I have been a dietitian for a long time. One of most widely misunderstood foods in my experience is carrots, believe it or not. I see my fair share of diabetic patients and it’s this population that often is misinformed about the vegetable. What I hear from patients/clients is that they avoid carrots because they have too much sugar. I still have not figured out in my 14-year career where exactly this came from. This is far though from the truth. Carrots are not a high sugar food. Carrots truly are good for you!
Carrots are grown in the ground. The edible orange portion is the root, so is classified as a root vegetable. Carrots do come in other colors besides orange: purple, red, white, and yellow. I have only see photographs of other color varieties but have yet to find them in a local market. Even though they are available throughout the year they are “in season” during the summer and fall. In season fruits and vegetables will be the freshest and most flavorful. In-season produce is also more affordable.
Carrots are rich source of beta carotene. Beta-carotene gives carrots and other plants their color. Beta carotene is converted to Vitamin A in our bodies, so making carrots indirectly a rich source of Vitamin A. Nutrient composition of 1/2 cup fresh carrots: 25 calories, 0 g Fat, 45 mg Sodium, 6 g Total Carbohydrates, 2 g Dietary Fiber, 3 g Sugar, 1 g Protein. Most of the sugar in carrots is sucrose, that same as table sugar.
Carrots contain healthy fiber and a number of phytochemicals, one of which is carotenoids. Phytochemicals have been shown to possibly reduce risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The nutrients in carrots are also important for eye health.
So, don’t be afraid of the sugar in carrots. Naturally occurring sugar is not dangerous, but needed for your body. Remember the cells of your body, especially your brain need to be fed a steady supply of glucose, which is the most basic form of you guess it, sugar.