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Vegan High-carb Foods List

FoodCarbohydrate
Flatbread
222 g
Xylitol (Birch Sugar)
100 g
Stevia Extract Powder
100 g
Fructose powder
100 g
Sugar
99.98 g
Powdered Sugar
99.77 g
Demerara Sugar
99.3 g
Brown Sugar
98.09 g
Apple, dehydrated
93.53 g
Ginger, candied
92.5 g
Corn Starch
91.27 g
Maple Sugar
90.9 g
Prunes, dehydrated
89.07 g
Corn Flakes, frosted
88.9 g
Carob Flour
88.88 g
Tapioca Pearls
88.69 g
Banana Chips, dehydrated
88.28 g
Arrowroot Flour
88.15 g
Pudding Powder
87.5 g
Cassava Flour
87.3 g
Plantago Ovata Husk (Psyllium Husk)
87 g
Cellophane Noodles
86.09 g
Wheat Starch
86 g
Corn Bran
85.64 g
Instant Mashed Potato Powder
85.5 g
Rice Starch
85 g
Kamut (Khorasan Wheat), puffed/popped
84.9 g
Cornf Flakes
84.5 g
White Mulberries, dried
83.8 g
Rice Cakes
83.4 g
Peaches, dehydrated
83.18 g
Potato Flour
83.1 g
Rose Hip Powder
83 g
Beetroot Powder
83 g
Apricots, dehydrated
82.89 g
Cranberries, dried + sweetened
82.8 g
Couscous
82.8 g
Rice Crackers
82.64 g
Agave, dried
81.98 g
Glutinous Rice
81.68 g

In almost all foods, carbohydrates are present. They are also called saccharides and are the main source of energy for the body. The type and amount of carbohydrates we consume through our diet can have a significant impact on health. You can see which vegan and plant-based foods contain carbohydrates in the table above.

What are Carbohydrates?

In addition to proteins and lipids, carbohydrates belong to the group of macronutrients present in our diet. As mentioned earlier, carbohydrates are an important source of energy. Each gram of carbohydrates provides about 4.1 kilocalories (kcal) of energy.

Carbohydrates consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. In food, they can exist as monosaccharides, disaccharides, or polysaccharides.

  • Monosaccharides are simple sugars like glucose and fructose. They can be easily absorbed by the body and used for energy production. That's why they are also called simple carbohydrates. Here are some foods high in glucose, and the table of fructose-rich foods.
  • Disaccharides (double sugars) consist of two monosaccharides, such as sucrose (table sugar). Double sugars need to be broken down into their individual components by the body before they can serve as an energy source.
  • Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates consisting of many monosaccharides. The best examples are starch and fiber. Due to the many interconnected sugar molecules, the body requires more time and energy to break them down. Mostly undigested, fiber passes through the gastrointestinal tract because it is too complex. Soluble fibers like pectins and inulin can be utilized by the body. A diet rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Healthy Carbohydrates

Healthy carbohydrates are those that are rich in fiber, nutrients, and complex carbohydrates. They are digested slowly by the body, keeping blood sugar levels stable and providing a longer feeling of satiety. In contrast, unhealthy carbohydrates are often rich in simple carbohydrates and sugar. These lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and can contribute to cravings and an increased risk of diabetes.

Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, quinoa, and brown rice are examples of healthy carbohydrate-rich foods.

How Many Carbohydrate-Rich Foods to Eat?

The recommended daily intake of carbohydrates varies depending on age, gender, physical activity, and health status. For healthy individuals, a general carbohydrate intake of 45 to 65% of daily caloric needs is recommended, which corresponds to about 3 to 4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight.

If your body tends to accumulate body fat quickly, you can reduce the daily carbohydrate needs to around 2 to 3 grams per kilogram of body weight. You can use our table of foods low in carbohydrates for reference.

Excess Carbohydrates

When we eat carbohydrates, they are converted into glucose, which is then used by the body's cells as an energy source. If you consume too many carbohydrate-rich foods, your body will produce more glucose than it needs. The excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. When these stores are depleted, the body will convert the excess glucose into fat and store it as an energy reserve. Therefore, it's important to consider the sources of carbohydrates you choose to consume.

Which Foods Contain Carbohydrates?

The following carbohydrate-rich foods can be classified into their respective carbohydrate groups.

Simple carbohydrates:

  • Fruits: Grapes, bananas, dates, raisins, mango, pineapple, watermelon, honeydew melon, peaches, nectarines, apples, pears
  • Fruit juices: Orange juice, grape juice, apple juice, pineapple juice
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, syrup, maple syrup, molasses, agave nectar, rice syrup
  • Candy and desserts: Chocolate, candies, gummy bears, ice cream, pudding

Complex carbohydrates:

  • Whole grains: Whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, oats, quinoa, millet, bulgur
  • Legumes: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas
  • Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, carrots, pumpkin, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, kale

Fiber:

  • Whole grains: Whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, oats, quinoa, millet, bulgur
  • Legumes: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas
  • Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, carrots, pumpkin, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, kale. You can find more fiber-rich vegetables in this table.
  • Fruits: Apples, pears, berries, avocados, oranges. This table displays high-fiber fruits.

Strength:

  • Grains: Rice, oats, wheat, barley, rye, corn
  • Legumes: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas, soybeans
  • Root vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, cassava
  • Corn products: Popcorn, tortilla chips, corn flakes
  • Fruits: Bananas, figs, mangoes
  • Find more starchy foods here.

