I once read that Jerry Rubin (a famous 1960s activist) ate so many carrots that he turned orange. (This was in the East Bay Express, around twenty years ago.) I assumed it could be true, though he would have to eat hundreds or thousands of carrots; while a close family member thinks it's ridiculous. Is it medically/biologically plausible?

(I hope this question is appropriate to ask here--I'm new to this forum.)

  • $\begingroup$ @TanMath: As I said, this claim was from an article in the East Bay Express, around 20 years ago. The article was about history/politics/ "where are they now" about Jerry Rubin, or the Yippies (a hippie group that included Rubin and the more famous Abbie Hoffman). $\endgroup$
    – user24353
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 2:15

1 Answer 1


Beta-carotene, the pigment that gives carrots their orange colour, can accumulate in the skin if taken in excess amounts. This condition is called carotenosis. Since beta-carotene is a lipohilic (fat loving: dissolves in lipids), its absorption is facilitated by dietary fats [1].

There is one report that says that excessive consumption of beta-carotene containing fruits and vegetables can lead to carotenosis [2].

Also have a look at this Scientific American blog.

  1. Prince, Martin R., and Joan K. Frisoli. "Beta-carotene accumulation in serum and skin." The American journal of clinical nutrition 57.2 (1993): 175-181.

  2. Wageesha, Nekadage Don Amal, et al. "Studies on hypercarotenemia due to excessive ingestion of carrot, pumpkin and papaw." International journal of food sciences and nutrition 62.1 (2011): 20-25.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. But how many carrots would an adult need to eat? $\endgroup$
    – user24353
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ @user24353 That I am not sure of. It may vary between person to person and would also depend on the kind of diet one is having. $\endgroup$
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 5:18

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