Problems of Eating Raw Carrots
Fresh carrot juice and raw organic vegetables over rustic wooden table
Problems With Eating Lots of Raw Carrots.
Raw carrots make a convenient and healthy snack, but too much of even a good thing may cause problems. Overindulging in raw carrots, which contain 4 grams of fiber per cup, can cause intestinal problems and may interfere with nutrient absorption. Too many carrots can even change your skin color, an alarming but harmless effect.
Carrots contain carotene, a yellow pigment that is a precursor for vitamin A. Consuming this nutrient is one of the main health benefits of carrots. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults need between 700 and 900 micrograms of vitamin A each day. One cup of chopped carrots provides 1,069 micrograms of this vitamin, which is more than the daily recommendation.
However, eating large amounts of vegetables high in carotene, such as carrots, might cause your skin to turn yellow or orange, according to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The color change is most noticeable in areas with an abundance of sweat glands, such as the palms and soles of the hands and feet. The color might also appear noticeably in the nasolabial folds around the nose. Vitamin A toxicity is not associated with this harmless phenomenon, which will fade when you decrease your carrot intake. However, it can last for several months. Cooking and mashing carrots may actually increase the availability of carotene for absorption.
Carrots contain fiber, a necessary part of everyone’s diet. Fiber helps control blood sugar levels and improve digestion. Most Americans do not get enough fiber, making it a “nutrient of public health concern,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The recommended fiber intake varies by sex and weight, but the daily value for fiber is 25 grams, based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
While increasing fiber intake has benefits, increasing it too fast can cause stomach discomfort, including gas and bloating. Large amounts of fiber can also cause constipation if you don’t drink enough water at the same time. High fiber intake, particularly if not introduced slowly, may make it difficult for your body to process food; intestinal blockages can even develop in severe cases. Because suddenly increasing your intake may cause symptoms; increase fiber gradually to avoid GI distress and increase your fluid intake to 64 ounces per day, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Drinking adequate amounts of fluid will also help prevent constipation.
Vitamin and Mineral Absorption
Eating large amounts of carrots or other foods containing fiber could interfere with the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. According to a study published in 2015 by Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, research has demonstrated both negative and positive effects of fiber on mineral absorption. Many studies have been performed using rats, making the information difficult to directly apply to humans. Interference with vitamin and mineral absorption could lead to deficiencies, especially in young children. However, most people who eat a high-fiber diet take in enough vitamins and minerals to prevent these problems.
Here are four potential reasons why your stomach hurts after eating carrots, and what to do about it.
1. You’re Eating Too Much Fiber
Fiber is an essential nutrient that supports bowel health. It can help with constipation relief, weight maintenance and can also help lower your risk for conditions like diabetes and heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Vegetables are a major source of the nutrient, and carrots are no exception — one medium-sized raw carrot contains 1.5 grams of fiber, according to the Mayo Clinic.
But even though the nutrient is a key part of a balanced diet, eating too much fiber at once — which can happen if you have too many carrots — or quickly upping your daily fiber intake can lead to stomach pain after eating carrots, along with symptoms like gas, bloating and cramping, per the Mayo Clinic.
That’s because your body doesn’t digest fiber. Rather than breaking down in your GI tract like many other foods, fiber stays relatively intact, according to the Mayo Clinic. As a result, raw carrots are hard to digest, and carrots do cause gas for some.
Fix it: Avoid stomach pain after eating raw carrots by gradually increasing your fiber intake over the course of a few weeks, per the Mayo Clinic. This will allow your body to adjust.
Cooking your veggies may also help you avoid uncomfortable symptoms — while carrots are hard to digest on their own, cooking them can help break down nutrients so the food is easier on your gut, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
How Much Fiber Should You Eat Every Day?
According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should aim to eat the following amount of the nutrient per day:
People assigned male at birth: 28 to 34 g
2. You Have an Intolerance
Another potential reason why carrots make your stomach hurt is that you’re sensitive to the veggie.
Indeed, you may have a food intolerance that makes it hard for your body to digest carrots, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Signs of a food intolerance include:
Visit to your doctor if you suspect you have a specific food intolerance or sensitivity. You can usually prevent symptoms by limiting or eliminating the problem food from your diet, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
3. You’re Allergic
Though uncommon, it’s possible a carrot allergy is the cause of your stomach pain (even though it isn’t one of the major food allergens). According to the Mayo Clinic, allergic reactions can cause the following symptoms:
Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
It’s worth noting that a food allergy isn’t the same thing as an intolerance: Food intolerances primarily lead to digestive issues, whereas allergic reactions tend to produce more respiratory or skin-related symptoms.
People with food allergies can have an extreme allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, where your throat swells up and makes it hard to breathe, according to the Mayo Clinic. Seek medical care immediately if this happens to you.
4. You Have Food Poisoning
If your carrot-induced stomach ache is accompanied by symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, you may have food poisoning, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Raw carrots that haven’t been properly washed, stored or cooked can contain disease-causing microorganisms like salmonella, staphylococcus or E. coli, per the NLM.
And if you eat these contaminants, you can come down with a case of foodborne illness. Symptoms may include: