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Carbs at a Glance
We've all heard the buzz about low carb diets lately, and everyone is now paying more attention to the carbohydrates they take in. Most of us, however, really don't know what carbohydrates are, and how they work in the body.
Carbohydrates work to increase our energy levels. Carbs come in the form of either sugars, starches, or fiber. Sugars are simple carbohydrates, while starches and fiber are complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbs are actually made from three or more sugars, and all carbohydrates except fiber are eventually broken down into sugars in the body, and burned for energy or stored as fat. Fiber is not broken down into sugar, but instead moves through the intestines without being fully digested. Fiber is beneficial since it binds to fats and helps remove them from the body before they are absorbed.
All carbohydrates are not created equal. Those carbs that cause a sharp spike in blood sugar are referred to as "bad" carbs, while those that don't are called "good" carbs. Good carbs are found in whole grains, like whole wheat, brown rice and flax. Beans are also in this group. Here is a high carbohydrate food list that not only will help you identify which foods are high carb, but which are high in bad, as well as good carbs.
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Foods High in "Bad" Carbohydrates
The following foods have the highest amounts of "bad" carbohydrates and should be eaten in moderation. These foods cause high spikes in blood sugar, making them high on the glycemic index.
These foods have more than 35 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
- cake with frosting
- muffins made from white flour
- white bagels
- white bread
- hamburger/hotdog buns
- pasta made from white flour
- white rice
- sweetened, low fiber cereals
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Somewhere in the Middle
These foods are somewhat high in carbohydrates. This group of foods will not cause blood sugar spikes as high as the "bad" carb group, but will cause an increase in blood sugar. These foods are somewhere in the middle of the glycemic index.
These foods have 20-40 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
- brown rice
- whole wheat pastas
- whole grain bread
- bran muffins
- whole grain bagels
- whole grain granola bars
- dried fruits
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This high carbohydrate food list contains foods that may be high carb, but these are known as "good" carbs. They are low on the glycemic index. Eating these foods provides the body with energy without causing sharp increases in blood sugar. These are the carbs you should pick most often. Eat from this list and you'll have all the energy you need, without the cravings and sugar lows that come from eating "bad" carbohydrates. These foods are recommended for people who are on a weight loss diet, as well as for diabetics.
These foods have 10-25 grams of carbohydrates per serving, and are low glycemic.
- most vegetables and fruits
- beans (red, black, kidney beans)
- hummus, garbanzo beans
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1. Mass. Institute of Technology: http://web.mit.edu/athletics/sportsmedicine/wcrhighcarbs.html
2. WH Foods: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=32