Can Diabetics Eat Carrots?

Diabetics might find themselves speculating about the best dietary suggestions for them. They may have one question in their minds, are carrots good for diabetics?

A quick answer to this doubt is “yes”. Carrots or other veggies such as broccoli are safe for people with diabetes. These are non-starchy veggies. For diabetics (and every person indeed), non-starchy veggies constitute a vital part of a healthy diet. It’s better for diabetics to take note of the carb content in any food he or she consumes. Yet, numerous foods comprising carbs also consist of enough vitamins, minerals, and even fiber.

Few among these foods, particularly non-starchy ones, are less likely to affect blood sugars. In this article, you will understand whether, are carrots good for diabetics?

Nutrition Facts of Carrots

The Glycemic Index value of carrots is below 55, which comes under a low score. And, this proves why carrots are good for diabetic patients.

Carrots contain:

  • 2.8 g of dietary fiber
  • 4 g of sugar.

This much sugar content would result in no damage. Fiber is a vital part of any diabetic meal plan as it keeps a person full and helps indigestion. The 10% of carbohydrates (1/2 is sugar) in carrots make them a low-calorie food. And, is just perfect for any diabetic person.

Carrots also contain “beta-carotene”. It provides bright orange color to the carrots. Its processing occurs in vitamin A which regulates blood sugars. The antioxidants present in carrots battle with free radicals. Also, they help in preventing cardiac problems and cancer. Carrot is not a very good source of minerals like iron or calcium. Also, the beta-carotene in carrots assists in iron absorption significantly.

The GI score of carrot differs as per its mode of preparation. Give a glance at this table:

Glycemic Index of Carrots
Mode of preparation GI score Serving (in grams) Carbs per serving (in gm)
Raw and diced carrots 35 80 6
Boiled carrots 33 80 5
Raw and whole carrots 16 80 8
Carrot cake with coconut flour 36 60 23
Juiced carrots 43 250 23

Summary

Carrot is a non-starchy veggie. It contains essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Carrots pack a high fiber content; thus, it aids in absorbing carbohydrates at a slow rate. This aids to control post-meal glucose spikes as well.

Check Video By Dt. Seema Goel About “Are Carrots Good For People With Diabetes?”

Benefits of Carrots for People With Diabetes

The fiber content in carrots also aids in weight management. This is possible by decreasing the hunger pangs. Diabetic patients have a higher risk of eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy. As carrots are rich in vitamin A, we can say that carrots are good for diabetics.

A Detailed Description of Nutrients in Carrots

carrots in diabetes

Carrots comprise the following nutrients:

Vitamin A

In a study, researchers evaluated the significance of vitamin A in managing normal blood sugar levels. They observed that participants deficient in vitamin A experienced an impairment in pancreatic β-cells. Also, researchers observed a reduction in insulin secretion and successive high blood sugar. These outcomes show that vitamin A plays a major role in managing blood sugars for diabetics.

Healthy carbs

Management of blood sugars is the prime objective of diabetes treatment. The net carbs that an individual takes in have a strong impact on glucose levels.

One medium raw carrot comprises around 6 grams of carbs. Carrots are not essentially low in carbs; they are a beneficial source. As per the CDC reports, averagely carbs must constitute about 45% of the calorie ingestion for diabetics.

Carb counting and maintaining their healthy limits are useful in proper blood glucose control. And, this avoids the risk of diabetes complications, including:

  • Heart problems like stroke
  • Eye problems like vision loss
  • Kidney problems

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B complex is helpful in different ranges of metabolism. As per a study, it was found that a lack of B1 and B6 commonly occurred in type 2 diabetic patients. Besides, the early progression of diabetic nephropathy more commonly happened in the case of low B6 levels. This study proposes that low levels of vitamin B6 levels have a negative impact on diabetes outcomes.

Fiber

Dietary fiber consumption forms a vital part of blood glucose control in diabetes. There was a strong suggestion as per studies that dietary fiber may lower the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, for diabetics, fiber consumption may aid in lessening both fasting and chronic blood sugars.

Carotenoids

Carrot is a rich source of carotenoids. These pigments (compounds) occur in yellow and orange fruits and veggies in the diet. The eyes also contain a pigment known as carotenoids. The antioxidant action of these carotenoids aids in defending the retina from getting damaged.

Studies also propose that carotenoids might help against diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a medical problem that causes vision loss. And, this is a common diabetes-related complication.

Meal plans with high levels of alpha and beta carotene are known to add to a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. The carotene content per 100 grams of carrots is as follows:

  • 3,477 micrograms of alpha-carotene
  • 8,285 micrograms of beta carotene

Summary

Vibrant fruits and veggies pack all the vital nutrients important for a healthy diet. The carrot is an example of such a vegetable, highly nourishing and full of nutrients. A medium-sized carrot comprises only 4 grams of digestible carbohydrates. Also, it is a low GI food. Foods with lesser carbs and low GI scores do not exert a huge impact on glucose levels.

Glycemic Index Value of Carrots

The ADA states the low Glycemic Index range to be the scores of 55 or below. Boiled carrots contain a GI of 33, while raw carrots score is even less.

Also, the ADA suggests consuming a minimum of three to five veggies in a day. One serving is around:

  • One cup of raw veggies
  • Half cup of cooked veggies

Non-starchy veggies having a GI of 55 or below, may aid a diabetic in managing his or her glucose levels. Other non-starchy veggies which are safe for diabetics are:

  • Leafy greens, such as kale, broccoli, celery, spinach
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower

Some Healthy Eating Tips for Diabetics:

  • Diabetics must restrict their carb consumption per meal to 1 cup or below. Try consuming carbohydrates containing high fiber content. As fiber is useful in improving blood sugars. High-fiber carbohydrates are brown rice, beans, whole-grain bread, etc.
  • Consume enough non-starchy veggies. Diabetics must fill at least ½ of their plates with such types of nutritious veggies.
  • Fruits, as well as low-fat dairy products, are a healthy inclusion to a diabetic diet. Remember not to overdo them. ½ a glass of low-fat milk or a small handful of fresh berries may be a pleasant after-dinner delicacy. It is vital to restrict dried fruit and fruit juices. As they contain carbs in a more concentrated form.
  • Lean protein is the most excellent form of protein for diabetics. About 1/4th of the plate must pack a lean protein source like fish or chicken. Bake them, never fry them as it would lead to the charring of the protein.
  • Consuming an excess of sugary or processed foods might have a negative effect on the blood sugars. These foods might also cause weight gain and exert a detrimental effect on one’s overall health. Opting for lower-carb alternatives in little quantities, and only rarely, is a good way to treat health.

Also Read: Can Diabetics Eat Oranges?

Ways to Have Carrots For Diabetics

Carrot Juice for diabetes

Below are a few exciting ways of adding carrots to a person’s daily diet:

  • Carrot Sabzi: Chop 2 carrots and dice an onion into it. Cook both and add ½ bowl of fresh green peas and add little seasonings. And, your colorful sabzi is ready to go to the stomach.
  • Carrot Salad: Make a nourishing salad using some grated, raw carrots, moong sprouts, onion, chopped tomatoes, some green chilies, and slight black salt.
  • Carrot Soup: Prepare a tomato soup using red carrots. Cook tomatoes, carrots, onion, spinach, some garlic, and black salt and little pepper. This vibrant soup certainly aids in weight loss, as well.

Also Read: Is Banana Good For Diabetes?

Amount and Frequency of Having Carrots

Carrot is a versatile veggie. People can have them at any time of the day. All is required is to add 1-2 carrots to any of these meals for obtaining a daily dose of vitamin A and fiber:

  • Start the day using healthy ABC juice (Apple + Beetroot + Carrot juice)
  • Include a grated carrot in a fresh salad. Have it at lunch
  • Have some carrot-beetroot soup at the dinner time

Any Risks of Having Carrots in Excess

Excess of carrots in diet

An excessive intake of carrots may cause an overdose of vitamin A. This is particular in people having carrots in addition to their vitamin A supplements. Too much intake of carrots may result in carotenemia. It results in yellowish staining of the skin. Over-do of carrots may also cause constipation.

Summary

Carrots including other non-starchy veggies are a perfect inclusion in a healthy diabetic meal plan. They consist of abundant essential nutrients beneficial for a person’s glucose levels. These nutrients can be vitamin A and fiber. A diabetic person must carry on adding veggies, lean protein, and whole grains into their meal plans which makes carrots good for diabetics. For other guidance about managing the blood sugars via diet, it is good to visit a nutritionist or dietitian near you.

FAQs:

Do carrots take away nutrients?

Vitamin content in carrots is fat-soluble. These vitamins include A, E and K. They are heat stable and boiling does not damage them. In fact, cooking is useful in breaking down the cell walls of the veggies. This results in freeing up more of the nutrients.

How many carrots are good for a day?

On an average, it is suggested to have 3-10 carrots in a day.

Is it good to have a carrot daily?

Consuming carrots in limits is good for a person’s health. Consuming too many carrots may result in a condition referred to as carotenemia. It is nothing but a yellowish staining of the skin due to the deposition of beta-carotene found in carrots.

What is the best time to have carrot?

As such, there is no specific time of having raw veggies. People usually consume carrots along with their lunch or dinner. Consuming carrots with beetroots in the lunch time is good as beetroot contains high calories. Thus, it is good to avoid carrots in the night.

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/can-diabetics-eat-carrots
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/are-carrots-good-for-diabetics

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 

Disclaimer

The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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