Examples of Good and Bad Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are one of the basic components of diet without which a human body cannot function efficiently as it does. They have quite a significant role in almost every activity of the body from cellular to structural level. When carbohydrates become deficient in the body, this leads to many pathologies and impaired normal functions of the body. However, excess consumption of bad carbohydrates such as corn syrup and sugary food increases the risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus. Mentioned below are the foods which are considered good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates, the processed and the unprocessed ones, as well as the slow carbohydrates and fast carbohydrates.

Examples of Good and Bad Carbohydrates

Glucose is the main source of energy for the body to fulfill normal physiological activities and this is provided to you by carbohydrates. Elaborating a little on the types of carbohydrates that exist, we see that they are of two types on the basis of their structure. They can be complex carbohydrates and simple ones.

Take a look at the following examples of good carbohydrates and then we shall move on to the bad carbohydrates:

1. Good Carbohydrates

Whole Grains


Whole-grain products are always recommended due to the fact that they give us tremendous health benefits. These include unprocessed rice i.e., brown rice, all sorts of unprocessed foods such as wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, oats, buckwheat, beans, whole rye, whole-grain millet and barley and unprocessed corn. These good carbs are rich in dietary fibers, essential vitamins and minerals and most importantly the phytonutrients which are excellent for health.

Not only this, good carbs, because they have a low glycemic index, don’t cause fluctuations in blood glucose levels and increase it slowly and gradually, not elevating it above from the normal values. This is unlike the diet which has high glycemic index and results in a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, which is extremely harmful for diabetics and heart patients. Instead, good carbs with a low glycemic index encourage controlled blood sugar keeping it stable. They also prove to be good for those individuals who look for losing calories and of course for patients with diabetes type 2.

Fruits and Vegetables


Fruits and vegetables are meant to be part of our diets for an important reason. One of the many reasons for consuming them is that they are enriched with fibers, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. For those who eat approximately 2,000 calories every day should add at least 2 servings of fruit and 2.5 servings of healthy vegetables routinely.



Legumes for instance peas, lentils and many different beans are rich in fiber content, good carbohydrates as well as protein yet low in fat content. Legumes have a tendency to decrease the chances of heart diseases, certain metabolic diseases such as diabetes and cancers especially prostate cancer. According to USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov, 3 serving of legumes each week is a must if you consume 2,000-calories every day.

2. Bad Carbohydrates

Refined Grains


Refined grains also known as processed grains, for example, white flour, white bread, buns, pizza crust, white rice, pretzels and mega muffins are said to be the bad carbs. In the process of food refining, fibers, essential vitamins such as vitamin B, healthy minerals etc. are taken away. Not only this, high glycemic index of these bad carbohydrate foods have a seemingly anti effect on blood glucose levels.



The snacks we all love to eat such as potato chips, nuggets, cookies, French fries, sodas, yummy cakes, decorated pastries, tasty pancakes, corn syrup and hot dogs and sugary cereals are all bad carbohydrates in disguise. These have no nutritional value and provide no benefit to us except making us fat. Researchers at Yale University reveal that bad carbohydrates, for example, sugary food and biscuits result in fluctuation in blood sugar level, causing direct affect on the area of the brain which controls nerve impulses. This follows loss of self-control and increased desire for consuming unhealthy and calorie-rich food. High-caloric diet contributes to subsequent gain in weight, which results in increased possibility of having diabetes type 2.

3. Suggestions for Choosing the Right Carbs

Medical experts suggest that beans should be added to diet due to their low fat and high good carb content. According to Harvard School of Public Health, it is suggested that one should consume whole wheat or unprocessed oats in the first meal of the day, eat whole-grain breads in lunch time or as snack and go for brown rice, healthy wheat berries or may be millet in dinner. This would help you add good carbohydrates in your routine diet. A slice of bread, an ounce of cereal, half a cup of cereal cooked or half a cup of cooked dry beans is what is recommended for a serving.

Examples of Fast and Slow Carbohydrates

Another way of categorizing carbohydrates is as follows:

1. Fast Carbs

Fast carbs offer high glycemic index, causing rapid rise in blood glucose levels and are responsible for sharp fluctuations in glucose and hence energy levels. Fast carbs get digested quickly into glucose. They have a deep link with risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer of colon and rectum. Every effective diet plan recommends you to minimize fast carbs such as sugar, sweets and refined foods.

Examples of Fast Carbohydrates: Examples of fast carbs are beverages, processed bread, processed pasta, potato chips, and other processed foods which may include fruits and some sweet tasting veggies such as bananas, grapes, dried fruit, orange juice, and pineapples. If consumed, these fast carbohydrates should be complimented with a protein.

2. Slow Carbs

Slow carbs offer low glycemic index, causing stable blood sugar levels even between two meals. Slow carbs are linked with an ideal body weight and controlled blood cholesterol levels. Unlike fast carbs, slow carbs get absorbed slowly and have nutritive value and fiber content. Dietary fibers are good for digestive and cardiovascular health. Slow carbs keep you healthy and energetic throughout the day.

Examples of Slow Carbohydrates: Examples of slow carbs are fiber rich vegetables, nuts, legumes, quinoa, seeds, berries, beans and lentils, green yogurt, sprouted bread and whole grains.

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