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Why You Might Want to Reconsider Jumping on the "Carrot Tanning" Bandwagon

TikTokkers are sharing a seemingly innocent hack to get a tan – and it doesn't involve taking your chances with UV exposure from the hot sun. But is this simple trick really all it’s made out to be? Turns out there are a few complications that can come with excess carrot consumption – here’s what you should know before you try it.

One TikTok user, @Isabelle.Lux, shared a post around her tanning technique of eating 3 large carrots a day, amassing a whopping 3.2 million views – she reveals the before and after shots of her “carrot glow”. 

“I’ve been doing this for years. I don’t fake tan anymore, I don’t go out in the day during the sunlight.”

“It changes everything, trust me,” Isabelle says in another video. “You’re going glow from the inside out.”

But a few people in the comments revealed some less-than-appealing results from eating multiple carrots a day.

“I took my baby to the paediatrician because I thought she had jaundice but her skin changed from eating carrots,” one comment read.

So, who’s right? And what really happens when you eat multiple large carrots a day? That’s what we’re here to get to the bottom of.

Eating multiple large carrots a day can have both benefits and potential downsides. Let’s start with the good:

Carrots are packed with beta-carotene, a type of carotenoid and a precursor to vitamin A. Beta-carotene is essential for good vision, immune function, and skin health.

It also acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from oxidative stress. There’s a reason carrots are famously associated with promoting eye health – it’s that beta-carotene that makes carrots – and potentially your skin – orange. It’s also down to the vitamin A that is derived from beta-carotene, and it’s crucial for maintaining healthy vision, particularly in low-light conditions. This all sounds great right? Well, turns out there's a reason they say "everything in moderation". 

Now for the not-so-good truth about overdoing it on the carrots. Beta-carotene gives carrots their vibrant orange colour, and while some Tik Tokkers believe that consuming large amounts of this stuff can contribute to a healthy skin glow, excessive consumption may not necessarily lead to a "natural tan", but rather an uneven orange spread. Let’s take a look at some of the problems that may arise on your journey to getting that glow:

  • Carotenemia: Excessive consumption of beta-carotene-rich foods can lead to a condition called carotenemia, where the skin takes on a yellow or orange tint. This is harmless and usually reversible once beta-carotene intake is reduced. The orange hue can particularly be evident on the hands and feet – it skews more Donald Trump than the sun-kissed glow you might have been going for.
  • Imbalanced Diet: While carrots are nutritious, a balanced diet should include a variety of foods to ensure you're getting a broad spectrum of nutrients. Relying heavily on one food could lead to deficiencies in other nutrients – it might be more healthful to enjoy just one carrot as a snack and add a bit of cheese or hummus with it. Bugs Bunny might be cute, but his carrot addiction isn’t something to aspire to!

  • Digestive Health: Eating a significant amount of carrots can increase fibre intake, which is generally a positive thing for digestion, but very large amounts might lead to digestive discomfort or gas in some individuals.

Safe Consumption Tips

  • As with any food, moderation is key. Eating a carrot every day as part of a balanced diet is unlikely to cause any negative effects.
  • Include a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables in your diet to ensure you're getting a wide range of nutrients.
  • If you have specific health concerns or are considering making significant dietary changes, it's a good idea to consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian.

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