Baby Carrot Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Baby Carrots

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Baby carrots (Daucus carota) are a popular addition to lunch boxes and are commonly added to veggie trays or blended into smoothies. Like regular carrots, they are a healthy addition to your diet, providing vitamins, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients.

While the name may lead you to believe that this vegetable is a less mature version of regular carrots, they are not. Baby carrots are grown to be slightly sweeter than a large, whole carrot. They are also peeled and have a slightly different core.

Baby Carrot Nutrition Facts

An NLEA serving of baby carrots (85g, or 5 to 6 baby carrots) provides 30 calories, 0.5g of protein, 7g of carbohydrates, and 0.1g of fat. Baby carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 30
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 66.3mg
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 2.5g
  • Sugars: 4.1g
  • Protein: 0.5g
  • Vitamin A: 586mcg
  • Potassium: 201mg
  • Vitamin K: 8mcg

Carbs

A single serving (85g) of baby carrots has 7 grams of carbohydrates. This includes 2.5 grams of fiber and 4.1 grams of naturally occurring sugar. There is no starch in baby carrots.

As a basis for comparison, a similar serving of regular carrots provides 9.6 grams of carbohydrate, 2.8 grams of fiber, and 4.7 grams of naturally-occurring sugar according to USDA data.

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking system that estimates a food's impact on blood sugar and doesn't have a recording specifically for baby carrots. However, the GI of regular carrots is thought to be somewhere between 32 and 46, making it a low GI food.

Though they are a low GI food, carrots are considered to be one of the higher glycemic vegetables because they are higher in sugar than other options such as broccoli and green beans.

Fats

Baby carrots are nearly fat-free, providing just 0.1 grams per serving. That makes these crunchy veggies a great addition to a low-fat eating plan.

Protein

Baby carrots are not a good source of protein. One serving has just 0.5 grams of this macronutrient.

Vitamins and Minerals

Baby carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and contain roughly 5430 micrograms of beta-carotene (a vitamin A precursor) per serving. Beta-carotene has antioxidant properties that can help enhance your immune system's function.

Baby carrots are also a good source of vitamin K, with 5 to 6 baby carrots supplying roughly 8 micrograms of this nutrient. Vitamin K plays a role in bone health while also helping your blood clot after having a cut or laceration.

Carrots also offer lower amounts of other nutrients, some of which include potassium, manganese, folate, and iron.

Calories

There are only roughly 30 calories in a standard serving of baby carrots. That makes them a low-calorie food.

Summary

Baby carrots are low in calories and fat while also being higher in dietary fiber. Eat just one serving a day (5 to 6 baby carrots) and you'll also give your body a healthy dose of vitamin A, vitamin K, and other nutrients.

Health Benefits

Baby carrots provide similar health benefits to regular carrots.

Protects Against Vision Loss

The vitamin A in baby carrots provides carotenoids with antioxidant functions (including beta carotene). These compounds accumulate in the retina and are particularly helpful in preventing vision loss that can occur as you get older.

Long-term studies have shown that the consumption of carrots and other foods that contain beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin can help protect eyesight and reduce your risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Boosts Heart Health

Baby carrots contain several phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that polyphenols in carrots can increase bile secretion, which decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Baby carrots also provide dietary fiber which can further help lower serum cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Lowers Risk of Cancer

While regular carrots come in many colors—each providing different antioxidants—baby carrots only come orange. It is the beta carotene in orange carrots that may be protective against certain types of cancer.

For example, one large research review showed that a higher intake of carrots was associated with a reduced risk of prostate and gastric cancers.

Preserves Dental Health

Eating crunchy carrots may help you maintain strong, healthy teeth. One study evaluated the rate of tooth loss in an elderly Japanese population. Researchers found that a higher intake of beta carotene was protective against dental issues.

This study further suggested that a dietary pattern that is high in carrots, squash, and leafy greens is beneficial for the retention of teeth, regardless of a person's dental care practices.

The low sugar content of carrots, along with their beneficial vitamins, may improve gum health and provide protective effects. The American Dental Association recommends that we consume more vegetables and fewer sugary foods to maintain a healthy mouth.

Prevents Cognitive Decline

The same study noting the oral benefits of carrots also found that a diet including carrots may provide cognitive benefits. Specifically, a higher intake of cooked or raw vegetables (including carrots) was associated with a reduced risk of dementia.

Allergies

There is limited research investigating an allergy to carrots. Though, some studies have suggested that carrot allergies are found in as many as 25% of people.

If you are allergic to birch tree or mugwort pollen, you may experience a cross-reactivity that's triggered by carrots called oral allergy syndrome. Oral allergy symptoms can occur immediately or up to an hour after exposure.

If you suspect an allergy to carrots or oral allergy syndrome, see an allergist to discuss your concerns.

Adverse Effects

Eating large quantities of baby carrots is not likely to cause adverse effects. However, if you eat a very large amount on a regular basis, it's possible to develop a condition called carotenemia.

Carotenemia is a yellowing of the skin caused by the high consumption of beta carotene, including carrots. Other foods high in beta carotene include apricots, mango, and papaya.

Carotenemia is a benign condition (not dangerous or serious) that can be confused with jaundice. Though, the yellowing effect typically resolves itself shortly after the individual reduces their consumption of beta carotene.

Varieties

Baby carrots first came about in the 1980s, after a farmer sought to find a productive use for misshapen or broken carrots that were discarded after harvest. These carrots were whittled down to bite-sized carrots that consumers found easier to eat and more convenient than regular carrots that had to be peeled and cut.

In the years since their introduction, large-scale carrot farmers have changed the way they grow and harvest baby carrots. In short, they are no longer made from large carrots. Instead, they are grown from a hybrid seed that produces a smaller, thinner carrot.

Baby carrots are harvested when they are young to achieve a sweeter taste than you would get from a regular carrot. The difference between regular carrots and baby carrots is most evident if you examine their core. While a regular carrot has a substantial core, a baby carrot has a very small one.

When It's Best

Commercial baby carrots are grown year-round and you can find them any time of year at your local grocer. They are generally found fully peeled and packaged in small plastic bags, so you don't need to do anything to them before eating.

If you grow them at home, baby carrots are a cool-season crop and can tolerate colder weather, even a freeze. Just be sure to purchase and plant baby carrot seeds rather than regular carrot seeds to get the variety's sweeter taste.

You can expect to harvest baby carrots earlier than regular carrots. Baby carrots are usually ready to harvest in 50 to 60 days while regular, mature carrots need a few more days and aren't ready until about 75 days after planting them.

Storage and Food Safety

Baby carrots have a shorter shelf life than regular carrots because their protective layer (the peel) has been removed. Store them in the refrigerator where they will stay fresh for about four weeks.

Carrot manufacturers do not recommend freezing them. However, the USDA notes that if you do freeze them, they should stay fresh for about three months.

How to Prepare

Baby carrots are usually eaten raw. You can either eat them plain or choose a nutritious dip to enhance their flavor even more. Hummus is a great dip for carrots or consider a lemon-herb lentil dip to spice things up.

Baby carrots can also be cooked into a variety of dishes. Cooked carrots are a popular ingredient in soups and stews, for instance. Roasting carrots is another option that helps bring out their natural sweetness.

You may also decide to add freshly shredded carrots to your salads to boost their health benefits. And with a strong blender, you can make carrot juice or smoothies. Carrots may also be sliced thin and marinated as a side dish or topping.

Recipes

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18 Sources
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