Top 9 Sources of Carbohydrates

The three major sources of energy are fats, proteins and carbohydrates. 55% of our calories are recommended to be taken from carbohydrates; fat should provide thirty percent and fifteen percent of calories should from the proteins. Our body gets carbohydrates from sugars, oligosaccharides, fiber and starch. The most common carbohydrates sources include cereals, potatoes, milk and even some fruits and veggies.

Best Sources of Carbohydrates

1. Sweet Potato

They are rich in fiber, starch, vitamins, beta-carotene and complex carbohydrates. The sugar in sweet potatoes increase insulin levels so if you are diabetic, you should go for yams instead. A medium-sized sweet potato consists of 100 calories and 27 g carbohydrates. They are considered best as a recovery food because of the healing power provided by carotenoids, starchy carbs and fibers. Fiber in sweet potatoes keeps you full, so you don't crave for unhealthier form of potatoes or carbs.

2. Taro

Taro is common around the world but it is a well-known root veggie in Asia, South America and some areas of Pacific Islands. Taro tastes like sweet nuts and delivers a great source of dietary fibers. A cup of taro contains fiber (7 g) and sugar (less than 1 g) with a total of 46 g carbohydrates. It raises the sugar level slowly; thereby making you more energetic.

3. Brown Rice

Brown rice can be a great source of energy not only nutritionally but economically as well. These are inexpensive yet rich in carbohydrates. A cup of brown rice has 4 g fiber which prevents fat storage and creates ongoing energy in the body. Some other sources of carbohydrates rich in fiber include quinoa and buckwheat.

4. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are one important source of carbohydrates, especially for those who want to be lean. A cup of cooked chickpeas contains 45 g carbohydrates with 12 g fiber. They are great for weight loss as they have low glycemic index which makes your hunger level stable.

5. Oats

Oats are perfect as a breakfast essential. A cup of oats contain total of 104 g carbohydrates and 17 g fiber. You can prepare oats with some nutritional add-ins. Beta-glucan is another fiber present in oats which keeps the cholesterol levels low. Oats make the digestion process slower and keep you full for a longer period of time.

6. Blueberries

Berries, especially blueberries, are great sources of carbohydrates. They have good amount of minerals and vitamins and can also transform whole fat into calorie burning fat. Although they aren't the best source of carbohydrates, they have high amount of antioxidants and other health benefits due to the polyphenols. A cup of blueberries contain 10 g of carbohydrates, 7 g of sugar and 2 g of fiber.

7. Bananas

Bananas have high amount of rapidly-acting carbohydrates and are easy to digest. They are also loaded with potassium which helps to maintain the functions of muscle and nerve. One large banana contains 31 g of carbohydrates.

8. Chestnuts

Chestnuts are low in fat and proteins, which makes them different from other nuts. They have good amount of starch and carbohydrates. In 100 g portion of chestnuts, there are 44 g of carbohydrates from which 11 g is sugar and 8 g is fiber. They are exceptionally loaded with folates, vitamin C and monounsaturated fat.

9. Low-Fat Yogurt

Low fat yogurt provides energy quickly so they're perfect as a pre or post workout food. The calcium in it is very important for muscle contraction, metabolism regulation and cardiac health. A serving of 8 oz of low fat yogurt contains 11 g carbohydrates, including 6 g sugar.

Sources of Carbohydrates to Avoid

1. Too Much Sugar, Especially Artificial

It is not recommended to use artificial sugar sources, including drinks, cakes, ice cream as they have less nutrition and more calories. Natural sources of sugar are healthier, but too much intake of sugary foods can make you overweight or cause diabetes.

2. Refined Flour

Refined flour is made of processed grains with outer layers removed. In this way, many nutrients and fibers are removed but starch is left behind. Don't eat too many foods that are made of refined flour, such as white bread, pasta, pizza and cereals. Refined flour can leave unhealthy effects on sugar levels, making you feel hungrier. It also enhances the risk of diseases like heart issues and diabetes. Sometimes when the refined grains are labeled as "enriched", it means that B vitamins are mixed into it but not the fibers.

3. White Rice

White rice is a common food eaten around the world. Just like white flour, white rice is also made after getting the grain refined and polished. Removal of outer husk from the grain makes the carbohydrates unhealthy and releases too much sugar in our blood after digestion. A good replacement option would be brown rice.

How Much Carbohydrate Should I Take?

Age

Recommended Minimum Carbohydrate Intake (grams/day)

0-6 months

60 g

7-12 months

95 g

1-8 years

130 g

9-18 years

130 g

19 years and older

130 g

Pregnant women

175 g

Lactating women

210 g

Source: Board of Foods and Nutrition, Institute of Medicine, National Academies

 
 
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