Table Of Contents
Are Carrots Good for Diabetes & How to Include It in Your Diet
Introduction: What is a Carrot for Your Health?
Humans have consumed carrots for more than 5,000 years. However, the vegetable was once only available in shades of purple and yellow, having its origins in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Only much later, in the 1600s, did the well-known orange carrot come into being.
Carrots are a great choice when selecting healthy foods. Not only are carrots high in nutrition, but they also provide numerous health benefits due to their low-calorie and low-carb content.
To make carrots more enticing, scientists are now developing them in a variety of colors, including yellow, vivid red, and dark orange. What is drawing attention, though, is a group of pigments found in carrots with significant advantages.
They are an excellent source of Vitamin A, which helps with vision health and are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Are carrots good for diabetes? So, for people with diabetes, carrots can be an excellent substitute for foods that contain more carbohydrates, such as potatoes or white rice, due to having significantly fewer carbs per serving.
Eating carrots, or incorporating them into other dishes like soups or salads, is an easy way to improve your overall nutrition without giving up the flavor.
Carrot Glycemic Index
The digestible part of carrots contains about 10% carbohydrates, while the water content ranges from 86 to 95 percent.
Very little protein and fat are found in carrots. Two small to medium-sized raw carrots (100 grams) have the following nutritional value:
- 41 calories
- 88% of water
- 0.9 grams of protein
- 9.6 grams of carbs
- 4.7 grams of sugar
- 2.8 grams of fiber
- 0.2 grams of fat
The glycemic index is a system that assigns numbers to meals and beverages based on how likely they are to increase insulin and blood sugar levels. For example, foods and drinks with a GI rating over 70 are categorized as “high GI” foods and are more likely to cause a sharp rise in blood sugar. Conversely, foods and drinks with a GI score of less than 55 are referred to as “low GI” foods since they don’t often boost blood sugar levels much or quickly.
Your blood sugar rises more slowly the lower your glycemic index (GI) is. For example, the GI of uncooked carrots is 16. However, boiling carrots have a GI between 32 and 49. This classifies carrots as a low-glycemic food:
The carrot gi index can vary considerably, unlike that of several other foods. Carrots have a glycemic index score of 47, plus or minus 16, according to Oregon State University Extension (between 31 and 63).
The amount a dish is cooked and/or processed is just one of many elements determining a food’s glycemic index. For example, although fresh 100% carrot juice has a glycemic index of 45, cooked carrots have a glycemic index of 39.
Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., advises that you shouldn’t let the glycemic index of carrots stop you from eating them, even if you are on a diet, in his book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Glycemic load is a much more meaningful indicator of how a food will impact your blood sugar and insulin levels than the glycemic index.
Carrots have a glycemic load of 3, which Bowden describes as “ridiculously low,” him. Carrots have a low to moderate glycemic index, but it’s extremely unlikely they’ll significantly impact your blood sugar. However, if you have diabetes and want to start eating carrots, see your doctor before doing so.
Any dish that has been cooked or prepared with honey or other carbohydrates will have a higher glycemic index. However, carrots’ high fiber content contributes to a slower rate of sugar release. Therefore, in comparison to other root vegetables like potatoes, they also have a lower glycemic index.
Also, read – Why You Should Start Eating Vegetables For Breakfast
Why Are Carrots Good for Diabetics – Health Benefits
According to the USDA Nutrient Database, three medium-sized carrots include 30,000 IUs of vitamin A, 60 milligrams of calcium, 586 milligrams of potassium, 5 grams of dietary fiber, and six times the daily recommended amount of calcium and potassium. No need to worry if you consume more vitamin A from carrots than recommended. Additionally, carrots include vitamin C, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Those who have diabetes might be curious about the most fabulous dietary suggestions. Can diabetics eat carrots? is one frequent query!
The quick and easy response is “Yes.” Carrots are a non-starchy vegetable, as are others like broccoli and cauliflower. Non-starchy veggies are crucial to a balanced diet for those who have diabetes (and everyone else, for that matter).
When you have diabetes, paying attention to the number of carbohydrates in your diet is critical. However, many meals that are high in carbohydrates are also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
People with diabetes can consume carrots without any reluctance because they are non-starchy vegetables. In addition, they have a great flavor and are packed with nutrients, so you may eat them raw or cooked.
Diabetes patients must take extra precautions due to additional health hazards, including heart disease, obesity, ophthalmic and renal damage, and nerve damage.
Consuming foods that support the treatment of diabetes and the prevention of other diseases is essential, as is maintaining a balanced diet.
