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Foods with a Surprising Amount of Carbohydrates

Nadia Galinova
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Nadia Galinova
Dried Fruit

Have you thought about starting a low-carb diet? If so, you probably know that you will have to give up some foods like pizza, pasta, bread and potatoes. But there are other carb-rich foods to watch out for, too.

It is true that not all carbohydrates are created equal. Refined and simple carbohydrates such as white bread and biscuits undergo processing that robs them of important nutrients such as fiber, which regulate digestion and keep blood sugar levels stable.

On the other hand, unrefined complex carbohydrates undergo minimal processing, so the nutrients and fiber in them remain intact. They will help you feel fuller for longer, get fit and lower bad cholesterol.

The trap! Although complex carbohydrates are many times more healthy than simple ones, they are still carbohydrates. So if you've decided to go on a low-carb diet, be careful with the amounts you eat from them.

Here are 12 surprisingly high-carb foods that contain more carbs than a slice of white bread:

1. Dried fruit

1/4 cup of dried apricots contains 20 g of carbohydrates, 1/4 cup of dried figs 24 g, and 1/4 cup of raisins 32 g.

Don't be fooled into thinking that dried fruit have the same carbohydrate content as fresh ones, because the sugar in them is much more concentrated.

2. Legumes


1/2 cup of boiled lentils contains 20 g of carbohydrates, 1/2 cup boiled black beans also 20 g and 1/2 cup boiled chickpeas 22 g. Most of us think of legumes as a great source of plant protein and they are, but they also contain a lot of carbohydrates.

3. Yogurt


1 cup of low-fat yogurt contains 16 g of carbohydrates.

You might expect sweetened yogurt to be high in carbs, because of the added sugar, but plain yogurt is also a high-carb food. This is because both types still contain lactose.

4. Fruit juice

Foods with a Surprising Amount of Carbohydrates

A glass of orange juice contains 26 g of carbohydrates and a glass of apple juice contains 28 g and that's if they're unsweetened. Also, both in dried fruit and in fruit juices, the sugar is very concentrated. Although a glass of fresh fruit juice contains a significant amount of vitamins and minerals, it has twice the carbohydrates of a glass of soda. For sweetened juices and nectars, of course, the carbohydrate level will be even higher.

5. Quinoa

1/2 cup of boiled quinoa contains 20 g of carbohydrates.


These are actually seeds, not grains. But that doesn't mean this superfood is also low-carb. In fact, 1/2 cup of boiled quinoa has the same amount of carbohydrates as 1/2 cup of boiled spaghetti.

6. Bananas

There are about 27 g of carbohydrates in one medium banana.


A similar portion of any other fruit can fit into the dietary norms, but not the banana. Unlike most fruit, bananas contain starch. A medium banana has the equivalent carbohydrate content of two slices of bread.

7. Gluten-free bread

There are about 18 g of carbs in one slice.


Just because it's gluten-free doesn't mean it's low-carb. Most gluten-free breads are made from potato or tapioca flour, which are actually high in carbohydrates. But options made with almond or other low-carb flour can be a great choice.

8. Barbecue sauce

For 1/4 cup - 30 g of carbohydrates.

Barbeque Sauce

You can add barbecue sauce as protein to chicken or ribs, but most sauces contain a lot of added carbohydrates in the form of sugar, honey, molasses, fruit juice and more.

9. Whole grain tortillas

There are about 18 g of carbohydrates in one of them.


All types of tortillas have a reputation for being a healthier alternative to bread. But in terms of carbohydrates, they are not much different from it, even if they are made from whole grain flour. In fact, whole wheat tortillas contain more carbohydrates than whole wheat bread.

10. Protein powder

The content varies from brand to brand, but a typical scoop of whey protein isolate contains about 25 g of carbohydrates.

Protein Powder

Despite its name, this supplement is far from pure protein. Whey, one of the proteins in milk, contains carbohydrates. In addition, your protein powder also contains sweeteners and can be even higher in carbohydrates.

11. Sweet potatoes

27 g of carbs for one medium sweet potato.

Sweet Potatoes
Image: Zoritsa

They have always been considered a healthier alternative to grains. And they certainly are. They are full of nutrients such as vitamin A, potassium and fiber. But that doesn't make them a low-carb food - they're still potatoes.

12. Mango

25 g of carbohydrates for one cup of sliced mango.


Bananas are not the only fruit that contain a lot of carbohydrates - mangoes also contain a decent amount of them. The sweet fruit is perfect for many summer desserts and drinks, but if you want to stay away from carbs, replace them with raspberries - 1 cup of raspberries has 15 g of carbohydrates and contains twice as much fiber.

Check out our healthier suggestions for:

- dietary casseroles;

- keto desserts;

- keto bread.