According to Time, carrots have different benefits depending on their external colors,

The nutrients: Carrots are jammed with a wealth of nutrients, and medium-sized sticks are only 25 calories. Standard orange carrots contain vitamin A, and the other hued carrots are equally healthy. Here’s a brief break-down:

  • Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment. This promotes vitamin A production by the body, which is essential for healthy eyes.
  • Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Purple carrots typically have an orange core, and their pigment-related nutrients may provide additional vitamin A and prevent heart disease.
  • Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is the same red pigment that gives tomatoes their deep color and is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
  • Yellow: Xanthophykks and lutein. Both are linked to cancer prevention and better eye health.
  • White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.

You can see similar claims on the Carrot Museum, they take it a step further and make claims about internal colors too.

Each pigment has been carefully developed to obtain more attractive vegetables. At the same time, it resulted in an increased nutritional value. More exactly, while the vitamins and minerals content (with the exception of vitamin A), dietary fibre, carbohydrate, protein, fats, sugars profile and energetic value are more or less the same in all varieties, antioxidant profiles differ. Different varieties of carrots are a great source of the following antioxidants:

  • Orange carrots: highest in beta-carotene, contain smaller amounts of alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin.
  • Purple carrots: highest in anthocyanins, also contain beta-carotene and alpha-carotene and small amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Purple carrots that are orange inside: high in anthocyanins, beta and alpha-carotene.
  • Purple carrots that are red inside: richest in anthocyanins and lycopene.
  • Purple carrots that are white inside: anthocyanins, little beta-carotene.
  • Red carrots: highest in lycopene, also contain smaller amounts of lutein, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene.
  • Yellow carrots: highest in lutein, may also contain zeaxanthin.
  • White carrots: no pigment-giving antioxidants.

Are any of these or similar claims true, do carrots of different colors have substantially different nutritional value providing different health benefits?

  • 1
    @lang I think that's a very simplistic view that one may take away from that article, but I don't see the article saying it. It says "Each pigment has been carefully developed to obtain more attractive vegetables. At the same time, it resulted in an increased nutritional value." It's plain to me that it's saying these colors were intentionally bred, but the breeding unintentionally changed the nutrients. That's not even contentious. It's common knowledge to nutritionists. So let's test claims that are real and actually applicable to life.
    – user11643
    Nov 4, 2018 at 0:28
  • 1
    @fredsbend Not sure I understand the "common knowledge" bit correctly. –– The time article is of very low quality. Try searching for "xanthophykks" eg. No one cares to correct that since 2013? –– This is really quite a broad Q, carrots, pigments, whole range of em, then antioxidants, benefits. I am not against this Q's direction, but focus might be needed? Nov 4, 2018 at 0:37
  • 3
    Broadness is my main concern. (1) Orange carrots are high in alpha and beta-carotene. (2) This promotes Vitamin A production. (3) Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes. That's three separate claims that will take a few hundred words each to confirm, and that's just one carrot colour from one source.
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 4, 2018 at 1:04
  • 2
    @odd I'm OK with it, but is the OP?
    – user11643
    Nov 4, 2018 at 1:20
  • 2
    Oh, and don't forget the widest held theory about the health benefits of carrots to eyesight has been debunked. See the question: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2746/…
    – matt_black
    Nov 4, 2018 at 23:10


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