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. While the name might lead you to believe that this vegetable is a baby version of larger 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 than regular carrots.

The availability of baby carrots skyrocketed after the 1980s and helped carrots become one of the nation's most commonly consumed vegetables. Like regular carrots, baby carrots are a healthy addition to your diet, providing beta-carotene, fiber, and other nutrients.

Baby Carrot Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for a 100g serving (about 2/3 cup) of baby carrots.

  • Calories: 35
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 78mg
  • Carbohydrates: 8.2g
  • Fiber: 2.9g
  • Sugars: 4.8g
  • Protein: 0.6g

Carbs

A single serving (100g) of baby carrots has 35 calories and just over 8 grams of carbohydrates. That includes 2.9 grams of fiber and 4.8 grams of naturally-occurring sugar. There is very little starch in baby carrots. As a basis for comparison, a similar serving of regular carrots provides 41 calories, 9.6g of carbohydrate, 2.8g of fiber, and 4.7g of naturally-occurring sugar, according to USDA data.

The glycemic index has not been recorded specifically for baby carrots. According to several sources, the glycemic index of raw or boiled carrots is approximately 35–39, making them a low-glycemic food.

However, carrots are considered to be one of the higher glycemic vegetables because they are higher in sugar than foods like broccoli or green beans. The glycemic index is a ranking system that estimates a food's impact on blood sugar.

Fats

Baby carrots are nearly fat-free, providing just 0.1 grams per serving.

Protein

Baby carrots are not a good source of protein. A serving has just 0.6 grams of the nutrient.

Vitamins and Minerals

Baby carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, specifically providing 6391 micrograms of beta carotene—an important antioxidant that gives carrots their orange color. Baby carrots are a good source of vitamin K. Carrots also offer lower amounts of potassium, manganese, folate, and iron.

Health Benefits

Baby carrots provide similar benefits to regular carrots. However, because baby carrots are peeled, you may lose a bit of the nutritional potential, but only if you don't peel regular carrots when you eat them. For example, the skin of the carrot provides greater amounts of vitamin C. So regular carrots provide nearly twice the amount of vitamin C as baby carrots, according to USDA data.

Other health benefits of baby carrots can be attributed to their vitamin A content. Carrots also provide fiber which can also offer nutritional advantages.

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 age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common cause of vision loss that can occur as you age.

In fact, long-term studies have shown that consumption of carrots and other foods that contain beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, can help protect your vision and reduce your risk of advanced AMD.

May Boost Heart Health

Baby carrots contain several phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may help to 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 help to lower serum cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

May Lower Risk of Cancer

The vitamin A in baby carrots protects DNA from the oxidative damage that can lead to cancer.

While regular carrots come in many colors—each providing different antioxidants—baby carrots only come orange. But the beta carotene in orange carrots may be protective against certain types of cancer. One large research review showed that a higher intake of carrots was associated with a reduced risk of prostate and gastric cancers.

May Preserve Dental Health

Eating crunchy carrots may be able to help you maintain strong, healthy teeth. One published study evaluated the rate of tooth-loss in an elderly Japanese population. Researchers found that a higher intake of beta carotene is protective against dental issues. The study suggests that a dietary pattern that is high in carrots, squash, leafy greens, and lower in rice, is beneficial for the retention of teeth despite a lack of proper dental care.

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.

May Prevent Cognitive Decline

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

Allergies

There are limited research studies investigating carrot allergy. But the limited studies that do exist indicate that carrot allergies are found in about 25% of people with food allergies. If you are allergic to birch tree pollen, you may experience a cross-reactivity that's triggered by carrots called oral allergy syndrome. Symptoms may 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 harmless condition called carotenemia.

Carotenemia is a yellowing of the skin caused by high consumption of beta carotene, including carrots. Other foods high in beta carotene include apricots, mango, and papaya. Carotenemia is a benign condition, but it can be confused with jaundice. The yellowing effect typically resolves itself shortly after the individual reduces their consumption of beta carotene.

Varieties

Baby carrots have evolved over the last few decades. The variety 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 small 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, 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 the core of each veggie. While a regular carrot has a substantial core, a baby carrot has a very small core.

When It's Best

Baby carrots are a cool-season crop and can tolerate colder weather and even a freeze. If you grow them at home 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 them earlier than your regular carrots. Baby carrots are usually ready to harvest 50 to 60 days while regular mature carrots need a few more are ready in about 75 days.

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

Storage and Food Safety

Baby carrots have a shorter shelf life than regular carrots because their protective layer (the peel) has been removed. You should store baby carrots 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, but they can also be cooked into a variety of dishes. Cooked carrots are a popular ingredient in soups and stews. Add freshly shredded carrots to salads, or dip baby carrots in hummus. Roasting carrots helps to bring out their natural sweetness. 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.

If you consume baby carrots raw, either eat them plain or choose a nutritious dip to boost the health benefits. Hummus is a great topping for carrots or consider a Lemon-Herb Lentil Dip to spice things up.

Recipes

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Carrots,baby, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  2. Carrots, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2020.

  3. Glycemic index for 60+ foods. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Updated 2020.

  4. Does Peeling Carrots Remove Nutrients? Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter. Updated September 17, 2019

  5. Vitamin A: Fact Sheets for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated 2020.

  6. Wu J, Cho E, Willett WC, Sastry SM, Schaumberg DA. Intakes of lutein, zeaxanthin, and other carotenoids and age-related macular degeneration during 2 decades of prospective follow-upJAMA Ophthalmol. 2015;133(12):1415–1424. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.3590

  7. Ahmad T, Cawood M, Iqbal Q, et al. Phytochemicals in and their health benefits-review article. Foods. 2019;8(9). doi:10.3390/foods8090424

  8. McRae MP. Dietary fiber Is beneficial for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: An umbrella review of meta-analysesJ Chiropr Med. 2017;16(4):289-299. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2017.05.005

  9. Chen H, Shao F, Zhang F, Miao Q. Association between dietary carrot intake and breast cancer: A meta-analysisMedicine (Baltimore). 2018;97(37):e12164. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000012164

  10. Ishimiya M, Nakamura H, Kobayashi Y, et al. Tooth loss-related dietary patterns and cognitive impairment in an elderly Japanese population: The Nakajima study. PLoS ONE. 2018;13(3):e0194504. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0194504

  11. Diet and Dental Health. Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association.

  12. Ballmer-Weber BK, Wüthrich B, Wangorsch A, Fötisch K, Altmann F, Vieths S. Carrot allergy: double-blinded, placebo-controlled food challenge and identification of allergensJ Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001;108(2):301-307. doi:10.1067/mai.2001.116430

  13. Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) or pollen fruit syndrome (PFS). American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

  14. Edigin E, Asemota IR, Olisa E, Nwaichi C. Carotenemia: A case reportCureus. 2019;11(7):e5218. Published 2019 Jul 23. doi:10.7759/cureus.5218

  15. Baby Carrots. USDA Foodkeeper App. Updated April 26, 2019