Are carrots gluten-free?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Are carrots gluten-free?” and discuss what is gluten, why gluten is considered bad, what foods should you eat and avoid on a gluten-free diet, what are downsides of a gluten-free diet, can carrots give you allergies and what can you use instead of carrots.

Are carrots gluten-free?

Yes, carrots are absolutely gluten-free. Carrots are an amazing source of vitamins and minerals like biotin, potassium, Vitamin A, K1 and Vit B6.

Eating two small or medium sized carrots (100g) can give you:

  • Calories = 41
  • Water = 88%
  • Proteins = 0.9 grams
  • Carbs = 9.6 grams
  • Sugar = 4.7 grams
  • Fiber = 2.8 grams
  • Fats = 0.2 grams

What is gluten?

Well, gluten is basically a protein mostly present in grains such as barley, wheat, and rye etc. It is responsible for giving shape, texture, and strength to the grain-based products and elasticity to a dough.

Why is gluten considered bad?

Gluten is bad for people with celiac diseases and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) because it can trigger intestinal problems in them. For instance, 

  • It can lead to intestinal damage accompanied with other symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea and gas
  • Long term effects include diminutive growth, anaemia and neurological effects

This gluten sensitivity causes people to remain on a gluten-free diet for, almost like, forever. But some normal healthy people choose this diet themselves because it helps to lose weight and improves health overall.

What foods should be incorporated in a gluten-free diet?

In a gluten-free food, make sure to add:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Lean proteins like beans, eggs, lentils, peas
  • Healthy fats
  • Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa 

You can also add applesauce, canned sardines, tuna and gluten-free baked things like bread, waffles, pancakes. And if you are a vegetarian, you can add chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and whole oats.

If you are on a low-carb diet and also avoiding gluten, you can add poultry (like turkey and chicken), spinach and olive oil to your menu.

What foods to eat and avoid on a gluten-free diet?

Eat:

  • Whole grains: quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, wild rice, tapioca, millet, sorghum, teff, amaranth, arrowroot and oats labelled as gluten- free
  • Fruits: bananas, berries, apples, peaches, citrus fruits (oranges and grapefruit) and pears
  • Veggies: carrots, mushrooms, onions, radishes, bell peppers, green beans, cruciferous veggies (broccoli and cauliflowers), starchy veggies (corn, potatoes, squash), and greens (spinach, swiss chard and kale)
  • Proteins: nuts, seeds, legumes (peas, lentils, beans, peanuts), poultry (chicken, turkey), red meat (fresh beef, lamb, pork, bison), seafoods (fresh fish, shellfish, scallop), and traditional soyfoods (edamame, tofu, tempeh etc)
  • Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cream, butter, ghee, cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream
  • Fats and oils: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, vegetable and seeds oil (canola, sunflower, sesame)
  • Beverages: hundred percent fruit juices, water, tea, coffee, lemonade, sports drinks (energy drinks, soda), and some alcoholic drinks (hard ciders, wine and beer made with gluten-free grains)
  • Sauces, spices and condiments: coconut aminos, tamari, apple cider vinegar, white and distilled vinegar

Avoid:

  • Grains: barley, rye, triticale and whole varieties of wheat
  • Canned, frozen, dried, and pre-chopped fruits and veggies
  • Proteins: processed and ground meats, any breaded poultry, meat or fish, seitan, proteins combined with wheat-based sauces and seasonings, and ready-to-eat proteins 
  • Dairy products: malted and flavoured milk drinks, yogurt, processed cheese products and ice-cream mixed with gluten additives
  • Fats & oils with added flavors or spices and cooking sprays
  • Beverages: non-distilled liquors, malted beverages and beverages made with gluten containing grains or added flavors, and pre-made smoothies
  • Sauces, spices and condiments: malt vinegar, wheat based sauces, mayonnaise, salsa, marinades, rice vinegar, ketchup & mustard, relish & pickles, stock & bouillon cubes and dry spices
  • Malt based ingredients
  • Gluten stabilizers and emulsifiers

You can also contact the manufacturer if you are unsure about a product whether it is gluten-free or not. 

Other FAQs about Carrots which you may be interested in.

How long do baby carrots last in the fridge?

What are downsides of being on a gluten-free diet?

Although gluten-free diets are beneficial in maintaining a healthier approach, all gluten-free foods are not equally healthy. According to Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal’s review:

  • Gluten-free foods lack essential nutrients as compared to their gluten containing equivalents 
  • People avoiding gluten mostly end up eating more salts, lipids, proteins and trans-fats
  • Everyone cannot easily afford gluten-free diets which tend to be more costly
  • They may be lower in fiber when packaged or canned which might trigger constipation in some individuals

Can carrots give you allergies?

Yes, carrots can trigger pollen-related allergic reactions in almost like 25% of food allergic individuals due to cross-reactivity of some proteins. For example, if you are allergic to birch or mugwort pollen, you might also be allergic to carrots.

Allergic symptoms may include itching and tingling while in some people throat swelling and anaphylaxis can also occur. 

Furthermore, eating carotene in abundance can cause a slight change in skin colour and make skin look slightly orange or yellow (a condition called carotenemia) but it is usually harmless.

What can you use instead of carrots?

If carrots are required for soups, stews and braises:

  • Parsnips can be used as a carrots substitute, which have a similar texture and are sweet
  • Daikon is also an amazing substitute but it has a mild peppery flavor and hold shape while simmering
  • Turnips can also serve an amazing purpose in the absence of carrots

Substitute for carrots while snacking:

  • Crunchy, mildly sweet and low in carb jicama
  • Drained and canned water-chestnuts are also crunchy and slightly flavored thus, serve as a reasonable substitute for carrots, especially in salads.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered, “Are carrots gluten-free?” and discussed what gluten is and why it is considered bad, what foods should you eat and avoid on a gluten-free diet, what are downsides of a gluten-free diet, can carrots give you allergies and what can you use instead of carrots.

References

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324494
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gluten-free-foods
  3. https://www.gourmetsleuth.com/ingredients/detail/carrots 

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.