Carbohydrate Content in Vegetables

Carbs aren't always bad, you know! They have gotten a pretty bad rep in the last few years, thanks to the popularity of low-carb and gluten-free diets.

But do you know what carbs are supposed to do? They're basically calories that your body can burn easily, ensuring that you have energy right away. You need them not only for exercise, but also for overall health.

There are lots of BAD carbs, such as:

These carbs will offer almost nothing in the way of nutrients, but a whole lot of sugar.

Then there are fruits and veggies, the "superheroes" of the carbs kingdom. Fruits and veggies contain a whole lot of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that your body needs. Best of all, they contain fiber to help slow your body's absorption of said carbs.

Check out the carb content of your favorite fruits and veggies:

VegetableCarbohydrates in gramCalories
Asparagus2.118
Aubergine2.717
Beetroot5.931
Broccoli2.925
Brussel Sprouts3.431
Cabbage, average4.426
Carrot4.826
Cauliflower3.322
Celery215
Chicory2.216
Courgette2.220
Cucumber212
Fennel2.925
Gherkins2.815
Gourd2.213
Leek2.523
Lettuce111
Marrow210
Mushroom0.515
Okra219
Onion4.626
Onion, Spring623
Parsnip322
Peppers, yellow4.928
Pumpkin2.112
Radish1.913
Spinach0.616
Swede4.826
Sweetcorn15.790
Tomatoes2.818
Turnip526
Watercress2.118
Yam21.597

As you can see, there are very few carbs in veggies, and most fruits have a pretty moderate amount of carbs as well.

However, what you don't know is that the fiber in the fruits and veggies almost "cancel out" the carbs in the food you eat. See, refined sugars and sweets contain NO fiber, so your body absorbs the sugar too quickly. This leads to a sugar rush, a rise in your blood sugar levels that can ultimately cause your body to become less sensitive to insulin, the hormone that keeps your blood sugar levels from rising too high.

But, with fruits and veggies, things are a bit different. There is a LOT of fiber in most veggies, almost more fiber than carbs in some cases. The fiber doesn't stop your body from absorbing the carbs, but it slows the absorption rate. This means that your body gets the carbs a little bit at a time, so it only produces energy a bit at a time. There is no rush of sugar thanks to the fiber.

Clearly veggies contain A LOT less carbs than fruits. This is because most fruits are sweet, and that sweetness comes from sugar. But even though fruits are higher in carbs than veggies, they also contain plenty of that healthy fiber to slow down the sugar absorption rate. If you eat fruits in moderation, you don't need to worry that they will cause your blood sugar levels to shoot up. The fiber in the fruits will slow everything down, helping your body to get just the right amount of energy from the fruit.

But when it comes to low-carb, high-fiber foods, nothing beats veggies! Not even nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes contain as few carbs and as much fiber as veggies. For those who are trying to improve their digestive health, it's always a good idea to add more veggies to your life. Fiber not only stops carbs from being absorbed too quickly, but it also absorbs cholesterol, toxins, sugars, and fats in your intestines. Soluble fiber bonds with the particles of food, preventing them from being absorbed into your bloodstream. Insoluble fiber scrubs out your intestines, leaving you with a much healthier digestive system.

The truth is that the amount of carbs in most veggies is negligible. Some veggies--such as carrots, onions, and peppers--have a slightly higher carb content, but there is still a whole lot of fiber to stop the carbs from having a negative effect. Even eating a few pieces of fruit per day won't have any harmful effects on your body, and you'll find that the benefits of eating more fruits (and veggies) are too many to count!


4 Responses to Carbohydrate Content in Vegetables

  1. Tiff says:

    Where does spaghetti squash fall on this list?

    • ReneeR says:

      Hi Tiff,
      100 g cooked spaghetti squash contains 27 calories and 6.5 grams of carbohydrates. 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash contains 42 calories and 10 g of carbohydrates. Hope that helps!

      • Niamh says:

        If you are just cooking spaghetti squash in water then I do not understand how both the calories and carbohydrate increas?

  2. Ossie Sharon says:

    Thank you for this wonderful, wonderful list.

    Just a comment: the carbohydrate and calorie figures for pumpkin appear to be low. The amounts are closer to 5-6 gm and 20-25 calories per 100 gm vegetable.

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