the presence of chemicals, buy organic and not conventionally raised carrots.
Carrots are the original superfood! Long before people were eating goji berries, kefir, wheatgrass, and seaweed, they were eating carrots. In fact, in the 1940s, it was reported that allied fighter pilots were unbeatable at night because they consumed large quantities of carrots.
While this was wartime propaganda designed to upset the commanders of the AXIS powers, it’s a widespread belief that survives today.
While carrots won’t give you night vision, they are very good for your eyes. They could also lower your risk of heart disease, several cancers and control your blood pressure. Carrots are good for your skin, nails, and immunity too.
Carrots can be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiled, roasted, and stir-fried. They’re delicious raw in salads, can be eaten as snacks, and carrot juice is also delicious and nutritious. Use carrots instead of chips with dips like guacamole, hummus, or even just a little peanut butter.
There are very few disadvantages to eating carrots. The only real downside is that carrots are quite high in sugar and carbs, which means they’re not very keto diet-friendly.
However, they’re so low in calories that they’re compatible with most other diets. Best of all, you can eat a lot of carrots without ingesting many calories, and their high-fiber content means they’re very filling too.