Here are a few of the main advantages of eating carrots, particularly for diabetics:
Fiber intake for blood sugar management
Consuming enough dietary fiber is crucial for managing blood sugar in people with diabetes. So, is carrot juice good for diabetics type 2? Strong evidence suggests that dietary fiber intake may help lower the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, according to a recent assessment of 16 meta-analyses.
Consuming fiber can also assist people with diabetes in lowering their long-term and fasting blood glucose levels.
A daily fiber intake of 20–35 g from vegetables, fruits, and minimally processed grains is recommended for diabetics. Per 100 g, carrots have 2.8 g of dietary fiber.
How Many Carrots Can a Diabetic Eat a Day?
If you have diabetes, it’s recommended by the American Diabetes Association that you eat 2-3 servings of non-starchy vegetables each day. These vegetables can include carrots, broccoli, spinach, and peppers. For carrots, a serving size is usually about 1/2 cup if cooked or 1 cup if raw.
Vitamin A for blood glucose control
Low vitamin A levels may be a risk factor for diabetes on their own, according to a 2015 publication in the journal Diabetes Management.
Another article advises patients with chronic conditions like diabetes that depend on carbohydrate intake to ensure they get enough vitamin A.
People with type 1 diabetes, which causes the body’s T lymphocytes to target insulin-producing beta cells, may find this guide to be constructive. Vitamin A is essential in the pancreas and in the development of these beta cells.
Additionally, the vitamin aids in the control of immunological processes like T-cell-mediated immunity, which may influence the establishment of type 1 diabetes. Carrots have 835 micrograms of vitamin A per 100g, a vital source of this vitamin.
Vitamin B-6 is common in people with type 2 diabetes
B vitamins are crucial for numerous aspects of metabolism. One study discovered that type 2 diabetics frequently have vitamin B-1 and B-6 deficiencies.
Furthermore, low vitamin B-6 levels were associated with a higher incidence of the early onset of diabetic nephropathy. According to this study, diabetes results may be severely impacted by low vitamin B-6 levels.
Increase heart health
Potassium, which is abundant in carrots and has the power to relax blood vessels, lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
One medium-sized carrot can provide 4% of the daily potassium intake for an adult. A person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease may be lowered by eating fiber-rich vegetables like carrots, as well as their levels of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol.
You can eat carrots without fear if you have diabetes because they are a terrific source of nutrition and flavor. Since carrots have soft carrots carbs and won’t raise blood sugar levels, they are perfect for people with diabetes.
Helps manage diabetes
Whether they are cooked or eaten raw, carrots have a low glycemic index rating. This suggests that there is a modest possibility that they could lead to a blood sugar spike.
The GI index can help people with diabetes identify the foods that are most likely to raise their blood sugar levels. For example, carrots are advantageous in preventing the formation of type 2 diabetes and helping with weight management since they are high in fiber.
Do Carrots Have Sugar?
Carrots have carbohydrates, and nearly half of those carbohydrates are sugar. However, the sugar in carrots doesn’t significantly affect blood sugar, unlike added sugars in sweets and sodas.
One large carrot provides fiber and around 400% of your daily recommended vitamin A dose in addition to natural sugars.
Carbohydrates’ primary function is to produce energy. Chains of sugar molecules make up two different forms of carbohydrates: sugar and starch, which are broken down into simple sugar glucose. Glucose is the primary energy source for your body’s cells, including your brain.
In the case that you ingest more glucose than you require, some of it is stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver, where it is instantly available as soon as your activity level rises. As a result, 7 grams of total carbs, or 5% of your necessary daily requirement of 130 grams, are present in one large carrot.
Simple carbohydrates with one or two molecules each are referred to as sugars. Due to their small size, they enter your bloodstream fast and give you an energy boost while simultaneously raising your blood sugar levels. For example, sucrose, which is the same as table sugar, makes up the majority of the sugar in carrots.
One large carrot contains 3 grams of sugar. First, the amount of naturally occurring sugars consumed daily should be expressly advised. Then, simply count them as part of your daily intake of carbohydrates.
Only 4.7 grams of sugar are present in 100 grams of raw carrots. This suggests that a carrot’s natural and direct sugars are almost insignificant. Additionally, there are just 10 grams of carbs in 100 grams of carrots.
Therefore, contrary to the widespread assumption that carrots may be harmful to someone with diabetes, these findings demonstrate the versatility of the vegetable. They don’t even have as much starch as other root veggies do.
Do Carrots Raise Blood Sugar?
