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What's your take on beets?

by (658) Updated February 19, 2014 at 8:08 AM Created August 04, 2011 at 12:34 AM

I have a ton of beautiful beets in my garden right now that are ripe for the pickin'. Are beets a healthy paleo option, or is the sugar/carb content too high? I am trying to slim down a bit (probably another 10 lbs), so take this into account in your answer. How do you feel about beets? Do you eat them?

Also, I heard from a holistic healer that root vegetables are particularly good for promoting insulin sensitivity and healing metabolism. Anyone else heard anything about this?

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789 · August 20, 2011 at 7:18 AM

I like beets, enough that I've eaten them every day for the last week.

But I have to stop the the beet love in here. You said you're trying to slim down, beets are not going to help you do that.

You also indicated you were under the impression that root vegetables are good for promoting insulin sensitivity and healing metabolism. I don't generally agree. I guess it's an "in comparison to what" situation though. If you were switching someone from eating nothing but pasta to say carrots, that might well be very true. But high carb foods generally aren't going to help you lose weight or "heal" your metabolism… that unless you're under weight and need to pack on some fat and slow it down.

Beets are high in sugar.

Yes the total carbohydrate in Beets is about 50% that of regular potatoes or sweet potatoes, but beets' carbs are 80% sugar, where as regular white potato's carbs are only 8% sugar.

So although the carbohydrate load in a white potato† is twice as high, the beet's sugar content is 10x higher. Sugar is going to have more of an effect than starch on your insulin, and not a good effect.

As an over simplified axiom, when it comes to carbs I'll take fiber over starch and starch over sugar.

If you're trying to lose those last 10lbs or improve insulin sensitivity as you indicated, it would behoove you to limit your beet consumption.


White potatoes are not "Paleo" according to most people. They are a "new world," food and they are also nightshades. Potatoes contain the toxic glycoalkaloid Solanine.

I think the hazard of Solanine may be under stated, and I don't eat potatoes because of it. I was only using them as an example of a basic starch food.

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90 · August 04, 2011 at 12:39 AM

The red and yellow betalain pigments found in this food family, their unique epoxyxanthophyll carotenoids, and the special connection between their overall phytonutrients and our nervous system health (including our specialized nervous system organs like the eye) point to the chenopod family of foods as unique in their health value. While we have yet to see large-scale human studies that point to a recommended minimum intake level for foods from this botanical family, we have seen data on chenopod phytonutrients, and based on this data, we recommend that you include foods from the chenopod family in your diet 1-2 times per week. In the case of a root food like beetroot, we recommend a serving size of at least one-half whole medium beet, and even more beneficial, at least 1 whole medium beet so that you can also benefit from their nutrient-rich greens.

Beets (notably beet greens) are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating beet greens. Laboratory studies have shown that oxalates may also interfere with absorption of calcium from the body.

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5477 · August 04, 2011 at 12:53 AM

I looooooooooooove raw, fresh beets, so I am very envious of your treasure trove. They are a great root veggie and I eat them in salads when available. If you eat a PILE of them, they can pile some carbs up faster than other very, very, very low carb veggies, but, they are really low in a typical portion. I shred or grate them in salads alot.

My advice is enjoy your beets! They are both yummy and nutritious.

And check out the nutritional/carb info for youself here. You can also check gly index, which is very low...so, enjoy!

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/carbcounts/a/carbs-in-beets.htm

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3978 · August 04, 2011 at 2:28 AM

I grew up on beets in a household of Lithuanian descent. A hot beet soup, made from grated beets, onions, a wee bit of carrot, whatever else was handy, lemon juice and/or vinegar, salt, garlic, bay leaf, and probably a little of whatever else is handy, all simmered into a bot with beef bones and stew cuts, was a regular thing. As an adult, I started making it every now and then and notice a real "high" from it, similar to what I get from eating Indian food which has a symphony of beneficial spices. I get a strong feeling of well-being, along with a great combination of being relaxed and energetic at the same time, and very clear headed. That's all I need for a food to prove to me that it's beneficial, and not many foods do so much so quickly for me.

I'm convinced beets are a superfood! While the carbs might be high if eaten alone, the ratio can be cut with the way it's prepared.

People here have different takes on vinegar/pickles, but I am also a big fan of pickled beets, especially added to salads. I should have a decent harvest of them here soon as well! Can't wait!

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1927 · August 04, 2011 at 4:15 AM

Love 'em. Eat 'em! They're pretty and they taste good!

[See also: Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins (1984), a fabulous romp of a novel, with the mangelwurzel as leitmotif.]

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1927 · August 04, 2011 at 1:26 AM

Love 'em. Eat 'em.

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0 · February 19, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Just a little add. To the explanation about solanine. I live the paleo "plus" way, so i endorce myself in an occasional potato (three times a week). Solanine is indeed a toxine, found in potatoes. However, 80% of the solanine is found in the peel of the potato. Also a part of the solanine is leaking away in the water you cook the potatoes in. Adding to that, consumer potatoes have small amounts of solanine in comparison to potatoes used for production of potato starch. Just to add some nuance. Greetings from holland....

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124 · August 04, 2011 at 6:15 PM

I love beets, but every time I eat them now I think of the main character in the comic book CHEW :-)

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961 · August 04, 2011 at 1:21 AM

I grate fresh raw organic beets and mix in organic flax oil and the juice of one lemon. Then I keep it in the fridge and eat and chew slowly a tablespoon ever half an hour when ever I have gall bladder problems. I had to stop dairy.

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