Carrots are low in calories, and are a great source of vitamins and fiber. Some diets feature carrots as the main food source, and may promise quick weight loss and other health benefits. While carrots should be included in a healthy eating plan, too many carrots in your diet can have unpleasant consequences.
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The Add a Carrot diet is just that -- you eat a whole carrot at the start of every meal. You may substitute another very low-calorie cruciferous vegetable, but carrots are preferred for their massive nutritional punch. The crunchy, fiber-packed carrot will help you feel full more quickly, so you eat less. According to psychotherapist Thayer White's 1995 book, "Be Your Own Therapist," acceptable substitutes include cucumbers, zucchini, turnips and even dill pickles, homemade vegetable juice or soup. Thayer says even plain water taken before a meal will help produce the full feeling.
The Carrot Juice Fast is a crash diet that promises quick weight loss and body purification. This 7-day diet requires you to drink 8 oz. of carrot juice, preferably organic, every 2 to 3 hours for a week. The Nature Cure Methods alternative medicine website claims the diet detoxifies the body and can even reverse diseases. The website suggests a detoxification diet should only be undertaken when you want to treat a chronic condition.
The Add a Carrot diet has no specific time frame. Three carrots per day is not unduly excessive, but if you notice an orange tinge to your palms or other areas of your skin, cut back on the number of carrots you consume daily.
Although Nature Cure Methods' website mentions that some followers have used the Carrot Juice Fast for more than a week, 7 days seems to be the magic number. Any detoxification benefits of consuming nothing but carrot juice should be complete within 3 to 7 days.
One cup of raw carrots has fewer than 53 calories, according to The World's Healthiest Foods website, and provides 600 times the Food and Drug Administration's minimum recommended daily value, or DV. Carrots are high in vitamins B1, B3, B6, K and C. Carrots are a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, molybdenum, magnesium, folate, potassium and phosphorus. Rich in antioxidants, carrots also contain chlorine and sulfur that help the liver flush toxic wastes. You probably know that carrots aid good eyesight, but you may be surprised to learn that carrots also contain calcium and have properties that may help protect against lung cancer. A study published in the May 1990 issue of the journal "Nutrition Reviews" found that consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables high in carotenoids -- a major ingredient in carrots and a precursor to vitamin A -- is associated with a lower risk of lung cancer. The study found that simply taking vitamin A supplements does not show this benefit.
While carrots are generally an excellent addition to any eating plan, beware of eating too many carrots. Beta-carotene, a type of carotenoid, is turned into vitamin A inside your body. Excess vitamin A is stored in fat, and can turn your skin orange or yellow, a condition called carotoderma. Boredom is a major consideration when you follow the Carrot Juice Fast. Any diet regimen or fast that mandates eating a single food more than any other quickly gets monotonous and makes the diet more difficult to follow.
As with any fast, the Carrot Juice Fast eliminates most nutrients and should not be followed for more than a few days at a time. There is no evidence available that carrots cure any disease. Consult with your doctor before following any diet, especially fasting or crash diets.