Carrots are often misunderstood as being high in sugar. According to studies, cooked carrots have a GL of 2. The GL value calculates how much eating that specific food will increase a person’s blood sugar levels after that. Carrot is a safe food for diabetics to take in small amounts at every meal because it is at the lower level 2 and is a non-starchy, high-fiber vegetable.
The quantity of sugar in your blood is known as blood sugar or glucose. It originates in the food you consume. It gives your body energy, but too much can be harmful. Blood sugar levels that are out of control can cause type 2 diabetes or make your condition worse.
If you have diabetes and are keeping an eye on your blood sugar levels, carrots can be a safe choice. They are non-starchy vegetables, as well. So if you’re on the ketogenic, or keto, diet, you can even eat a few carrots.
The Glycemic Index Institute currently rates carrots at a GI of 41, which is a moderate level; however, older and less rigorous testing produced a higher number. Given that carrots have a naturally sweet flavor and that the early test was incorrect, it made intuitive sense that patients with diabetes should limit their consumption of carrots.
Are Raw Carrots Good for Diabetics?
Raw carrots offer people with diabetes an excellent choice when selecting healthy snacks. However, those living with diabetes must keep an eye on their carbs intake, and raw carrots are lower than most vegetables; a 1-cup serving contains 5.7 grams of carbs in raw carrots.
Not only are raw carrots a very low-carb snack, but they also come with other benefits; adding raw carrots to your diet can help maintain your blood sugar levels and promote regular digestion due to their excellent source of dietary fiber.
In addition, raw carrots also contain large amounts of vitamin A, helping support eye health, prevent infections, and greatly benefit the skin. Therefore, if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, consider introducing raw carrots into your low-carb meal plan!
Is beetroot and carrot juice good for diabetics?
Beetroot and carrot juice can be beneficial and potentially harmful for diabetics, depending on the individual’s condition.
Drinking fresh vegetable juices is a delicious way to get the necessary vitamins and minerals into a diet. Still, you should consult your doctor regarding specific dietary changes or additions.
Research indicates that specific components in beetroot and carrot juice are beneficial for people with diabetes, such as betaine which helps improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin, and legume-derived insoluble fiber, which slows down glucose absorption – both beneficial aspects when it comes to managing diabetes.
However, because of the high sugar content in vegetables like carrots, their juice should be consumed only in moderate amounts with other food sources like complex carbohydrates. Whether it is suitable to include beetroot and carrot juice in your diet depends on your health condition.
Is Cooked Carrots Good for Diabetics?
Although carrots taste fantastic when raw and crunchy, carrots can also be cooked with other foods to enhance a meal significantly. Consider roasting potatoes, onions, and carrots in the oven or sautéing them with little oil in a skillet. Carrots can also be shredded with cheese or butter to make an excellent side dish.
Carrots may be cooked in various ways and lend a rich, sweet flavor to multiple recipes and snack plates. It can be served as a side dish by steaming, boiling, or roasting them if you don’t want them crispy. They taste great in hearty meals like stir-fries, chicken pot pies, and beef stew.
Are Carrots Bad for Diabetes – Stop Eating Too Many!
There are some drawbacks to eating carrots if you have diabetes:
- Carrots’ high natural sugar content is infamous, which is bad news for people with diabetes.
- Carrots have a glycemic index that is higher than average. So naturally, an individual with diabetes wouldn’t desire this.
- Another critical study suggests that carrots may contain trace amounts of gamma-tocopherol and vitamin E. This drug may increase your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Reflections on the advantages of carrots for people with diabetes are still being done.
- A vitamin A overdose may occur from eating too many carrots, mainly if vitamin A supplements are also used.
- Overeating carrots can result in carotenemia, which gives the skin a yellow tint. Also, if eaten, carrots might make you constipated.
Conclusion: Start Eating More Carrots Today to Improve Your Health
To summarise, can diabetics eat carrots? Eating carrots is a great way to boost overall health. Rich in vitamins and other beneficial nutrients, carrots have been studied for their wide range of benefits.
Eating them regularly may help support better vision, digestion, heart health, skin health, and cancer prevention. They are also naturally low-calorie and packed with fiber to help keep you full longer between meals.
So why not start adding some juicy carrots to your meals today? From roasted root veggies to juice mixes, there are so many delicious ways to include this vibrant vegetable into your diet!
My name is Barbara Kovalenko. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Human Nutrition from Bogomolets National Medical University in Ukraine and a Master's degree from Boston University in the United States. Over the past few years, I have gained valuable experience as a nutritionist and have since decided to share my knowledge and expertise with a wider audience. Currently, I am working as a nutritional consultant with the Lasta app.