High-carbohydrate foods include breads, pastries, sweets, starchy vegetables and fruit. Low-carbohydrate foods include meats, fats, full fat dairy products and sugar-free condiments. The nutrition label on prepared foods includes the carbohydrates in a serving of the food.
The human body breaks down carbohydrates to produce glucose, the fuel for metabolism. Complex carbohydrates take longer for digestion and provide glucose in a time-released fashion, while simple carbohydrates provide an almost immediate spike in blood glucose levels. Complex carbohydrates include fruits, whole grains and legumes. Simple carbohydrates often include table sugar and refined grains, such as white flour.
While fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrates, they tend to include complex ones. These foods are an important source of vitamins and other nutrients that the body requires for good health. They also provide fiber, which improves digestion and helps eliminate waste from the digestive tract.
Meat, poultry, seafood and eggs are very low-carbohydrate foods. Oysters and liver contain some carbohydrates. Dairy products, such as cheese, full-fat cottage cheese, sour cream and sugar-free yogurt are low in carbohydrates. When buying dairy products, consumers should read the label of low-fat products. Manufacturers often replace the fat with simple carbohydrate sugars to improve the flavor of the product.