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Top 10 Foods Highest in Carbohydrates (To Limit or Avoid)

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
Powered by USDA Nutrition Data
Top 10 Foods Highest in Carbohydrates (To Limit or Avoid)

Carbohydrates are found in almost all living things and play a critical role in the proper functioning of the immune system, fertilization, blood clotting, and human development.

A deficiency of carbohydrates can lead to impaired functioning of all these systems, however, in the Western world, deficiency is rare.

Excessive consumption of carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates like sugar or corn syrup, can lead to obesity, type II diabetes, and cancer.

Unhealthy high carbohydrate foods include pancakes, soft pretzels, bread products, ready to eat cereals, milkshakes, ice-cream, cereal bars, cake, pies, muffins, sweetened canned fruits, sugary drinks, fruit juices, corn chips, potato chips, and candies. Healthy high carbohydrate foods includes whole grains, beans, vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds. The daily value (%DV) for carbohydrates is 300 grams.

Below is a list of foods highest in carbohydrates, for more see the list of carb rich restaurant foods. For more healthy high carbohydrate choices see the list of healthy high carb foods.

Top 10 High Carb Foods to Avoid


#1: Fast Foods (Hot Cakes with Syrup)

Carbs per 3 PancakesCarbs per 100g
34% DV (101.8g)15% DV (46.1g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Mcdonalds Pancakes
See the full list of fast foods high in carbs.
Soft Pretzels

#2: Soft Pretzels

Carbs in 1 LargeCarbs per 100g
34% DV (101.6g)24% DV (71g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Soft Pretzels

Other Bread Products High in Carbs (%DV per piece)

French Bread (24% DV), Bagels (17%), Naan Bread (26%), Hamburger Rolls (8%), and Hotdog Rolls (8%).
A bowl granola

#3: Ready to Eat Cereals (Familia)

Carbs per CupCarbs per 100g
30% DV (90g)25% DV (73.8g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Familia
See the full list of 200 cereals high in carbs.
An ice cream sunday

#4: Milkshakes

Carbs per 12oz CupCarbs per 100g
29% DV (86.1g)9% DV (25.6g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Blended Soft Serve Ice Cream With Cookies
Light Soft Serve Ice-Cream contains 23% (69g) of the DV for carbs.
An average ice-cream sandwich contains 11% DV (33g) carbs.
Granola bars

#5: Cereal Bars (Nutri-Grain)

Carbs per BarCarbs per 100g
28% DV (84.4g)24% DV (72.8g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Nutrigrain Mixed Berry Cereal Bar

Other Cereal Bars High in Carbs (%DV per bar)

Quaker Oatmeal Bar (15% DV), Clif Bar (15%), Mars Marathon Protein Performance Bar (13%), South Beach Protein Bar (13%), Slim Fast Optima Meal Bar (11%DV), Kellog\'s Low Fat Granola Bar (10%), and Snickers Marathon Bar (10%).
A slice of chocolate cake

#6: Cake with Frosting

Carbs per SliceCarbs per 100g
27% DV (79.7g)18% DV (55.4g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Yellow Cake With Chocolate Frosting

More Baked Confections High in Carbs (%DV per Slice or Piece)

White Cake with Coconut Frosting (24% DV), Blueberry Pie (15%), Cookies (13%), Gingerbread Cake (12%), and Muffins (12%).
Canned Fruit

#7: Canned Fruits (Sweetened Peaches)

Carbs per CupCarbs per 100g
22% DV (67.2g)8% DV (25.3g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Pears Canned In Syrup
Sweetened Canned Prunes (22% DV), Sweetened Canned Apricots (18%), and Sweetened Canned Blueberries (18%).
A can of soda

#8: Sugary Drinks (Cream Soda)

Carbs per 16oz BottleCarbs per 100g
22% DV (65.7g)4% DV (13.3g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Cream Soda

Other Sugary Drinks High in Carbs (%DV per 2 cup (16oz serving)

Orange Juice Drink (22%), Ocean Spray Cran Pomegranate (20%), Sweetened Lemon Black (20%), Tea V-8 V-Fusion Strawberry Banana (20%), Orange Soda (20% DV), Cola Soft Drinks (17%), Root Beer (17%), and Ginger Ale (14%).
Extruded corn chips

#9: Snacks (Corn Chips)

Carbs per CupCarbs per 100g
17% DV (50.5g)19% DV (57.4g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Extruded Corn Chips

Other Snacks High in Carbs (%DV per cup)

Light Low-Oil Tortilla Chips (15%), and Low-Fat Potato Chips (8%).
Colorful candies

#10: Candies (Jelly Gumdrops)

Carbs per 10 PiecesCarbs per 100g
12% DV (35.6g)33% DV (98.9g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Jelly Gumdrops
See the full list of sweets and candies high in carbs.

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A printable list of the top 10 foods highest in carbs to avoid.

Restaurant Foods High in Carbs

#1 Sweet and Sour Chickenper order56% DV
#2 Vegetable Lo Meinper order50% DV
#3 Applebees Crunchy Onion Ringsper order47% DV
#4 McDonalds Hot Cakesper order34% DV
#5 Carrabbas Italian Grill Spaghetti With Pomodoro Sauceper order30% DV
#6 Olive Garden Spaghetti With Meat Sauceper order30% DV
#7 McDonalds McFlurry With Oreo Cookiesper 12oz shake29% DV
#8 Taco Bell Taco Saladper order27% DV
#9 TGI Fridays French Friesper order23% DV
#10 Dennys Mozzarella Cheese Sticksper order21% DV

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View more food groups with the nutrient ranking tool, or see ratios with the nutrient ratio tool.

Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.
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