Have you ever considered drinking apple, kale or carrot juice for weight loss? The juice craze is taking the world by storm — and for good reason. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are loaded with antioxidants and have just a few calories per serving.
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Carrot juice, for example, is chock-full of vitamin A, potassium, manganese and carotenoids, offering both flavor and nutrition.
Carrot juice isn't a miracle fat burner and won't help you get leaner overnight. However, it's rich in vitamin A, carotenoids, antioxidants and other bioactive compounds that help reduce adiposity, facilitate weight loss and may prevent obesity-related complications.
Carrot Juice Nutrition Facts
Orange carrots and their juice are among the best dietary sources of beta-carotene. This antioxidant gives carrots their bright color and can be converted to vitamin A in the body.
Purple carrots are rich in anthocyanins and other phenolic compounds that keep your heart healthy. Lutein, a naturally occurring carotenoid in yellow and purple carrots, protects your eyes from oxidative stress and may reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
These vegetables have long been used for their rich flavor and nutritional value. One cup of grated carrots, or one serving, has only 45 calories and provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A. It's also a good source of fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin K. Carrot juice is even more nutritious.
It's not uncommon to see dieters drink carrot juice for weight loss, improved vision and better health. With just 47 calories per serving, this beverage is unlikely to add inches to your waistline. One serving (half a cup) delivers the following nutrients:
- 47 calories
- 1.1 grams of protein
- 11 grams of carbs
- 0.9 grams of fiber
- 4.6 grams of sugars
- 125 percent of the DV (daily value) of vitamin A
- 15 percent of the DV of vitamin K
- 15 percent of the DV of vitamin B6
- 11 percent of the DV of vitamin C
- 7 percent of the DV of potassium
- 4 percent of the DV of magnesium
Carrot juice also contains large doses of vitamin E, alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and trace minerals. Orange juice, by comparison, provides 56 calories and 10.4 grams of sugars per serving (half a cup). It's significantly lower in vitamin A and higher in vitamin C.
The same amount of apple juice has 57 calories and 11.9 grams of sugars per serving, while grapefruit juice contains 46 calories and 10 grams of sugars per serving (half a cup). Grape juice is even higher in calories and carbs. One serving (half a cup) provides 76 calories and 18.7 grams of carbs, including 18 grams of natural sugars.
Carrot Juice Benefits
As you see, carrot juice is lower in sugar than most juices, which makes it ideal for low-carb dieters. It also contains potent antioxidants, especially lutein, zeaxanthin and carotenoids. According to a September 2018 review featured in the journal Nutrients, lutein has beneficial effects on eyesight, cognitive function and cardiovascular health. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and may help in the treatment of coronary artery disease.
Beta-carotene, one of the most abundant nutrients in carrot juice, may lower the risk of all-cause mortality, as reported in a May 2016 review published in Scientific Reports. Furthermore, it may protect against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A cohort study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in November 2015 suggests that a diet rich in carotenoids may help prevent metabolic syndrome.
After ingestion, this antioxidant is metabolized into vitamin A. Your body needs this fat-soluble vitamin to build and maintain skeletal and soft tissues, replace skin cells, fight infection and more. Beta-carotene also fights oxidative stress, supports immune function and protects against chronic diseases, according to the review in Scientific Reports.
Due to its high antioxidant levels, carrot juice benefits your health and longevity, but does it help with weight loss? According to the latest research, the answer is yes.
Carrot Juice and Weight Loss
Drinking carrot juice for weight loss won't transform your body overnight. This beverage, though, can improve your antioxidant status and overall diet. Additionally, you can use it as a substitute for soda and other sugar-laden beverages.
Certain nutrients in carrot juice may facilitate weight loss, according to a study published in the December 2015 edition of the Lifestyle Genomics. Researchers have found that vitamin A may help reduce abdominal obesity, especially visceral fat. This type of adipose tissue surrounds your vital organs, increasing the risk of cardiometabolic disorders.
Read more: The 7 Principles of Fat Loss
A more recent study featured in Clinical Nutrition in December 2017 suggests that retinol (a natural form of vitamin A), beta-carotene, lycopene and other antioxidants may decrease adiposity and support fat loss. At the same time, they may protect against obesity-related complications, such as hypertension. Furthermore, vitamin A deficiency has been linked to metabolic syndrome, obesity and elevated triglyceride levels.
As mentioned earlier, carrot juice is an excellent source of carotenoids. These natural compounds play a key role in fat cell metabolism and differentiation. Certain carotenoids may actually increase fat oxidation, reduce adiposity and prevent fat storage, according to an August 2016 review published in the journal Carotenoids in Nature.
Carrot Juice: Friend or Foe?
The above findings show that drinking carrot juice for weight loss can be a helpful strategy. However, you still need to eat mindfully and watch your portions. Carrot juice isn't calorie-free. If you drink too much of it, the calories will add up.
Read more: How to Detox in 3 Days Without Juicing
Enjoy this beverage as part of a balanced diet, rather than relying on juicing recipes for weight loss. The researchers at Harvard Health Publishing warn about the potential dangers of juicing. Even the healthiest fruit and vegetable juices can lead to weight gain when consumed in excess. Additionally, these beverages contain little or no fiber and protein, two nutrients that keep you full and suppress hunger.
This doesn't mean that carrot juice isn't good for you. On the contrary, it can boost your nutrient intake and improve overall health. Juice fasting is a whole different story, however. Living on juices for days or weeks can result in fatigue, muscle loss, digestive discomfort and nutrient deficiencies.
- University of Bristol School of Chemistry: "Beta-Carotene"
- Tufts University: "Do Multi-Colored Carrots Have Less Beta-Carotene?"
- American Optometric Association: "Lutein & Zeaxanthin"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Carrots"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Carrot Juice, Canned"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Orange Juice"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Apple Juice"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Grapefruit Juice"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Grape Juice"
- MDPI: "The Effect of Lutein on Eye and Extra-Eye Health"
- NCBI: "Lutein Exerts Anti-Inflammatory Effects in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease"
- Scientific Reports: "Dietary, Circulating Beta-Carotene and Risk of All-Cause Mortality: A Meta-Analysis From Prospective Studies"
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- Carotenoids in Nature: "Carotenoids in Adipose Tissue Biology and Obesity"
- Harvard.edu: "Juicing - Fad or Fab?"
- Linus Pauling Institute: "Carotenoids"
- Linus Pauling Institute: "Vitamin A Toxicity"