If you’re trying to lose weight and improve your health, it can be helpful to know which foods are high in carbs.
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients found in food, along with fat and protein. Carbs give you energy by providing some calories—4 calories per gram—and they also have other roles in the body. For example, they help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the release of glucose into the bloodstream after you eat a meal.
Carbohydrates are found in many different foods, but some types of carbs are better for your health than others. Here’s a list of foods that contain high amounts of carbohydrates:
Food With High Carbohydrates List
One of the three main sources of energy for the body are macronutrients like carbohydrates. The carbohydrates, sugars, and fibers in grains, vegetables, fruit, and dairy products are referred to as carbs. A balanced diet must include carbohydrates, but too many can be hazardous.
Carbohydrates give the body’s working muscles and central nervous system energy all day long. You should eat fiber-rich foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts that are high in carbs. Some dairy products can provide healthy, nutrient-rich carbohydrates. When ingesting carbohydrates, it is advised to limit your intake of added sugar to no more than 25%.
Reasons to Cut Back on Carbs
While inactive persons should limit their carbohydrate consumption to maintain a healthy weight, active people can benefit greatly from carbohydrates as a source of energy. The average adult should consume 130 grams of carbohydrates per day, or between 45% and 65% of their overall caloric intake.
Low levels of physical activity, obesity, and chronic disease have all been linked to high-carb diets. The quality of carbohydrates, as opposed to their quantity, has been found to be more important for health.
Consuming processed grains, potatoes, and added sugars can raise your chance of developing diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancer. However, it has been demonstrated that non-starchy veggies, entire fruits, legumes, and whole grains are healthy.
The risk of: may rise with carbohydrate intake from processed cereals, potatoes, and added sugars.
According to research, eating too many carbohydrates may make metabolic disease more common. A collection of risk factors known as metabolic disease or metabolic syndrome raises the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. High blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”), and belly fat are risk factors for metabolic syndrome.
According to research, a starchy, high-carb diet may result in less physical activity and, in turn, more weight gain. Overweight gain can result in obesity.
It has been demonstrated that high-carb diets derived from sweet and starchy foods cause more weight gain. Increased weight can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Chronic Heart Disease
High-carbohydrate diets, particularly those derived from meals with a lot of starch and sugar, may raise some people’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
The majority of modern diets, such as starchy foods and sugary beverages, are incredibly high in carbs. Some of the high-carbohydrate foods to stay away from include these eight items:
The soft pretzel is a low-nutrition source of carbohydrates despite being delectable. 80 grams of carbohydrates are included in one medium soft pretzel. 27% of the daily recommended allowance of carbs are contained in one dish. It is best to stay away from this stadium favorite, especially if you are on a low-carb diet.
The amount of carbohydrates in a bowl of sugary cereal is equivalent to that in a plate of french fries. A bowl of cereal in the morning is a sweet, unhealthy way to start the day, despite the fact that it may look innocent.
Fruit in Cans
9% of the recommended intake of carbs are contained in one serving of canned peaches in syrup. Fresh fruit is a healthier alternative to this sugary snack as a source of carbohydrates.
Although donuts are a common breakfast food, one chocolate frosted donut only has about 29 grams of carbohydrates. This indulgent delicacy lacks nutrients and is a terrible choice for breakfast.
The 26 grams of carbohydrates in one soda glass. That might not seem like much, but since soda is one of the most popular sources of empty calories, the amount of carbohydrates and sugars in a beverage can build up rapidly. According to studies, those who drink soda are less likely to eat nutritious foods like whole grains and other carbohydrates.
Corn or potato chips
Whether you choose corn or potato chips, it’s important to know that each have roughly 15 grams of carbs per serving. Chips are also heavy in salt and saturated fats.
Only 10 tiny gummy bears provide 22 grams of carbohydrates. When nibbling, sweets like gummy bears can add up quickly and have almost no nutritional benefit.
A prominent fast food chain’s medium-sized order of fries contains 47 grams of carbohydrates, or 16% of the daily allowance. When it comes to carbohydrates, French fries are a food that may quickly build up.
low carb diet
A low-carb diet limits carbs, like those in pasta, bread, sweet meals, and other grains. It contains a lot of healthful vegetables, fat, and protein.
