Raw carrots make a convenient and healthy snack, but too much of even a good thing may cause problems. Overindulging in raw carrots, which contain 4 grams of fiber per cup, can cause intestinal problems and may interfere with nutrient absorption. Too many carrots can even change your skin color, an alarming but harmless effect.
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Yellow Tint Alert
Carrots contain carotene, a yellow pigment that is a precursor for vitamin A. Consuming this nutrient is one of the main health benefits of carrots. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults need between 700 and 900 micrograms of vitamin A each day. One cup of chopped carrots provides 1,069 micrograms of this vitamin, which is more than the daily recommendation.
However, eating large amounts of vegetables high in carotene, such as carrots, might cause your skin to turn yellow or orange, according to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The color change is most noticeable in areas with an abundance of sweat glands, such as the palms and soles of the hands and feet. The color might also appear noticeably in the nasolabial folds around the nose. Vitamin A toxicity is not associated with this harmless phenomenon, which will fade when you decrease your carrot intake. However, it can last for several months. Cooking and mashing carrots may actually increase the availability of carotene for absorption.
Too Much Fiber
Carrots contain fiber, a necessary part of everyone's diet. Fiber helps control blood sugar levels and improve digestion. Most Americans do not get enough fiber, making it a "nutrient of public health concern," according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The recommended fiber intake varies by sex and weight, but the daily value for fiber is 25 grams, based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
While increasing fiber intake has benefits, increasing it too fast can cause stomach discomfort, including gas and bloating. Large amounts of fiber can also cause constipation if you don't drink enough water at the same time. High fiber intake, particularly if not introduced slowly, may make it difficult for your body to process food; intestinal blockages can even develop in severe cases. Because suddenly increasing your intake may cause symptoms; increase fiber gradually to avoid GI distress and increase your fluid intake to 64 ounces per day, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Drinking adequate amounts of fluid will also help prevent constipation.
Vitamin and Mineral Absorption
Eating large amounts of carrots or other foods containing fiber could interfere with the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. According to a study published in 2015 by Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, research has demonstrated both negative and positive effects of fiber on mineral absorption. Many studies have been performed using rats, making the information difficult to directly apply to humans. Interference with vitamin and mineral absorption could lead to deficiencies, especially in young children. However, most people who eat a high-fiber diet take in enough vitamins and minerals to prevent these problems.
- Oregon State University: Linus Pauling Institute: Fiber
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Carrots, Raw
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Dietary Fiber
- University of Arkansas for Medical Science: If You Eat Too Many Carrots, Will Your Skin Turn Orange?
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: The Unresolved Role of Dietary Fibers on Mineral Absorption
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin A Fact Sheet for Consumers