Carrot Carb and Nutritional Information

Carrot nutrients are associated with a lower risk for heart disease.

Dish of baby carrots
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Carrots are root vegetables and many people think that all root vegetables are high in carbs. While some like potatoes are, others are not. Even on a low-carb diet, you might want to decide to embrace carrots in moderate amounts. Carrots are among the lowest-carb of the root vegetables and are packed with valuable nutrients.

The nutrients in carrots such as carotenoids, which are found in orange vegetables, can give you a great nutritional boost.

Consider a sprinkling of grated carrots on a salad or adding chopped carrots to your favorite low-carb soup recipe.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Carrots

Carrots are lower in carbs than many low-sugar fruits such as strawberries. There are other root vegetables, like turnips and radishes, which are on the lower end of the carbohydrate spectrum as well.

Carrot PreparationsCarb and Calorie Counts
1/2 cup chopped raw carrot4 grams net carbs, 2 grams fiber, and 26 calories​
1 medium baby carrot (about 3 per oz)1 gram net carb and 4 calories
2 oz (56 grams) raw baby carrots3 grams net carbs, 2 grams fiber, and 20 calories
1/2 cup cooked sliced carrots4 grams net carbs, 2 grams fiber and 27 calories

Glycemic Index for Carrots

The glycemic index (GI) of a food is an indicator of how much and how fast it raises your blood sugar. The studies on the glycemic index of carrots have wildly varied results.

Over the years, carrots gained a bad glycemic reputation. This is primarily the result of one study that showed carrots had a glycemic index of 92. These were most likely cooked carrots, however, and it doesn't match up with other results.

The Mayo Clinic notes that the glycemic index of raw carrots is 35.

Another study of cooked carrots showed a glycemic index of 33. The international tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values give boiled carrots a glycemic index of 39 which is the accepted value today.

It safe to say that raw carrots most likely have a lower glycemic index than cooked ones. As you can see from the more recent studies, even cooked carrots are not close to that very high mark of 92.

Glycemic Load of Carrots

The glycemic load of a food is related to the glycemic index but it takes serving size into account. A glycemic load of one is the equivalent of eating 1 gram of glucose. Since the computation of the glycemic load is based on the index, it is somewhat difficult to assign a glycemic load to carrots.

Glycemic Load of Carrots

1/2 cup chopped raw carrots: 1

1 medium baby carrot (about 3 per ounce): 0
2 ounces (56 grams) raw baby carrot: 1
1/2 cup cooked sliced carrots: 2

The Health Benefits of Carrots

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and alpha and beta-carotene. You can get an entire day's supply of vitamin A from 1/4 cup of grated carrot, which is a little more than an ounce of carrots. Carrots are also a very good source of vitamin K as well as a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium.

Additionally, they are a fair source of other micronutrients.

Diets high in carotenoids (found in orange, yellow, and red plants) have been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and some cancers. In one comprehensive study, researchers point to the fact that carotenoids from whole foods such as carrots are a much better option than those from dietary supplements.

In addition, the carotenoids may also improve glucose metabolism, lower insulin resistance, and provide other health benefits.

Low-Carb Recipes With Carrots

There are plenty of ways to enjoy carrots on a low-carb diet. You might begin with something like rainbow soup, which features foods from many colors of the rainbow.

Chicken vegetable soup is another good example of the healthy, nutrient-packed types of meals that will not break your carb bank.

A Word From Verywell

Adding carrots to your low-carb diet can bring some valuable nutrients to your daily meals. As far as root vegetables go, this is one of your better options; just try to eat them in moderation. Also, keep in mind that the hype about carrots being nearly off the charts on the glycemic index is not accurate. Instead, they fall into the category of a low GI food.

Source:

Atkinson FS, Foster-Powell K, Brand-Miller JC. International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008. Diabetes Care. 2008;31(12):2281-2283. doi:10.2337/dc08-1239.

Donaldson, MS. A Carotenoid Health Index Based on Plasma Carotenoid and Health Outcomes. Nutrients. 2011 Dec. 3(12): 1003-1022.

Higdon J, Drake V, Delage B. Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2016.

Mayo Clinic Staff. Glycemic Index Diet: What's Behind the Claims. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 2014.

USDA Food Composition Database. USDA. 

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