To determine the amount of carbohydrates in foods from each group, refer to the linked carbohydrate tables:

Optimizing Carbohydrate Intake

In the following list, we have provided some tips on how you can optimize your carbohydrate intake:

  • Choose complex carbohydrates: Opt for carbohydrate sources like whole grains, legumes, and vegetables instead of simple carbohydrates like sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  • Experiment with alternatives: Try alternative low-carb foods such as cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles (zoodles), or quinoa.
  • Consume adequate protein: Eat high-protein foods to keep yourself satiated and maintain stable blood sugar levels.
  • Avoid processed foods: These often contain high amounts of refined carbohydrates, sugar, and fats.
  • Use spices and herbs: They enhance the flavor of your meals and can reduce the need for sugar or salt.
  • Eat regularly: Eat at regular intervals to maintain stable blood sugar levels and avoid cravings.
  • Avoid sugary beverages: Soft drinks, fruit juices, and energy drinks are high in simple carbohydrates and calories. You can access the calorie chart here.
  • Eat slowly and mindfully: This promotes a pleasant feeling of satiety and prevents overeating.
  • Increase vegetable intake: Vegetables provide more fiber and nutrients to the body while balancing carbohydrate intake.
  • Avoid carbohydrate-rich foods in the evening: They can raise blood sugar levels and disrupt sleep.
  • Choose fresh fruit over fruit juice: This can provide more fiber and less sugar in your diet.

Carbohydrate-Rich Foods Affect Glycemic Index

Another important aspect of carbohydrates in food is the glycemic index (GI). The GI is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates in food raise blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, while foods with a low GI are absorbed more slowly by the body, resulting in a slower rise in blood sugar levels.

Here are some examples of carbohydrate sources and their respective GI values:

  • Low GI (below 55): Whole grains, vegetables (except potatoes), legumes, nuts, dairy products, fresh fruits (except watermelon and pineapple).
  • Medium GI (55-70): Bananas, pineapple, dried fruits, rice, couscous, potatoes, quinoa.
  • High GI (over 70): White bread, bagels, cornflakes, gummy bears, sweets, soft drinks, grape juice.

Which Carbohydrate-Rich Foods Are Suitable for Muscle Building?

Carbohydrates play an important role in muscle building as they serve as the primary source of energy for training and muscle recovery. Here are some carbohydrate-rich foods that are suitable for muscle building:

  • Oats: They are a great source of complex carbohydrates and also contain fiber and protein.
  • Sweet potatoes: They contain plenty of complex carbohydrates and vitamin A, which is important for muscle growth.
  • Whole grain bread: It contains complex carbohydrates and fiber, which promote digestion and provide a long-lasting source of energy.
  • Quinoa: This gluten-free pseudo-cereal is an excellent source of complex polysaccharide carbohydrates. It is also rich in proteins.
  • Bananas: They contain quickly digestible carbohydrates and are rich in potassium, which supports muscle contraction. Here is a list of potassium-rich foods.
  • Brown rice: It contains plenty of complex carbohydrates. Additionally, it contains a lot of magnesium, which helps with muscle contraction and relaxation.
  • Whole wheat pasta: With its complex carbohydrates, the body can build and store more glycogen.
  • Fruits: Fruits such as apples, berries, grapes, and oranges are rich in simple carbohydrates. They provide a high amount of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, which are important for overall health and muscle growth.
  • Legumes: Legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas are rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, making them a good nutrient combination for muscle building.

Carbohydrates for Muscle Growth and Repair

Carbohydrates support muscle growth and repair by replenishing energy reserves in the body and promoting protein synthesis. Here are some tips on how to use carbohydrates for muscle building:

  • Before training: Carbohydrates can serve as an energy source for training. By consuming carbohydrate-rich foods before training, the body can provide enough energy for the workout.
  • After training: Carbohydrates replenish the glycogen stores in the body that are depleted during exercise. Consuming carbohydrates along with protein within 30 minutes after training can promote recovery and muscle building.
  • During training: Carbohydrate-containing sports drinks can help maintain blood sugar levels and provide energy during exercise.
  • Throughout the day: A carbohydrate-rich diet can ensure the body's energy supply and support muscle protein synthesis. Use our carbohydrate table and choose the best carbohydrate sources in combination with a high protein content (add 2nd nutrient to the table).

Losing Weight with Carbohydrate-containing Foods

Weight loss depends not only on the type of carbohydrates but also on the overall amount and calorie intake. A balanced diet with a moderate calorie deficit and regular physical activity is the best way to successfully lose weight.

In a healthy diet, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes should be consumed as sources of carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates found in white bread, sugary drinks, and sweets should be avoided, on the other hand.

Low-carb Diet

Low-carb diets are a popular method for weight loss and improving health. The idea behind them is to reduce carbohydrate intake, forcing the body to use fat as an energy source. These diets allow for a moderate intake of protein and fat, with an emphasis on healthy, unsaturated fats and proteins from lean sources. You can find low-carb foods here or scroll to the end of the carbohydrate table on this page.

Although low-carb diets can lead to weight loss, there are some potential disadvantages. A strict low-carb diet can result in a lack of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for health. It can also cause constipation, fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms.