The Conscious Gut

The Carrot Diet: Benefits and Possible Side Effects

Carrot is a very well-known orange vegetable that regularly features on most people’s dining tables. You can often see them in salads, stews, pies and millions of other dishes cooked daily around the world. Carrots provide the body with indispensable nutrients and ensure smooth digestion. In addition, they contain high amounts of beta-carotene, which can improve human vision. Some people believe that carrots can also aid in weight loss.

Yet, is it entirely true, and can a diet heavily based on those orange vegetables help you shed excess pounds and improve your all-around well-being?

Benefits of carrots

Carrots are hugely beneficial for your health. They are the source of essential for human body vitamin A, a lack of which can cause blindness in children (1). Besides, carrots contain a number of antioxidants that prevent age-related vision loss, help flush the toxins out of your body and even prevent the risk of lung cancer (4). Moreover, nutrients in carrot juice can slow down the progression of leukemia cells and prevent the development of type-2 diabetes.  Last but not least, carrots are high-fiber foods that are immensely helpful for weight loss (5).

So, if carrots possess such a great variety of impressive features, should you immediately go on the Carrot Diet? Not exactly.

What is the Carrot Diet?

There are, in fact, several variations of the Carrot Diet. The most common (and safest) diet is “Add a Carrot”. It’s not very restrictive as you simply eat one carrot at the start of every meal. Carrot is a low-calorie but remarkably filling product that provides the backbone of this eating plan. By simply replacing a part of your meal with a carrot, you fill up faster and feel perked up longer. You can even choose substitutes like cucumbers or zucchini. Needless to say, sugar-filled beverages, fatty meat, and dough should be excluded from your menu. Rather than consuming these foods, base your meals on other vegetables while following this diet.

The Carrot Juice Fasting and the Carrot-only diet.

The Carrot-only diet is touted to speed up weight loss if you eat meals made solely of carrots for almost a week. Proponents of the Carrot Juice fasting claim that you should fast for 3 to 7 days consuming only carrot juice every 2-3 hours for the best detox. Those are crash diets promising rapid weight loss via calorie restriction. However, dietitians forewarn the enthusiasts of such diets for two reasons:

Firstly, people are more likely to gain their weight back right after they fall back into their old eating habits (32). Secondly, carrots lack essential nutrients required for proper functioning of your body like calcium, iron and fat. This might cause fatigue, hair loss and skin problems. In fact, healthy fats ensure absorption of vitamin A, so sticking exclusively to carrots will deprive your body of benefits of the carrots themselves. All one-product crash diets like the Oatmeal Diet, the Potato Diet and the Carrot diet have to be approached with caution.

Conclusion

The first variant of the Carrot Diet is a safest option if your goal is to lose weight steadily. The only side effect that can occur, might be the orange skin tint caused by overconsumption of vitamin A, which could temporarily mar your complexion but poses no threat to your overall well-being whatsoever (6). The other variations of the Carrot Diet are not recommended by dietitians and should be avoided as they are ineffective in maintaining weight loss and could potentially put your health at risk. If you still want to enrich your menu with fresh carrots, stick to the first Carrot Diet or opt for other plans such as the Keto Diet or the Vegetarian diet. Supplement your diet with some exercise to double your results.

Alexandra Danieli

Alexandra Danieli, CHC, The Conscious Gut
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