Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Eating Too Many Carrots?

One of my favorite snacks is raw carrots. I probably nibble on some five days a week. Recently, my palms and the soles of my feet turned yellow.  Could the carrots be responsible? If so, is this dangerous? Should I cut back on carrots? If not the carrots, what else could cause this pigment change?

Answer (Published 12/4/2008)

Without a doubt your habitual carrot consumption is the cause of your yellowing skin. The same fat-soluble pigments (carotenoids) that account for the deep orange color of carrots are responsible. In general, carotenoids are beneficial to health and can protect the skin from sun damage. For example, lycopene, a carotenoid which is responsible for the red color of tomatoes, and the green pigments in spinach, broccoli, and other green vegetables will all make your skin slightly less sensitive to the sun. (In April 2008, British researchers reported that consuming lycopene-rich tomato paste reduced sun damage by 33 percent).

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Whole Body - Foods, herbs and drugs can all interact, sometimes in unexpected ways. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes known interactions into account when developing nutritional supplement recommendations, to help safeguard against adverse effects. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor recommendation today.

The yellow or orange color you notice on your palms (called carotenemia) is often seen in infants when they start to eat solid foods and get too many that contain beta carotene - usually from carrots, pumpkin and other yellow and orange vegetables. The color change is harmless but has to be distinguished from jaundice, which also causes yellow or orange skin. Eating too much beta carotene doesn't cause the whites of the eyes to yellow, while jaundice does, but if skin color changes in an infant, it's best to see a pediatrician to make sure that the problem is just too many carrots or too much pumpkin.

Your color change is not at all dangerous and will fade quickly when you reduce your consumption of carrots. I suggest that you do just that - not because the carotene has turned your skin yellow, but because it's important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. The greater the variety of natural colors in your diet, the better off you'll be nutritionally. Carrots all the time sounds a bit monotonous, enjoy a rainbow of produce!

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here