Advice for Dancers

Can Eating Too Healthy Backfire?

Too much betacarotene can lead to a yellow-orange pigmentation on your skin. Photo by Stock Snap

My doctor sent me to a hormone specialist to be checked out for a possible metabolic disorder after a series of unexplained fractures. When my blood tests came back, I wasn't prepared to hear that the problem was due to my super-healthy diet (I eat a lot of raw carrots). Once she saw that the bottoms of my feet are orange-colored, she said, "That's the problem!" How can that be?

—Carrot Withdrawal, San Diego, CA


We all know that veggies have many benefits. Carrots, for example, promote good vision and provide fiber. However, when you ingest too much betacarotene from raw carrots or carrot juice, your body will store excess amounts in the fat under your skin. If you've gone overboard, you may develop a yellow-orange pigmentation on your nose, palms or the soles of your feet, and it can spread to other parts of the skin. Too much betacarotene may interfere with hormonal functioning that affects bone strength. Your stress fractures may have been due to an associated decrease in metabolic functioning which is connected to bone mineral density.

"Nutrition can play a key role in stress fractures," says Dr. Dorothy A. Fink, a New York City–based endocrinologist who helps dancers with hormonal and metabolic issues. When it comes to carrots, moderation is key. A balanced diet of protein, carbs and good fats (like olive oil and avocado) is integral to your health and will give your body the variety of minerals and vitamins it needs.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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