Carrots and low carb

For some reason, not exactly sure why, carrots have gotten a really bad rap in the low carb world.  And I just can’t figure it out.  Everybody says it’s because of the sugar content of carrots?  So let’s take a look at that a little more carefully.

One whole medium sized carrot has 5.8 grams of carbohydrates.  1.7 of those grams are in the form of FIBER.  2.89 grams of those carbs are indeed sugar.  Mostly sucrose.

Now 2.89g is a pretty small amount.  For example a packet of sugar has about 4g of sugar (1 teaspoon).  So 1 whole medium carrot has less than a teaspoon of sugar.

Perhaps it’s the Glycemic Index of carrots.  A cooked carrot (boiled) has a GI of 33.  A whole carrot raw has a GI of 16.  Both of those levels are considered to be ‘low’ on the Glycemic Index scale, meaning they don’t cause a dramatic rise in blood sugar levels.

Now maybe when you look at the Glycemic index, you see diced and boiled carrots with a GI of 49.  A Snickers bar has a GI of 43.  Maybe that’s where the misconception came into play.  Cooked carrots have a higher GI than a candy bar?  They are roughly the same size even.  Ad on paper, yes, that’s an accurate count.

But no so fast, let’s take a look at that a little more carefully.  A Snickers candy bar has 31g of sugar, with only 1g of fiber to slow down that sugar intake.  Compare that to the 2.89g of sugar in a carrot. You’d have to eat more than 10 medium sized carrots in one sitting to get the same amount of sugar in a candy bar.  It would seem the Glycemic Index is a bit mis-leading.

That’s why they came up with the Glycemic Load to account for quantity.  It looks like those same carrots have about half the Glycemic load as a Snickers candy bar, based on the charts I could find and even those numbers were all different.

However, considering the nutritional content of a carrot I would say that only adds more reasons to eat carrots on any diet.  They contain vitamins and minerals, and are particularly high in Vitamin A and Potassium and a good source of Lutein.

So put more simply, I just don’t see the low carb issue with carrots.  That’s why I eat carrots on a low carb diet.  I even make it easy and just eat them raw.  And I also like to use the California Veggie (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) blend cooked to go with a steak or chicken.  And it is kind of nice to eat something sweet, even if it’s just a carrot.

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