Low-carb diets come in a wide variety, and studies have shown that they can help people lose weight and improve their health.
This is a thorough low-carb diet meal plan. It offers an example low-carb plan for a week and provides instructions on what to eat and avoid.
Low-Carb Eating — The Basics
Your food choices depend on a few things, including how healthy you are, how much you exercise and how much weight you have to lose.
Consider this meal plan as a general guideline, not something written in stone.
Eat: Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, high-fat dairy, fats, healthy oils and maybe even some tubers and non-gluten grains.
Don’t eat: Sugar, HFCS, wheat, seed oils, trans fats, “diet” and low-fat products and highly processed foods.
Foods to Avoid
You should avoid these six food groups and nutrients, in order of importance:
- Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, agave, candy, ice cream and many other products that contain added sugar.
- Refined grains: Wheat, rice, barley and rye, as well as bread, cereal and pasta.
- Trans fats: Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
- Diet and low-fat products: Many dairy products, cereals or crackers are fat-reduced, but contain added sugar.
- Highly processed foods: If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it.
- Starchy vegetables: It’s best to limit starchy vegetables in your diet if you’re following a very low-carb diet.
You must read ingredient lists even on foods labelled as health foods.
For more details, check out this article on 14 foods to avoid on a low-carb diet.
Low-Carb Food List — Foods to Eat
You should base your diet on these real, unprocessed, low-carb foods.
- Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, chicken and others; grass-fed is best.
- Fish: Salmon, trout, haddock and many others; wild-caught fish is best.
- Eggs: Omega-3-enriched or pastured eggs are best.
- Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and many others.
- Fruits: Apples, oranges, pears, blueberries, strawberries.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
- High-fat dairy: Cheese, butter, heavy cream, yogurt.
- Fats and oils: Coconut oil, butter, lard, olive oil and fish oil.
If you need to lose weight, be careful with cheese and nuts, as it’s easy to overeat on them. Don’t eat more than one piece of fruit per day.
Foods to Maybe Include
If you’re healthy, active and don’t need to lose weight, you can afford to eat a few more carbs.
- Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes and some others.
- Unrefined grains: Brown rice, oats, quinoa and many others.
- Legumes: Lentils, black beans, pinto beans, etc. (if you can tolerate them).
What’s more, you can have the following in moderation, if you want:
- Dark chocolate: Choose organic brands with at least 70% of cocoa.
- Wine: Choose dry wines with no added sugar or carbs.
Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and may provide health benefits if you eat it in moderation. However, be aware that both dark chocolate and alcohol will hinder your progress if you eat/drink too much.
- Sugar-free carbonated beverages, like sparkling water.
A Sample Low-Carb Menu for One Week
This is a sample menu for one week on a low-carb diet plan.
It provides less than 50 grams of total carbs per day. However, if you’re healthy and active you can eat slightly more carbs.
- Breakfast: Omelet with various vegetables, fried in butter or coconut oil.
- Lunch: Grass-fed yogurt with blueberries and a handful of almonds.
- Dinner: Bunless cheeseburger, served with vegetables and salsa sauce.
- Breakfast: Bacon and eggs.
- Lunch: Leftover burgers and veggies from the previous night.
- Dinner: Salmon with butter and vegetables.
- Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, fried in butter or coconut oil.
- Lunch: Shrimp salad with some olive oil.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken with vegetables.
- Breakfast: Omelet with various vegetables, fried in butter or coconut oil.
- Lunch: Smoothie with coconut milk, berries, almonds and protein powder.
- Dinner: Steak and veggies.
- Breakfast: Bacon and eggs.
- Lunch: Chicken salad with some olive oil.
- Dinner: Pork chops with vegetables.
- Breakfast: Omelet with various veggies.
- Lunch: Grass-fed yogurt with berries, coconut flakes and a handful of walnuts.
- Dinner: Meatballs with vegetables.
- Breakfast: Bacon and eggs.
- Lunch: Smoothie with coconut milk, a dash of heavy cream, chocolate-flavored protein powder and berries.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken wings with some raw spinach on the side.
