Which Foods are High In Carbohydrates?

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Question: Which Foods are High In Carbohydrates?

Which food are the highest in carbohydrates? Which foods should I avoid on a low-carb diet?

Answer: Carbohydrates fall roughly into two categories: sugars and starches. Foods high in carbohydrate include the following foods

High-Sugar Foods

1) Sugary beverages, which includes everything from soft drinks to flavored coffee drinks to bottled iced tea.  Also, cocktails can have a LOT of sugar.


Why Drinking Sugar is a Bad Idea

What to Drink Instead

9 Beverages With More Sugar Than You Think

Carbs and Calories in Coffee Drinks

Sugar-Free Cocktails

2) Desserts, candy, and other sweet foods.  Resources:

Low-Carb Desserts

Sugar-Free Candy Recipes

3) Foods with added sugar, molasses, honey, and any of these ingredients, especially if near the top of the ingredients list on a food's nutrition label or if there is more than one in any one food. Sugars are added to many foods.  Resources:

How to Cut Down on Sugar

Condiments in the Low-Carb Pantry

4) Fruits that are naturally high in sugar, such as ripe bananas and figs, or dried fruit, which often has sugar added or is so concentrated that it contains a lot of sugar. Resource:

Low-Carb Fruit List, with fruits listed from low to high in sugar and links to more nutritional information

High-Starch Foods

Starches are basically long strands of glucose, so they all break down to sugars in the body.

High-starch foods include:

1) Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn are examples of high carb, starchy vegetables. Resource:

Low-Carb Vegetable List, with starchy vegetables listed at the bottom, with links to more nutritional information

2) Flour - Any food made with flour, including bread, crackers, donuts, cakes, cookies, pastries, etc.

  This is true of whole grain flours as well, but not true of flours made from nuts or seeds such as almond flour.

3) Whole Grains - Rice, barley, oats, quinoa, etc, are high in starch

4) Legumes (beans and peas) are high in starch, but it is more slowly-digested, especially if the beans aren't canned or pureed.


Starches: Rapidly-Digesting, Slowly-Digesting, and Resistant Starches

All About Resistant Starch

The Worst of the Worst

The worst high-carb foods you can eat are the ones that are highly processed.  This includes most breakfast cereals, which will shoot your blood sugar up faster than almost anything else.  Also, anything made with white flour, or other so-called refined carbohydrates.  It is far better to get your carbs from whole foods than from something manufactured, partly because processed foods aren't nearly as good for us, and partly because they have been manufactured to hook our taste buds and brains into wanting more.

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