Beet Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  9 min read
beet benefits and side effects

Health

Beet health benefits may include:

Beets are…

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Environment

Water footprint: low, it takes 132 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of sugar beets / 16 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of sugar beets

Carbon footprint: low, 0.05 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of beets, a car driving equivalent of 0.25 miles or 0.5 kilometers

Destruction: low, beet production is relatively sustainable, no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Beets are…

Animals

Kills: none, beet production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, beet production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from beet production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Beets are…

Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Beets are…

Where do most beets come from?

Russia is the worlds leading producer of sugar beets, followed by France, United States, Germany, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, Egypt, China, UK. The world’s top beet exporting country is Italy, followed by Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, China, USA, Israel, Germany, Canada and UK.

Are beets nutritious?

Yes! Beets are low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate and vitamin C.
Other names for beets are beetroot.

acidic foods and alkaline diet to improve ph levels

beets are alkaline.

Are beets alkaline or acidic?

Beets are alkaline.

What is the pH level of beets?

Beets have a 9.0 pH level with greens, once digested and a 7.5 pH level without greens, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

beets are gluten free.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

Are beets gluten free?

Yes, beets are gluten free. Beets do not contain gluten. Beets are a type of root vegetable, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

beets are not a common food allergen.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are beets a common food allergen? No, beets are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to beets but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

beets have a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Do beets have a high or low water footprint? Beets have a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of beets? It takes 132 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of sugar beets / 16 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of sugar beets.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

beets have a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do beets have a high or low carbon footprint?

Beets have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of beets?

It takes around 0.05 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh sugar beets, a car driving equivalent of 0.25 miles or 0.5 kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

beets are sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, are beets eco friendly? Are beets sustainable?

Beet production is relatively sustainable since there is no significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

beets are vegan.

vegan food to eat on a vegan diet

Are beets vegan?

Yes, beets are vegan. Beets are a root vegetable and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

beets may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Are beets a product with labor concerns? At this time there have been no major concerns with beet production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may be associated with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Sources:

Beets, raw – FoodData Central – USDA

Beets – SNAP-Ed Connection

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.