Saturday, February 7, 2009

If Joan Jett Were a Carrot...

I've often wondered why carrots have a bad reputation. They are a staple in my fridge. They go into my juice every morning, I eat them for snacks almost every day. They are an excellent vehicle for getting tasty dips to mouth and try making a soup, stew or Bolognese sauce taste delicious without them.

Despite having a seemingly high glycemic index, carrots actually have a low glycemic load. Harvard's Women's Health Watch, June 2001 describes the difference between GI and GL.

  • A GI value tells you only how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. It doesn't tell you how much of that carbohydrate is in a serving of a particular food. You would need to know both things to understand a food's effect on blood sugar. That is where GL comes in. The carbohydrate in a carrot, for example, has a high GI. But there isn't a lot of it, so a carrot's glycemic load is relatively low. Calculating GL allows researchers to better relate carbohydrate intake to its health effects.

Not only are carrots *not* super carby, the beta-carotene can actually help reduce the risk of getting diabetes. Carrots are full of fiber and anti-oxidants. The list of the health benefits of carrots is a mile long. Let's see, reduced risk of heart disease, reduced risk of certain types of cancer, they promote eye health, lung health, colon health. And as Alton Brown might say, they are just plain good eats.


  1. Thank you so much for that post! I've been reading your blog for a few months now (fellow BPALer here!) and have always enjoyed the little bits of information you pass along to us. I've devoured carrots since I was a little kid but felt like I had to stay away from them now since I'm doing the low carb thing. You've just made my new eating plan a little sunnier now that I know I can still eat my beloved carrots.

    Oh, and loved the Good Eats reference. :D

  2. Thanks for the kind words. Keep eating carrots because as I just read in the book THE PORTION TELLER PLAN, "No one ever got fat from eating too many carrots!"

  3. Thank you! I always thought the same thing! you'd have to eat a ridiculous amount of carrots for it to have a negative effect (though I did have a friends sister who ate so many she was turning orange). Really enjoying your blog (fellow bpaler as well).

  4. great post, Andra! If I were only allowed to have one veggie for the rest of my life I think I'd have to pick carrots. I've been getting these organic ones from Moore Farms and the last time I picked up my produce box, I came home and ate six of them on the spot (granted, they were relatively small ones, but six carrots! ha ha!)

    I made a carrot soup not too long ago and it was delicious. I think I posted it in the Soups and Stews thread on, but I will double check since carrot-loving bpal-ers are stopping in.