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Golden Beets, White Beets, and Red Beets

Which One is Best?

Written by Barbara Depta and registered dietitian, Detrick Snyder, MPH, RDN. Updated on 2023-07-21.

Golden Beets, White Beets, And Red Beets

With its nitric oxide-boosting nitrates and other antioxidant nutrients, red beetroot has earned its place in the nutraceutical market. Do golden beets and white beets provide the same benefits that red beets do?  What is the difference between gold ,red and white beets. What is the best beet to eat? We’ll explore the pros and cons of each beet variety for overall health, performance and recovery, so you know when to use beets, and when you might need to reach for something more potent.

In This Article :

  • The Difference Between Gold Beets, Red Beets, And White Beets
  • Golden vs. Red Beet Antioxidants
  • White Sugar Beet Nutrition
  • Relevance of Anti-nutrient Oxalates
  • Health Benefits Of Golden Beets
  • Side Effects and Downsides Of Golden Beets
  • Health Benefits Of White Beets
  • Side Effects and Downsides Of White Beets
  • What To Look Out For When Buying Golden Beet Products
  • What is the Best Golden Beet Supplement?
  • What’s Better Than Beets?

Benefits of Beets

The health benefits of beets are well established by research, and new uses for the superfood are being explored all the time. Here are just some of the evidence-based benefits of beets:

-  Improves heart health thanks to the presence of nitrates and antioxidants that help regulate blood-flow
-  Fosters gut health with added fiber which nourishes healthy gut microbiota
-  May sharpen cognitive function due to better brain oxygenation
-Improves immune function as evidenced by shorter colds and fewer symptoms

Beets may be popular now as a health food, but they may have first gained their reputation as a nitric oxide supplement when the juice from the root was first used in endurance sports.

Now we know there are better options that pack in the beneficial bioactives (there’s a reason one of our sayings is “better than beets”). As nitric oxide boosters, red and gold beets hardly compare to some other red vegetables on the market. But beets still have a long list of accepted uses in sports and performance, including:

-  Increases ventilatory threshold, which means you can do more work with less oxygen
-  Beets may improve endurance by affecting your VO2 max - a measure of maximal cardio output
-  The nitrates in beets may boost energy and metabolism by increasing your mitochondrial efficiency
-  May enhance performance and recovery by allowing better waste removal and nutrient delivery to the musculoskeletal system.
-  The polyphenol antioxidants may play a role in preventing exercise-induced inflammation, whereas the nitrates may support a healthy inflammatory response to exercise - a winning combination for optimizing recovery

For a more comprehensive look at the pros and cons of beets, how to use them, and what to look for in a beetroot supplement that works, take a look at The Good & The Not-So-Good Truth About Beets.

Not all beet supplements are created equal, so if you want the benefits of beetroot, you have to know what to look for!

What's The Difference Between Gold Beets, Red Beets, And White Beets?

Red Beets are the classic beet variety. Their earthy flavor and strong musky smell of red beetroot can be an acquired taste for many. Beetroot color is imparted by a class of antioxidants called betalains, which are partially responsible for the health effects of beets.

Golden beets (AKA yellow beets) tend to have a milder taste and texture compared to their red counterparts.  

White beets (known as “sugar beets”) are used primarily to make beet sugar, but you can also find them cultivated locally for specialty cooking applications. They are sweeter-tasting with less of the earthy tones that beets are known for, but what they gain in flavor they lose in nutrition.

Golden Beets vs. Red Beets: What’s the difference?

Let’s detail the nutritional differences between the different beetroot colors. Beets are a top health food thanks to more than just their high vitamin and mineral content — they contain nitrates and unique polyphenol antioxidants that are hard to find elsewhere.

 All beets are a source of vitamins and minerals, notably vitamins C and B6, as well as manganese, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Beets are particularly high in folate - 1 cup cooked beets provides more than a third of your recommended daily intake.

