Is it true that by eating almost nothing but carrots and drinking carrot juice you can turn orangish in color? Is there a medical name for this?
Illustration by Slug Signorino
Yup. “Carotene” is the red or yellow hydrocarbon pigment that gives carrots their characteristic cheery color, and also helps to brighten up egg yolks, sweet potatoes, and a variety of leafy vegetables. Intemperate carrot consumption will make the carotene build up in your bloodstream. Before you know it, your skin will take on a sickly yellow pallor, a grisly condition that superficially resembles jaundice. You’ve got carotenosis, you poor sap, and good luck to you. Fatal cases are rare, if that’s any comfort: a London woman died from the disease in 1972, but she had to work at it.
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