Bright orange, sweet and refreshing, fresh carrot juice can be a good way of getting some of your essential nutrients. Carrot juice is mostly healthy for you, but it can cause some side effects, such as yellowing skin, if you drink a lot. Eat a variety of vegetables from different groups; carrot juice should not be the sole, or even primary, source of vegetables in your diet.
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Less Dietary Fiber
Carrots are naturally rich in fiber, with a 1-cup serving of chopped carrots containing 3.6 grams of fiber. However, juicing removes the majority of the fiber content from carrots, leaving behind only the soluble fiber content of the vegetable. This makes carrot juice less nutritious than whole raw carrots. As most Americans already do not get enough fiber in their regular diets -- the recommended intake is 20 to 35 grams per day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center -- consider eating whole carrots rather than drinking carrot juice.
Carrots are rich in carotenoids, namely beta carotene, the pigment that gives carrots their bright orange color. Drinking too much carrot juice may lead to a high beta carotene intake, which can cause your skin to yellow. In some cases, people may mistake this as a sign of jaundice -- a serious condition that requires medical attention, in which your skin and the whites of your eyes yellow over time. However, if your skin is yellowing due to too much carrot juice consumption, the whites of your eyes will not turn yellow. To be safe, consult a doctor.
Vitamin A Potential Toxicity
Beta carotene is converted by your body into vitamin A and can help you meet your recommended dietary allowance, which is 700 to 1,300 micrograms per day for women and 900 micrograms per day for men. A 1-cup serving of chopped carrots produces 1/2 cup of carrot juice, which has 1,069 micrograms of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. This provides 82 to over 100 percent of the RDA for adults. Too much vitamin A in your system can lead to toxicity because the excess amounts are stored in your body. While beta carotene will not cause vitamin A toxicity on its own, if you are taking vitamin supplements that contain vitamin A at the same time as you drink large quantities of carrot juice, you may be at greater risk of developing vitamin A toxicity. The tolerable upper intake level of vitamin A is 3,000 micrograms.
Importance of Vegetable Variety and Raw Carrots
Carrots belong to the vegetables category of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended dietary guidelines. While 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day are recommended, the USDA advises eating no more than 4 to 6 cups of orange vegetables per week. Consuming vegetables from other categories -- dark greens, starchy vegetables, legumes -- will help you get a range of essential nutrients that could not be provided by carrot juice alone. One cup of pure carrot juice counts as a single serving of vegetables. Carrot juice is also made with raw carrots, which, according to the University of Arkansas, has less beta carotene than cooked carrots. This may be important if you need to increase your vitamin A intake.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Carrots, Raw
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Fiber
- The Juicing Bible; Pat Crocker
- MedlinePlus: Jaundice
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin A
- Linus Pauling Institute: Carotenoids
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Many Vegetables Are Needed Daily or Weekly?
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: What Foods Are in the Vegetables Group?
- Science Daily: Cook Your Carrots for More Antioxidants, University of Arkansas Researchers Say