Golden vs. Red Beet Antioxidants

Golden beets and red beets both get their color from a class of antioxidants called “betalains”. Different betalains create different colors, but all of them provide the positive antioxidant effects we know beets for. Golden beets are higher in “betacyanins”, whereas red beets are higher in “betaxanthins”.

Another similar bioactive that contributes some of the health effects of beets is the antioxidant “betaine”. Betaine levels in yellow, red, and white beets are comparable, but vary significantly among different sub-varieties and growing conditions.

White Sugar Beet Nutrition

White beets have only a fraction of the level of betalains compared to their colorful counterparts, which makes sense given their lack of vibrant hue.

White sugar beets are grown with as little nitrate fertilizer as possible, because nitrate fertilizer lowers the sugar-content that they are often grown for. This poses a special problem for nutrients in white beets: it’s the nitrates in red and golden beets that are responsible for many of the health and performance benefits. The nitrate content of white beets pales in comparison to the dose delivered in the more common varieties.

So, which beets are used for nitric oxide boosters? Gold and red beets, not white ones! But if you’re using beets for nitric oxide, I have to tell you that there is a better option available (skip to the end if you want to know now)!

Anti-nutrient Oxalates in Beets

Oxalate is an antinutrient that is relatively high in all varieties of beets, but highest in sugar beets — one of many reasons to be careful with how many you eat.

Oxalates prevent your body from absorbing minerals like calcium and could contribute to kidney stones, so you can help prevent deficiency by not eating oxalate sources too frequently.

To have the benefits of beets and skip the oxalates, or consume less of them, consider either a beet extract with no oxalates (not easy to find) or another source of the antioxidants and nitrates. Red spinach extract, for example, is far more concentrated in nitrates than beet, beet powder or beet extract, and does not carry any of the risks of oxalates.

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Health Benefits Of Golden Beets

Golden beets are good for delivering the same dose of nitrates and betalains that red beets do. Because of this, one would expect to get similar benefits from yellow beets.

However, no research to date exists to conclusively show whether this is true or not. Because the different betalain antioxidants likely have similar antioxidant properties in cell studies, and because both contain similar amounts of nitrates and other nutrients, we can assume that golden beets are likely as good as red beets for oxygenation, blood flow, performance and recovery, and other researched applications.

Side Effects and Downsides Of Golden Beets

The high oxalate content of golden beets poses a twofold problem. As mentioned, oxalates bind to minerals and diminish your absorption of them. Then, if your body doesn’t detoxify those oxalates, they can build up and contribute to painful kidney stones.

The high fiber content of beets is great for gut bacteria, but can cause bloating and gas if you eat too much. This is especially true for people with an intolerance to other leafy greens.

Beets have a mid-level glycemic index, which means they aren’t bad for your metabolism, but they can raise blood sugar. Beetroot juice, on the other hand, lacks the beneficial fiber while packing in all the sugar.

Lastly, If you have a heart condition, talk with your doctor before making any changes to your beetroot supplement routine.

Health Benefits Of White Beets

White beets are inferior nutritionally speaking, but with their creamier texture, milder flavor, and sweeter taste, they might be helpful in introducing someone to the world of beets.

That said, if someone doesn't care for beets, choosing white beets for their flavor sacrifices most of the benefits you might get from beets in the first place. Probably better to hold your nose, or better yet: try a standardized supplement instead!

One interesting effect of white beets is that they won’t discolor your stool in the same way the colorful beet varieties do. But again, you’d be sacrificing the nutrition for nothing but a cosmetic change.

Side Effects and Downsides Of White Beets

You won’t get the conventional benefits of beets with the white version, so disappointment may be the biggest side effect of opting for sugar beets! Other issues to look out for if you eat too many sugar beets:

  • Less of the nutrients people eat beets for, like antioxidants and nitrates. 
  • Very high oxalate content that can sap your minerals and increase risk for kidney stones.
  • Higher sugar content means a more negative effect on blood sugar control, which can lead to a cascade of negative effects.
  • What To Look Out For When Buying Golden Beet Products

    The field of golden beet supplements is brand new — there are almost no supplements on the market. Yellow beet juice and golden beet powder can be purchased form specialty retailers, but before you get ahead of the curve to trial out a new supplement, make sure you will actually get the benefits you’re looking for. (White beet supplements don’t exist, presumably because of their lower bioactive value.)