Increase your intake of low-carb vegetables. There is room for a lot of vegetables and one fruit each day if your goal is to keep your daily carb intake under 50 grams.
Check read this article on 7 healthy low-carb dinners in under 10 minutes for more examples of go-to meals.
You can include some tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes as well as some wholesome grains like oats if you’re healthy, lean, and active.
Healthy, Low-Carb Snacks
There is no health reason to eat more than three meals per day, but if you get hungry between meals, here are some healthy, easy-to-prepare, low-carb snacks that can fill you up:
- A piece of fruit
- Full-fat yogurt
- One or two hard-boiled eggs
- Baby carrots
- Leftovers from the previous night
- A handful of nuts
- Some cheese and meat
Eating at Restaurants
At most restaurants, it’s fairly easy to make your meals low-carb friendly.
- Order a meat- or fish-based main dish.
- Drink plain water instead of sugary soda or fruit juice.
- Get extra vegetables instead of bread, potatoes or rice.
A Simple Low-Carb Shopping List
A decent rule of thumb is to shop along the store’s perimeter, where you’re more likely to find whole foods.
Your diet will be a thousand times better than the typical Western diet if you put a focus on whole foods.
Although they tend to be more expensive, organic and grass-fed foods are also common alternatives and frequently seen as healthier.
Try to select the least processed item that is still within your budget.
- Meat (beef, lamb, pork, chicken, bacon)
- Fish (fatty fish like salmon is best)
- Eggs (choose omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs if you can)
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Heavy cream
- Sour cream
- Yogurt (full-fat, unsweetened)
- Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- Fresh vegetables (greens, peppers, onions, etc.)
- Frozen vegetables (broccoli, carrots, various mixes)
- Condiments (sea salt, pepper, garlic, mustard, etc.)
Clear your pantry of all unhealthy temptations if you can, such as chips, candy, ice cream, sodas, juices, breads, cereals and baking ingredients like refined flour and sugar.
The Bottom Line
Low-carb diets limit carbohydrates, such as those in processed and sugary foods, pasta, and bread. They contain a lot of healthful vegetables, fat, and protein.
According to studies, they can lead to weight loss and enhance health.
You can learn the fundamentals of a low-carb, nutritious diet from the meal plan above.
Check read this article on 101 nutritious low-carb recipes that taste amazing if you need a thorough list of low-carb dishes that are straightforward and delectable.
Of course, you may look through more low-carb or paleo recipes online.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CARBOHYDRATES
Carbohydrates are a macronutrient that provides energy to the body and is an essential part of a healthy diet. They are found in various foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Here are some health benefits of carbohydrates:
- Energy source: Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body. They are broken down into glucose, which is used by cells to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the body’s main source of energy for metabolic processes, physical activities, and brain function.
- Brain function: Glucose derived from carbohydrates is the main source of energy for the brain. The brain requires a steady supply of glucose to function optimally, as it does not store glucose and relies on a constant supply from the bloodstream.
- Weight management: Carbohydrates can play a role in weight management. High-fiber complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can help with weight management as they are typically lower in calories, high in fiber, and provide a feeling of fullness, helping to control hunger and prevent overeating.
- Nutrient-rich: Many carbohydrate-rich foods are also rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. For example, whole grains are a good source of B vitamins and fiber, fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy products are a source of calcium and other nutrients.
- Muscle glycogen storage: Carbohydrates are stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen, which serves as an important source of energy during physical activities, including exercise. Adequate carbohydrate intake can help replenish glycogen stores and support muscle performance during physical activity.
- Gut health: Carbohydrates, particularly dietary fiber found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, can support gut health. Fiber promotes regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which can improve overall gut health and digestive function.
- Disease prevention: A diet rich in carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. The fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds found in carbohydrates may contribute to these protective effects.
It’s important to note that not all carbohydrates are created equal, and the quality and quantity of carbohydrates consumed can impact their health effects. Choosing complex carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes over simple carbohydrates from refined grains and added sugars is generally recommended for optimal health. It’s also important to consider individual dietary needs, preferences, and health goals when incorporating carbohydrates into a balanced diet. Consulting with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance on carbohydrate intake and overall dietary recommendations.