Food & Nutrition

Carbs in Carrots & Other Nutritional Info

Carbs in Carrots & Other Nutritional Info

Carrots are a root vegetable, and like many root vegetables, they're high in carbohydrates. One medium carrot weighing just 60g will give you around 4g of net carbs. This makes carrots, and other root vegetables, a no-no on a ketogenic diet.

Still, carrots are an important food staple and they're also rich in beneficial nutrients and healthful compounds. Adding them to your keto diet in small amounts can help you get the benefits of this sweet root vegetable without being kicked out of ketosis. To learn more about carrot nutrition facts and how they fit into a keto diet, keep reading.


How Many Carbs in Carrots?

Carrots are mainly water (88%), but their dry weight is mainly carbohydrate (11%). The carbs in carrots are mostly starch. However, carbs also provide simple sugars like sucrose and glucose.  

In 100g of carrots, there are 6.7g net carbs (digestible carb) and 2.8g of fiber (indigestible carbs) [1]. While that may not seem like much when compared to other high-carb food such as potatoes, it is still considered problematic on keto.

On a ketogenic diet, you should focus on eating low-carb but nutrient dense vegetables such as cucumbers. This way, you'll be able to eat a variety of plant foods while still meeting your keto macros. If you eat too many high-carb plant foods, you run the risk of both being kicked out of ketosis and not meeting your daily needs for certain nutrients.

In other words, you shouldn't eat carrots on keto because a small serving provides a lot of carbs practically forcing you to reduce your portion sizes or skip meals to stay within your macros.


Raw-carrot-sticks-in-brown-rustic-bowl-on-wooden-table

How Many Calories in Carrots?

Carrots are a low-calorie food despite being a starchy root vegetable. One medium carrot provides only 25 calories while 100g provides 41 calories.

Most of these calories come from the carbohydrates in carrots. Carrots are low in carbohydrates because they consist mostly of water.


Nutritional Value of Carrots

While carrots are definitely low in calories and a moderate source of carbs, they do pack a punch in other nutrients. They're one of the richest sources of vitamin A, with one medium carrot providing 200% of the daily value (DV) for this important nutrient.

Besides vitamin A, carrots provide lots of fiber and vitamin K. Carrots are only a modest source of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, calcium, and manganese. They're also low in fat and protein.


Nutrition Info

Carrots (100g)

Calories

41

Total Carbohydrates

9.6g

Fiber

2.8g

Protein

0.9g

Total Fat

0.2g

Vitamin C

5.9mg

Vitamin A

16,706 IU

Potassium

320mg

Magnesium    

12mg


Can You Eat Carrots on The Keto Diet?

In short, best not to. While carrots are certainly not the biggest offenders on a keto diet, it's really best to avoid them. This is especially the case for recipes that call for more than one or two carrots such as carrot soup, carrot cake, carrot salad, etc.

Instead of carrots, you can go for some of the following ingredients:

  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Celery stalks
  • Capsicum
  • Daikon radishes
  • Pumpkin

Most of these have fewer than 5g net carbs per 100g of fresh produce. Some can replace the texture of carrots in, say, salads and crudités. Pumpkin, in particular, can replace the flavor of carrots and it also has the same orange color.


Health Benefits of Carrots

While carrots are not your friend on keto, that doesn't mean they are bad for health. In fact, they have nutrients and bioactive compounds that can contribute to better health. Here is what research has to say about carrot health benefits:


Carbs in Carrots & Other Nutritional Info_infographic_1

1. Cancer-fighting

A study examined the effects of bioactive compounds on leukemia cells found promising results [2]. Carrots, namely contain plenty of beta-carotene and polyacetylenes, compounds that seem to have mild cytotoxic effect, i.e. they kill cancer cells. There's also ample evidence that carrots are most effective in preventing gastric cancers [3].


2. Eye health

Vitamin A is extremely important for the health of your cornea – the surface of your eyes. Eating carrots helps prevent dry eyes and may even protect your vision by preventing age-related vision loss and macular degeneration. However, carrots won't help you see in the dark. This is a very popular myth that has long been refuted [4].


3. Lower blood cholesterol

Having high levels of the wrong cholesterol in your blood puts you at risk of heart disease. While high blood cholesterol in and of itself isn't the sole reason people develop cardiovascular disease, it's best to try and keep your cholesterol low. Studies show that regular intake of carrots reduces cholesterol by 11% [5].


4. Better cardiovascular health

Another way carrots can protect your heart and blood vessels is by increasing your total antioxidant status and decreasing oxidation of blood lipids [6]. Oxidative stress is a leading driver of cardiovascular diseases, and carrots can help reduce it by providing your body with powerful antioxidants.


How to Eat Carrots on Keto?

First off, you shouldn't really eat carrots on a strict keto diet. They're perfectly fine on other diets, though. But if you take a more lax approach to keto and insist on keeping carrots on your food list, then consider doing the following:


1. Add it to soups

Carrots are a staple soup ingredient, especially with chicken and bone soups. Feel free to add a carrot or two to your soup making sure to keep other ingredients low carb. You won't be eating the whole carrot with a single bowl of soup anyway, so no need to worry about those few extra carbs.


2. Mix it with low-carb veggies

When making salads or crudités, mix carrots with other low-carb veggies to reduce the meal's carb content. This way, you'll satisfy your love of carrots while sticking to your macros.


3. Eat it as a snack

Crunchy and sweet carrots really make for a great snack. Have a medium carrot between meals and avoid eating any fruits for the day. This will give you an extra 4g net carbs, which isn't too much if you keep other meals low carb.


Takeaways

  • Carrots are a starchy root vegetable that provides a moderate amount of carbs of 4g per 100g of raw produce.
  • Carrots are not considered keto friendly due to their relatively high carb content at small serving sizes.
  • Still, carrots are not the worst keto diet offenders, so you can squeeze them into your weekly meal plan.
  • You can also replace carrots with low-carb vegetables that are similar in taste, color, and texture like carrots.

References:

  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Food Composition Databases Show Foods: Carrots, Raw. 2018 April - https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/11124?fgcd=&manu=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=Carrots%2C+raw&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=
  2. Zaini RG, et al. Effects of Bioactive Compounds from Carrots (Daucus Carota L.), Polyacetylenes, Beta-Carotene and Lutein on Human Lymphoid Leukaemia Cells. 2012 July - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22263789
  3. Fallahzadeh H, et al. Effect of Carrot Intake in the Prevention of Gastric Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. 2015 December - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4722993/
  4. Smith W, Mitchell P, Lazarus R. Carrots, Carotene and Seeing in the Dark. 1999 June-August - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10484191
  5. Robertson J, et al. The Effect of Raw Carrot on Serum Lipids and Colon Function. 1979 September - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/474479
  6. Potter AS, et al. Drinking Carrot Juice Increases Total Antioxidant Status and Decreases Lipid Peroxidation in Adults. 2011 September - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3192732/

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