Eating carrots is said to improve your eyesight, but no one ever told us about this side effect.
The rumored phenomenon of your skin turning yellow-orange after eating too many orange-tinted foods, like carrots, turns out to be true.
The condition even has a name – carotenemia – but when it’s skin-exclusive, it’s known as carotenoderma.
“It’s caused by eating foods rich in beta carotene such as carrots or sweet potatoes and squash, though even foods that don’t look orange such as spinach or kale, all of which are popular in baby foods today,” explains Dr. Albert Yan, a pediatric dermatologist and section chief of dermatology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“It’s aggravated by pureeing the foods which increases absorption of the nutrients, so it’s a common but benign occurrence in babies who eat pureed foods.”
The condition usually affects infants when they start eating solid foods with beta carotene, adds Deborah Krivitsky, the director of nutrition at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center, as well as adults who eat too much of these high beta carotene foods.
“Your skin actually turns yellow due to large amounts of vitamin A,” she says. “There are many steps in the breakdown of carotenoids to vitamin A to further breakdown and excretion. Each step in the pathway is tightly regulated. Any misstep in the process can result in the buildup of carotenoids, and yellow skin.”
If you eat too much, the pigments aren’t all processed properly, leading to that change in skin tone.
“The most common sites are the palms of your hands, the soles of feet and the nose.
“Luckily, within a few weeks of removing the offending foods, the condition is harmless and clears up,” she says. “The condition is harmless.”
So to keep your skin from turning a Trump-ish orange hue, be sure to vary the colors of the vegetables you’re consuming in order to maximize health benefits and minimize skin variations.
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