Are Carrots Okay to Eat on Keto
Recently, one of the people in my community asked me:
Should I eat carrots on keto?
The answer may surprise you.
You may have seen articles declaring that carrots aren’t keto-friendly. A typical rule of thumb that’s become popular is that vegetables which grow above the ground are good on a keto diet, while those that grow underground aren’t.
While this generally is true, especially for potatoes, let’s take a look at whether or not you’ll have to give up carrots when you go keto.
In this article, I’ll explain:
- Whether carrots can be eaten on a low-carb keto diet
- The difference between glycemic index and glycemic load, and why it matters
- What carrot’s actual impact is on your Fat Storing Hormone and blood sugar levels
- The one way to eat carrots that’s acceptable on the keto diet
Time to dive into some basic facts about carrots.
How Carrots Rank On Two Important Scales
First, we need to look at carrot’s ranking on what’s called the glycemic index. It’s a scale that ranks carbohydrates in terms of how quickly they will raise your blood sugar.
A score below 55 is low. 56 to 69 is moderate. 70 and above is high.
Carrot’s glycemic index score is 72; it’s fairly high.
Based on this, you might quickly rule out carrots for keto.
I know - if you really enjoy carrots, you’re probably feeling pretty bummed right about now.
But not so fast.
We need to look at this number in a larger context, because another important factor to consider is called the glycemic load. The glycemic load is the amount of carbohydrates in a portion of food. While the amount of carbs a food contains is critical to understand, the glycemic load also takes into account the amount of fiber in food.
And here’s why fiber is important to consider.
We want to know about fiber because the more fiber a food contains, the more influence it has on the food’s glycemic index. The fiber in carrots inhibits a high glycemic reaction in your body. In other words, it offsets a sharp rise in Fat Storing Hormone and blood sugar.
With me so far?
I’m going to throw a little bit of math your way, but don’t worry - I don’t expect you to memorize this formula, I’m giving it to you so you’ll understand how a food’s glycemic load is calculated.
To calculate glycemic load, here’s the formula:
Multiply the glycemic index of a food by the number of carbs it contains, then divide by 100.
A score fewer than 10 is low; over 21 is high.
In the case of carrots, here’s what we get:
72 (glycemic index score) multiplied by 4 (the number of grams of carbs in a medium-size carrot), divided by 100 equals 2.88.
This is a very low score. It would take a lot of carrots to negatively impact your keto diet. Although they are high on the glycemic index scale, carrots contain a significant amount of fiber, resulting in their glycemic load being quite low.
Why Fiber Matters
Carrots have both soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers can improve your health because they’re linked to less cardiovascular disease and increased gut health.
Also, insoluble fibers may help reduce the risk of constipation that some people experience when they eat keto. Now, I want to say that though for years you’ve heard the importance of getting enough fiber, I’m not talking about taking fiber-based laxatives to “keep you regular”. When you eat a Healthy KetoTM diet, you’ll eat a lot of vegetables and naturally get plenty of fiber. Constipation shouldn’t be an issue.
Carrots Are A-OK On Keto - As Long As You Eat Them This Way
For those of you who love carrots, and were wondering if you’d have to give them up on a keto diet, this is good news. You can keep the food that you enjoy.
Slice them or grate them onto a salad. Cut them into sticks and eat them with keto-friendly hummus.
But a word of caution: carrot juice isn’t keto-friendly. Carrot juice has the fiber removed, resulting in it triggering a high glycemic reaction that will raise your Fat Storing Hormone and blood sugar, and knock you out of ketosis. This happens because, without its fiber content, carrot juice is almost pure sugar.
Besides carrot juice, cooked carrots aren’t advisable on keto. Cooking raises their glycemic load to an unacceptably high level, so you want to avoid them on keto.
But feel free to enjoy raw carrots, as long as you’re not going crazy eating scads of them all the time.
Time to get serious about going keto!
- Tomato vs Carrot Which is Better on Keto
- Can I Eat Fruit Once I Lose the Weight on Keto
- Will Vegetables Slow Weight Loss
Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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