Great Sources of Simple Carbohydrate Foods

Unrefined, natural simple carbohydrates are man's best friend when it comes to digestion, nutrients, and taste. Unfortunately there is no getting around that refined simple carbs, white bread and cookies, are not only bad for you but also tend to be the tastiest foods.

List of natural simple carbohydrates and refined sugar carbs:

Simple Sweet CarbsRefined Sugar Carbs
RaspberriesHoney (unless you buy natural)
PearWhite bread
PeachCandy Bars
LycheeChocolate (dark is best)
KiwiFruit Juices (whole fruit is a better option as juice lacks the fiber to balance the sugar out)
GrapefruitFlavored Waters (Gatorade, Vitamin Water)
CherryIce Cream

Refined carbohydrates like cookies, donuts, and even white bread contain added sugars and fats that will stifle your goal to eat healthy food and lose weight. Unlike complex carbohydrates which also contain the vitamins and minerals necessary to efficiently convert into slow-releasing energy, refined carbohydrates are broken down into the bloodstream quickly. This leads to glucose hitting the bloodstream all at once and too fast, which leads to that familiar 'sugar high' followed by a crash that we are all familiar with.

For those times you do need a sweet hit, natural, simple carbohydrates such as fruit are your best bet. Fruit contains fiber which balances out its sugar content so makes that energy hit a little more slow-releasing and sustainable than a refined carb such as a cookie or chocolate bar.

Fruits are also a great source of vitamins that protect your body against disease, so when you satisfy that sweet craving by reaching for a banana or handful of berries, you are also doing yourself some good.

However, the only healthy way to deal with refined simple carbohydrates are to keep them as an occasional treat. Anything with added sugar, or made from refined (white) flour is likely to lack the fiber to balance out the sugar, and has little nutritional value to make it worthwhile.

In addition, refined carbs may contain hydrogenated vegetable oils, additional fat, and processed sugars. Eating refined carbs like a cookie in the morning will neither give you the energy nor give you the nutrition to maintain a balanced body.

Photograph by Mike Ryn. Creative Commons: Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Photograph by Peter Asquith. Creative Commons: Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

5 Responses to Great Sources of Simple Carbohydrate Foods

  1. Michele says:

    Thank you. This information was very helpful. So would and apple with natural (no sugar added) peanut butter (1 Tbs.) be a better breakfast than a whole wheat beagle with cream cheese?

  2. Preeti says:

    Hi Michele. That's a good question. A bagel with cream cheese can contain 400-600 calories depending on the size of the bagel and type of cream cheese. In addition, a bagel contains about 66g of carbohydrates but just 4g of fiber (on average).

    Comparatively a medium-large apple contains 95 calories, 25grams of carbs of which 4g are fiber. 2tbsp of peanut butter contains 188 calories and 16g of fat. Though if you used just one tbsp of peanut butter, it is only 94 calories. Total: 189 or 383 calories.

    Now, what to recommend? We suggest the peanut butter (no sugar, fat added) and apple because these foods are good body fuels. Bagels are high in processed carbs so will give energy in the morning but will be quickly burned off.

    With that in mind, peanut butter is high in fat so you want to balance your meals to be lower fat. But peanut butter is good fat so it's not something you should skip out on.

  3. Preeti says:

    I meant no sugar, no fat added for the peanut butter!

  4. Linda Bergen says:

    Dear Preeti and Michelle,
    Good dialogue...thanks.

  5. Kristi says:

    I am a 120 lb female.... What is a good average daily amount of carbs for me?

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