Welcome to TikTok Debunked, a series where Yahoo Canada digs into the truth behind popular TikTok health, beauty and food trends.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.
We've all heard the adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." But have you heard that eating three carrots a day supposedly makes you naturally tanned?
This time around, we're diving into the idea that carrots might change your skin tone. But is this true? What does a dietitian have to say about it? Read on for everything you need to know.
The claim — and how it started
"Three large carrots a day and you can change your natural undertone," she said, alongside photos of her younger self with pale skin compared to her present-day tanned skin.
The video, which was posted in July, quickly received more than 2.2 million views and more than 144,000 likes.
Since then, the TikToker has posted a series of other clips saying the nutrients in carrots have the ability to change your skin tone, and to stop spending money on self tanner when carrots can do the same job.
For years, the nutrition and medical community has reported the phenomenon of people's skin changing colour after eating foods high in beta-carotene, like carrots and sweet potatoes.
The yellow/orange colouration of the skin that occurs after consuming large amounts of beta-carotene is called carotenemia.
What TikTok users are saying
On the app, many users shared their firsthand experiences with the trend.
"My son only ate carrots as a baby and his nose turned orange," wrote a TikToker.
"My dad used to drink carrot juice everyday and literally glowed orange," said another.
"My daughter loved sweet potatoes and she turned orange," penned someone else.
However, other TikTokers wondered if the trend was healthy or not.
"I have a feeling this can't be good for you? Seems like an overload," questioned a user.
"How do carrots impact the digestive system? What happens if I start to eat a lot of them on daily basis?" added another.
An expert weighs in
To get an expert's opinion on the trend, Yahoo Canada spoke to Alex Caspero (MA, RD), pediatric dietitian at Plant-Based Juniors.
From a health perspective, Caspero recommended consuming carrots "often" as they are "packed with health benefits."
"A single large carrot provides 100 per cent of the daily target for vitamin A, which may protect against cancer, age-related macular degeneration and normal vision," she explained.
The dietitian added that the soluble fibre in carrots has also been shown to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.
However, there can be too much of a good thing. Caspero said that over-consuming carrots "can lead to nutrient imbalance because you are crowding out other foods."
"Carotenemia is not toxic and does not cause other health problems; the solution is just to reduce intake of carotene-containing foods."Alex Caspero
Moreover, eating too many carrots (or other foods high in beta-carotene) can also lead to yellow/orange skin discolouration, or carotenemia.
"This is most often seen in infants who are fed high amounts of carotene-containing foods, like pureed carrots and sweet potatoes," she said.
"Carotenemia is not toxic and does not cause other health problems; the solution is just to reduce intake of carotene-containing foods."
While we know this phenomenon occurs with carrots and sweet potatoes, Caspero said over consuming other foods can yield similar results.
"Lycopenemia is caused by high intakes of lycopene-containing foods, like tomatoes," she said. "The advice is the same for this condition — simply reducing intake of these foods."
Is it debunked?
After studying the trend and listening to an expert, Yahoo Canada has confirmed this trend.
Eating too many carrots (or beta-carotene) can add a yellow/orange hue to your skin tone. And while this is safe and doesn't cause other health issues, it's important to be mindful of what you're putting in your body.
Additionally, despite this trend being true, Caspero warned not all health and nutrition advice you see online is factual or useful.
"The amount of misinformation and disinformation on social media is mind-boggling," she said. "I've been a dietitian in practice for the last 15 years and have seen real harm from people getting their information from social media."