Carbohydrates are an ideal source of energy for the body. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats form the three main macronutrients that are essential in every balanced diet.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are sugars that are found in many refined and processed foods, in foods made with white flour, and in foods high in various types of sugars. While complex carbohydrates are necessary for good health, simple carbohydrates can cause moodiness, rapid changes in blood-sugar levels, weight gain, compulsive eating and sugar cravings.

Simple carbohydrates are simple sugars having a chemical structure that is composed of one or two sugars. They’re refined sugars that have very little nutritional value towards the body, and therefore, it’s advisable that their consumption be restricted to small quantities.

In comparison to complex carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates are digested through the body more quickly, because they have a very simple chemical structure. Listed here are some common foods that contain high levels of simple carbohydrates.


Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and other products have a natural simple carbohydrate sugar called lactose. These foods offer calcium and vitamins essential to good health. Choosing dairy products created using low-fat milk and avoiding dairy products which are processed with added sugars that lower nutrition and raise simple carbohydrate levels.

Soft Drinks

Soft drinks are a common source of simple carbohydrates. Many non-diet soft drinks consist of sugar, a simple carbohydrate. To avoid the extra sugar content, try drinking water or milk with meals rather than soft drinks.

Fruit Juices

Even fruit juices, such as apple and grape, contain high amounts of simple carbohydrates. Eat whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice – it’s less refined, and for that reason healthier. It also contains more fiber, which helps with digestion and keeps you feeling full longer.

Natural Sweeteners

You may think that by avoiding refined white sugar, you’re also avoiding simple carbohydrates. The fact is that many natural, unrefined sweeteners contain high amounts of simple carbs. Honey, molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar all contain high amounts of simple carbs. Beet sugar and cane sugar also contain high amounts of simple carbohydrates.


Corn syrup and table syrup contain high amounts of simple carbohydrates. Like many foods that are high in simple sugars and other simple carbohydrates, table and other syrups don’t provide much nutritional value.

Foods With Simple Carbohydrates

Foods With Simple Carbohydrates

Fruits and Vegetables

Many fruits and vegetables contain glucose, a naturally occurring simple carbohydrate. That doesn’t mean you should avoid fruits and vegetables. The naturally occurring simple carbohydrates present in fruits and vegetables can be beneficial to your health – it’s the processed, refined sugars that you actually want to avoid. Fruits and vegetables are also high in many other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and fiber. Some fruits, vegetables and legumes could also contain fats and protein.