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Diet and Nutrition

Betacarotene Content of Cooked vs. Raw Carrots

01/24/1999

Question:

I have heard that cooked carrots have more betacarotene than raw. Can you confirm this and give me the amounts per serving size? Thanks, references would be helpful!

Answer:

According to the USDA-NCC Carotenoid Database (see website referenced below)" A-plus, cultivar, cooked carrots" have 25,650 ug of beta-carotene per 100g edible portion and "A-plus, cultivar, raw carrots" have 18,250 ug of beta-carotene per 100g edible portion. Therefore, the amount of beta-carotene in cooked carrots is higher than in raw. However, the database uses 100g edible portion and it is difficult for most consumers to determine 100g as opposed to standard measures (such as "1 medium carrot" or "* Cup"). In addition, because the carrots may shrink during the cooking process, the amount of beta-carotene available in the edible portion may appear to be more, because the amount of carrot will be more condensed. Another reference outlined a study that stated "boiling for 30 minutes resulted in a 40% loss of beta-carotene from carrots. Steaming resulted in very good retention of alpha- and beta-carotene in all vegetables studied (83-139% retention)." The authors concluded, "although cooking procedures (especially boiling) may result in oxidative loss of carotenoids in some vegetables, heat treatment increases the chemical extractability of alpha- and beta-carotene in others." This reference and others are listed below. I hope this is helpful to you. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 1988;38(4):333-41 Reversed phase HPLC analysis of alpha- and beta-carotene from selected raw and cooked vegetables. Dietz JM, Sri Kantha S, Erdman JW Jr Department of Food Science, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801. J Am Diet Assoc 1993 Mar;93(3):318-23 The development and application of a carotenoid database for fruits, vegetables, and selected multicomponent foods. Chug-Ahuja JK, Holden JM, Forman MR, Mangels AR, Beecher GR, Lanza E Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, US Department of Agriculture, MD 20705. J Am Diet Assoc 1993 Mar;93(3):284-96 Published erratum appears in J Am Diet Assoc 1993 May;93(5):527 Carotenoid content of fruits and vegetables: an evaluation of analytic data. Mangels AR, Holden JM, Beecher GR, Forman MR, Lanza E Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, US Department of Agriculture, MD 20705. J Natl Cancer Inst 1990 Feb 21;82(4):282-5 Published erratum appears in J Natl Cancer Inst 1990 Apr 18;82(8):715 Carotenoid analyses of selected raw and cooked foods associated with a lower risk for cancer. Micozzi MS, Beecher GR, Taylor PR, Khachik F Appreciation to Kelly Balis, CWRU, Master's in Public Health Nutrition degree candidate for her assistance in researching this question.

Related Resources:

Food and Nutrition Information Center, National Agricultural Library

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Response by:

Jane   Korsberg, MS, RD, LD Jane Korsberg, MS, RD, LD
Senior Instructor of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University