Will Carrots Help You Lose Weight?

Will Carrots Help You Lose Weight?

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Carrots can be a nutritious part of a low-calorie weight-loss diet.

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Carrots provide a variety of essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium and vitamins A, C and K. As with many other nonstarchy vegetables, they don't contain a lot of calories, which makes them a good food choice for people who are trying to lose weight. This is especially true if you eat carrots instead of other foods that are higher in calories.

Low in Calories

You need to create a 500-calorie deficit each day to lose about 1 pound per week. Choosing carrots instead of sweet potatoes, another good but higher-calorie vegetable source of vitamin A, will help you save calories and create this deficit. You can eat a cup of sliced carrots, either raw or cooked, for about 50 calories, while a 1-cup serving of baked sweet potato has 180 calories.

Low in Energy Density

Nonstarchy vegetables, such as carrots, are low in energy density, or calories per gram, due to their high water and fiber content. This means you can eat a lot of carrots without consuming a lot of calories, helping you feel full while still staying within your daily calorie goal. At meals, fill half of your plate with carrots and other nonstarchy vegetables and serve yourself smaller portions of starchy foods and meats to help lower the energy density of your entire meal and make it easier to lose weight.

Potential for Weight Loss

A study published in "Nutrition Research" in April 2008 found that for each 3.5-ounce increase in the amount of vegetables people consumed per day, weight loss increased by approximately 1.1 pounds over a period of six months. This is the equivalent of adding slightly more than 3/4 cup of carrots to your diet each day. This isn't a very large effect on weight, however, so you can't count on eating more carrots or other vegetables to bring about a significant amount of weight loss. You'll get better results by eating fewer calories and increasing the amount of time you spend exercising.

Dietary Considerations

Simply adding carrots to your diet won't help you lose weight if you don't reduce your overall caloric intake. A study published in "Experimental Biology and Medicine" in May 2009 found that advising people to eat more vegetables helped people lose weight in the first three months of the study, but by 12 months they had regained some of this weight, although they didn't surpass their original weight. Advising people to follow a diet low in fat and calories, however, led to larger and more long-term weight-loss results.