But some foods like carrots, pumpkin, and beets are considered starches too, so are they safe for someone with type 2 diabetes to eat or not?
Well, let's dig in and explore carrots in detail.
Today, we're going to cover carrots and diabetes, including:
- Carrot nutrition facts
- Research on carrots
- Health benefits of carrots
- Carrots in the kitchen – selection, storage, uses, cooking
- Carrot recipes
Here at Diabetes Meal Plans we encourage a lower carb diet and sometimes low carbers say “carrots aren't low carb.” While they aren't the lowest carb food, they do have lots of nutritional benefits and in our opinion it's perfectly fine to eat carrots on a regular basis.
Right now, let's explore some of the facts and benefits of good old carrots.
Carrot Nutrition Facts
- Carrots have a low glycemic index of 41
- Carrots are high in fiber and low in carbs – 2.3 g fiber, 6.41 total carbs, and 4.11 net carbs
- Carrots are low in calories at just 27 calories per medium carrot
- Carrots have loads of valuable vitamins and minerals, carotenoids, antioxidants and polyphenols
CARROTS (1 medium raw, 61 g)
Calories: 25 | Total Fat: 0.15 g | Sat Fat: 0.023 g | Poly: 0.071 g | Mono: 0.009 g | Total Carbs: 5.84 g | Fiber: 1.7 g | Net Carbs: 4.14 g | Protein: 0.57 g
Calcium: 20 mg | Iron: 0.18 mg | Magnesium: 7 mg | Phosphorus: 21 mg | Potassium: 195 mg | Zinc: 0.15 mg
Vitamin C: 3.6 mg | Thiamin: 0.040 mg | Riboflavin: 0.035 mg | Niacin: 0.600 mg | Vit B6: 0.084 mg | Folate: 12 ug | Vit B12: 0 mg | Vit A: 10191 IU | Vit E: 0.40 mg | Vit D: 0 IU | Vit K: 8.1 ug
CARROTS (1.33 medium cooked, boiled, drained, no salt, 61 g)
Calories: 21 | Total Fat: 0.11 g | Sat Fat: 0.018 g | Poly: 0.054 g | Mono: 0.004 g | Total Carbs: 5.03 g | Fiber: 1.8 g | Net Carbs: 3.23 g | Protein: 0.46 g
As you can see, the nutrition info doesn't change all that much for the same quantity. In fact, for one carrot cooked the carb count is less but we've used the same amount in grams so you can get a good comparison. The nutrients don't change much either, so these weren't listed again for boiled carrots.
Health Benefits of Carrots
Some of the health benefits of carrots according to Authority Nutrition include:
- “Vitamin A: Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A promotes good vision, and is important for growth, development, and immune function.
- Biotin: One of the B-vitamins, formerly known as vitamin H. It plays an important role in fat and protein metabolism.
- Vitamin K1: Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K is important for blood coagulation and can promote bone health.
- Potassium: An essential mineral, important for blood pressure control.”
Research On Carrots
One study showed that while the glycemic response of cooked potatoes changes rapidly and significantly, this does not occur whether you eat raw or cooked carrots.
As we saw before, carrots are a low 41 on the GI scale, meaning they generally have a low impact on overall blood sugar.
Another study tested a few forms of simple and complex carbs – including carrots – and as you will see from the following results, carrots come right down the bottom of the list.
“Counting the blood glucose increase after glucose as 100%, the corresponding increases in glycaemia for other carbohydrates were: fructose 81.3%; lactose, 68.6%; apples, 46.9%; potatoes, 41.4%; bread, 36.3%; rice, 33.8%; honey, 32.4% and carrots, 16.1%.”
There's a massive jump from carrots to all the other items on the list and this really emphasizes that for most people, consuming carrots isn't likely going to be any problem.
Carrots and Diabetes Conclusion
While carrots are higher in carbohydrates than something like lettuce or other green leafy vegetables, at 4.11 net carbs you really don't have anything to worry about. PLUS, carrots provide all those wonderful vitamins, minerals, and compounds that contribute valuable benefits to your health.
If in doubt, the best rule of thumb is test, test, test! Only your meter can tell you which foods are best for your individual body.
Carrots in the Kitchen
Choose firm, orange carrots with no signs of softness.
To keep them fresher and crispier, store in an airtight vegetable bag, preferably in the fridge crisper drawers.
You can purchase veggie bags at your local supermarket and reuse them several times.
Carrots make a great addition to salads, stir fries, soups, casseroles, cakes, muffins, or simply steam, boil or eat raw. There's nothing quite like grabbing a crunchy carrot for a munch. If you haven't tried it lately, you should, they're actually very satisfying.
- Steam or boil for 5–7 minutes until tender.
- Microwave sliced in a covered dish with 2 tablespoons water on HIGH, for 4–6 minutes, stirring after 4 minutes to ensure even cooking.
- Roast large chunks in moderately hot oven (400°F/ 200°C) for 45–60 minutes.
- Bake some carrot fries – see recipe below.
Delicious Moist Sugar Free Carrot & Cinnamon Loaf
Baked Carrot Fries
Guacamole with Carrot Sticks
Do you include carrots in your diabetes menu? What's your favorite way to eat them? Leave your comments below and let us know.
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