May 23, 2024

Carrots are naturally sweet and rich in a ton of vitamins and minerals. So, getting a concentrated dose of carrots by juicing them can only be good for you, right?

While carrot juice has benefits, it’s not necessarily the best way to get those healthy nutrients from carrots, dietitians say. And even veggie-based juice can contain a lot of natural sugar and beta-carotene, so it’s worth keeping an eye on how much you’re drinking.

Before you start downing a cup of carrot juice every morning, here’s what experts want you to know.

Carrot juice nutrition

One cup of canned carrot juice contains the following nutrients, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • 94.4 calories

  • 2.24 grams of protein

  • 0.35 grams of fat

  • 21.9 grams of carbs

  • 1.89 grams of fiber

  • 9.23 grams of sugar

Carrot juice benefits

Juicing carrots provides “a concentrated source” of the nutrients found in carrots, Theresa Gentile, a registered dietitian in New York City and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells TODAY.com.

That’s simply because it takes a lot more carrots to make one glass of carrot juice than you normally would eat in a sitting, says Natalie Rizzo, registered dietitian and TODAY.com nutrition editor. So, by juicing carrots, “you’re getting more bang for your buck in a smaller volume,” Gentile explains.

The most well-known nutrient found in carrots is beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. While a serving of whole carrots can easily help you hit 100% of your daily vitamin A requirements, “you’re probably getting 300-400% in a glass of carrot juice,” Rizzo says.

Carrot juice can also help support vision health, the immune system and heart health thanks to these nutrients, Gentile says:

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin E

  • Vitamin K

  • Niacin (vitamin B3)

  • Biotin (vitamin B7)

  • Magnesium

  • Iron

  • Potassium

  • Antioxidants

In particular, Gentile points to a 2011 pilot study in which participants who drank 16 ounces of carrot juice every day for three months saw minor improvements in systolic blood pressure. Those results could “perhaps translate to a decreased risk of heart disease and inflammatory diseases,” she says.

Is it better to drink carrot juice or eat carrots?

The major benefit of juicing carrots is that you’ll get a more concentrated dose of some of the nutrients present in whole carrots. But you “lose some of the fiber in the juicing process,” Gentile explains.

When you juice carrots, the pulp that’s left behind contains much of the fiber in the carrots, Rizzo says. “So you’re not getting as much fiber (in the juice) as you probably would by eating a carrot.”

The other issue is that megadose of vitamin A, Gentile say. Vitamin A is stored in fat, which means your body holds onto any that isn’t needed at the moment, so there’s not a lot of reason to consume huge doses of it at once. That also means that we need to consume fat alongside the vitamin A in order to absorb all of it, Rizzo explains.

All of that suggests that “you’re not getting all the benefits you think you’re getting from overdosing on this vitamin,” Rizzo says.

Eating carrots instead provides more fiber but less beta-carotene. Depending on your nutritional goals, consuming carrots the traditional way might make more sense for you.

Can carrot juice make your skin orange?

If you eat a bunch of carrots, over time, your skin may take on an orange hue due to a condition called carotenemia. It can happen with sweet potatoes, too, which also contain a fair amount of beta-carotene.

The condition may be unsettling, but it’s temporary and otherwise harmless. However, it could be a sign that you may want to diversify your diet a little more.

If you drink too much carrot juice, there is also a potential for vitamin A toxicity, Gentile says, because our bodies hold on to any extra vitamin A in fat. But you would need to drink quite a lot of carrot juice for that to be possible.

Vitamin A toxicity happens more often when people consume high-dose supplements than with food, Medline Plus explains. Kids also tend to be more sensitive to high levels of vitamin A than adults.

How to drink carrot juice

You can get a major boost of nutrients from vegetable juice.

And you can complement the nutrient benefits (and flavor) of carrots by mixing them with other healthy ingredients, like beets, ginger, greens and lemon.

If you’re purchasing pre-made carrot juice, you’ll want to make sure it’s 100% juice to avoid added sugar, Rizzo says. “Sometimes, when it comes to juiced vegetables, they do add things that have a little sugar in them to sweeten it up.”

Even then, Rizzo recommends capping your daily intake of carrot juice at 4 to 5 ounces because it does contain a fair amount of sugar with less fiber than you’d get in whole carrots.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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