Carrots perfectly illustrate the difference between the glycemic index (GI) and the glycemic load (GL). When the GI first made waves among health enthusiasts, carrots got a bad rap for raising blood sugar. That’s because the type of sugar they contain is transformed into blood sugar very rapidly — almost as fast as table sugar. But since the amount of sugar is low, carrots are still on the menu.

Thank goodness they are, because they’re one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, which is linked to a lower risk of diabetes. One study found that people with the highest blood levels of beta-carotene had 32 percent lower insulin levels (suggesting better blood sugar control) than those with the lowest beta-carotene levels. Like most vegetables, carrots are also a good source of beneficial fiber.

Health Bonus
Carrots won’t help you throw away your reading glasses, but they will help protect against two sight-robbing conditions, macular degeneration and cataracts. They’re also rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. One study found that volunteers who ate about a cup of carrots a day had an average 11 percent reduction in their cholesterol after three weeks.

Glycemic Load: Very Low

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