There are many so-called “weight loss drinks” that don’t actually help. What about carrot juice, is it good for weight loss?
Carrots are the very popular elongated orange vegetable. They can be eaten raw and boiled on their own or as an ingredient in other dishes. Another way to consume them is as carrot juice.
Most juices are not great for weight loss but carrot juice may be a good fit for your weight loss diet depending on what alternatives you compare it with. In any case there are many foods and drinks that are more useful for weight loss than carrot juice.
If you decide to implement carrot juice into your daily life make sure you choose the ones that don’t have added sugar and other sweeteners.
Find out what nutrition values you can expect from carrot juice, some alternative weight loss drinks, if you do decide to drink more carrot juice when to do it for better weight loss results, and exactly how it compares to whole carrots.
How is carrot juice made?
The way carrot juice is made is pretty simple. The process starts with the whole vegetable, the carrot.
You then press out the juice of the carrot with a juicer machine. You then strain out the pulp, if you leave it in you would classify it more as a smoothie. Finally, some carrot juice brands add garlic, salt, sugar, and other sweeteners. Certain recipes also suggest adding ingredients like ginger, cucumber, cabbage, pepper, and many more.
These different methods make it so the nutrition in carrot juices can be different. This in turn makes it so they have different effects on weight loss.
In this article, the nutrition info of a kind of unsweetened carrot juice will be used (1). If you buy or prepare carrot juice at home you want to avoid the ones with a lot of added sugar and other sweeteners. Possibly also the ones with a lot of salt if your diet is already rich in sodium.
Micronutrients in carrot juice
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in carrot juice.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of this kind of carrot juice provides you with approximately (1):
- Vitamin A: 382% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin K: 19% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the DV
- Potassium: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 6% of the DV
- Thiamin: 6% of the DV
- Manganese: 6% of the DV
These amounts will also vary depending on how the carrot juice brand extracts the juice.
These are good amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams compared to many other foods. On top of that 100 grams of a fluid is easily consumed. One glass of carrot juice would already be around 200 grams.
Carrot juice can help you consume good amounts of certain vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, there are also many other foods that can provide you with a lot more vitamins and minerals.
Carrot juice also contains antioxidants, substances that can help your body deal with oxidative stress. It’s not clear if and if they do, to what extent, these substances can help you lose weight.
Fiber in carrot juice for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
This example of carrot juice contains around 0.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s not a lot of fiber per 100 grams compared to many whole foods.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in carrot juice you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a small amount.
Will carrot juice help you lose weight?
Before knowing whether or not carrot juice deserves a spot in your weight loss diet you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in carrot juice.
This example of carrot juice contains 40 calories per 100 grams. 36.1 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (9.3 g per 100 grams of which 0.8 g fiber).
Carrot juice is not ideal for low carb diets like for example the keto diet. It is somewhat easy to go over your daily carbohydrate limit with this juice.
Besides that, this example of carrot juice is on the low side in calories per 100 grams. The problem is that carrot juice is a liquid.
Solid food will leave you feeling full a lot longer. Partly because liquid is easier to process, partly because solid whole foods often contain more fiber. Try eating 100 grams of potatoes vs drinking half a glass of carrot juice or any other liquid.
This makes carrot juice not very filling compared to the number of calories it contains. The extra micronutrients are nice but they are not enough to make drinking all those calories a good thing for your weight loss and health.
The particular example of carrot juice used may still be a decent weight loss option depending on what other foods you compare it with. Like with most foods, you can have some carrot juice and still lose weight.
Make sure to check the nutrition label of the particular carrot juice you have in mind before implementing a lot in your diet.
Drink these things instead
While it’s probably better to drink carrot juice compared to most soft drinks and fruit juices, you may want to stay away from it if you’re looking to lose some weight. It’s generally better to consume these calories in solid food that will satisfy your hunger for longer and provide you with more nutrients.
If you’re looking to drink something else than water with a little more taste you can try coffee, tea, or other healthy water drinks.
When should you drink carrot juice for weight loss?
If you do decide to drink carrot juice, the time you drink it may influence your weight loss.
The calories in carrot juice are mainly from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates raise insulin. Insulin in turn can mess with the production of sleep hormones. Sleep is important for your weight loss and health.
That’s why you preferably want to drink carrot juice earlier in the day or at least not right before bed.
Carrot juice won’t be that fattening at night that it means the end of your weight loss journey but you preferably want to stop drinking it a while before bedtime.
How much carrot juice should you drink?
Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.
Consuming enough vitamins and minerals is important for both your short and long-term health and weight loss. Carrot juice does provide you with a good amount of vitamins and minerals but you will need other nutritious foods as well.
If you are close to consuming enough vitamins and minerals you can see how much carrot juice still fits within your daily calories. The amount will be different from individual to individual from day to day, it can be 0 too.
Carrot juice vs whole carrots for weight loss
Juicing vegetables and fruits is often not as good for weight loss as just eating them whole but how big are the actual differences in nutrients?
When it comes to calories whole carrots contain about 41 calories per 100 grams (2). This is actually one calorie more per 100 grams than carrot juice.
However whole carrots also contain 2.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs carrot juice with about 0.8 grams. This may not sound like a big difference but fiber is very helpful for losing weight.
Lastly carrot juice does contain slightly higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than whole carrots.
All in all, carrot juice can be more useful if you want to increase your vitamin and mineral intake but whole carrots are generally a lot better when trying to lose weight.