Which foods contain carbohydrates?


Quick Answer

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists fruits, vegetables, foods containing grains, milk and processed foods with added sugars as carbohydrate-rich foods. Nearly all foods contain some amount of carbohydrates.

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Full Answer

According to the CDC, there are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. MedlinePlus describes simple carbohydrates as those that require little digestion. They act as a quick-acting, short-lived source of energy. These carbohydrates are found naturally in fruits and milk, and they are added in the form of refined sugar to processed foods, including cake and candy. While the simple carbohydrates in processed foods provide energy, they lack the vitamins and minerals that come from natural, carbohydrate-dense foods.

The CDC reports that complex carbohydrates are high in fiber and require substantial breakdown in the digestive tract to become a usable source of glucose. Oatmeal, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, beans, brown rice, fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. The Mayo Clinic states that 40 to 65 percent of a person's total caloric intake should come from carbohydrates, with the majority of them coming from complex carbohydrates. This means that the average person needs to consume 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.

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