    Dose standardization is critically important due to the variable amount of nutrients in each plant and between growing conditions. If your beet juice or beet powder doesn’t specify the amount of nitrates or polyphenols it contains, then you have no idea whether you’re just making pretty golden smoothies, or actually getting the powerful recovery-enhancing benefits of those bioactives.

    Third party certification is critical if you want to rest assured that what’s in the bottle matches what’s on the label, and that there’s nothing sneaky added either! If you haven’t noticed: the supplement industry can seem like the wild west sometimes. Don’t get swindled by snake oil: look for NSF sport or BSCG — the highest quality certifications in the supplement industry. 

    Clinical studies that support the product are instrumental in separating the run-of-the mill products from those that cater to the elite. If you want to be the best at what you do, settle for nothing less in your foods.

    The presence of synergistic ingredients is a plus. For example, taking complementary polyphenols can help cover your anti-inflammatory bases by providing a broader spectrum of protection.

    We dive into the details in our complete guide to buying collagen supplements - follow these guidelines and have confidence in your supplements!

What is the Best Golden Beet Supplement?

There are no supplements on the market that satisfy our basic criteria. You can simply drink golden beet juice and see if it works for you. Or, you can opt for a related supplement that ensures the results given by the products used in research.

Resync Recovery freeshipping - Resync
Resync Recovery freeshipping - Resync
Resync Recovery freeshipping - Resync
Resync Recovery freeshipping - Resync

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What’s Better Than Beets?

Are beets alone good enough? Even with all the beneficial properties of beets, there are even better options out there with no sugar and oxalates.

First, to avoid the oxalate content and to get around the highly variable nitrate quantity of cultivated beets, you would need a standardized supplement extract.

But, to really take the benefits of beets to the next level, you need a supplement in an entirely different class. Something that delivers the main bioactive in beets at a highly concentrated dose. What vegetable and reds are better than any beets? Red spinach extract is one excellent example, aronia berry is another clear winner.

Red spinach extract is the most concentrated source of nitrate known, and it’s making waves in sports science. Aronia berry is one of the richest sources of polyphenol antioxidants available, which hints at it’s value in addressing inflammatory markets, and aids recovery.

We don’t think you can reduce the benefits of beets to just their nitrates and antioxidants though — you need a complementary approach. So, what do you get when you combine the best nitric oxide boosters and antioxidants into one formula? Resync Recovery Reds.

Resync products contain a synergistic blend of nitric oxide reds that give you the best of both worlds. Resync’s red blend contains the betalains and betains in standardized beet root powder, and then takes the nitrate and antioxidant power to the next level with the addition of nitrate-dense red spinach extract and polyphenol-rich aronia berry extract.

These three ingredients are highest in key nutrients that have been backed by research to enhance your recovery. The bioactives in these three ingredients are more concentrated than in any other natural source; and each ingredient provides a range of additional benefits.

These three are simply the best in their own categories, so when you combine the advantages of recovery aids that work in different ways, you get a combination that can’t fail.

The result here is greater than the sum of its parts; so whether it’s a supplement for fascia or connective tissue repair or a recovery aid with nitric oxide and antioxidants, see for yourself the effects of this synergistic blend!

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Resync is backed by research. That’s why we break down complex science into practical takeaways you can use today. When you have the right information, you are empowered to make the right decision for you. 

If there’s something you want to know more about, let us know by leaving a comment, contacting us or getting in touch on social media!

Helping you lead a healthier life,

The Resync Team

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This content is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute the practice of any professional healthcare service, INCLUDING the giving of medical advice. No provider-patient relationship is formed. The use of this information, and the materials linked to this content is at the user's own risk. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should abide by the advice of their healthcare provider, and should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have.

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