High Carb Foods: 28 Healthy Options to Eat in Moderation

Updated in July 2023

High carb foods, like bread, rice, sweet potato and pasta, are an important source of energy for the body. They help to maintain vital functions, like breathing and adequate organ functioning.

Although they are fundamental to overall health, too many carbs can lead to increased fat storage in the body, which results in weight gain. 

You should prioritize complex carbs that are rich in fiber, like whole grain rice, whole wheat bread, oats, legumes, vegetables and fruit. These foods are absorbed by the body at a slower rate, which keeps you full and regulates blood sugar levels. 

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List of high carb foods

The following table outlines the amount of carbohydrates per 100 g of different whole grains and legumes:


Carbohydrates (in 100 g)

Fiber (in 100 g)

Corn flour

79.1 g

5.5 g

White flour

75.1 g

2.3 g

Rye flour

73.3 g

15.5 g

French bread

58.6 g

2.3 g

Whole grain toast

49.9 g

6.9 g

Cooked white rice

28.1 g

1.6 g

Cooked whole wheat rice

25.8 g

2.7 g

Cooked white pasta

30.9 g

1.8 g

Cooked whole wheat pasta

30.1 g

3.9 g

Oat flakes

66.6 g

9.1 g

Cooked black beans

14 g

8.4 g

Cooked chickpeas

27.4 g

7.6 g

Cooked lentils

16.3 g

7.9 g

Consuming carbohydrates prior to exercising helps to improve performance, as this nutrient provides the body with the necessary to work out. 

The following table outlines the amount of carbohydrates per 100 g of different fruits: 


Carbohydrates (in 100 g) Fiber (in 100 g)


72.5 g

6.4 g

Pine nuts

22.4 g

3.4 g


13.6 g

0.9 g


22.5 g

2.4 g


19.4 g

1.6 g


10.4 g

1 g


14 g

3 g


15.2 g

1.3 g


26 g

2 g

Some fruits, like blackberries, cherry and rose apples are low in carbohydrates, and are recommended for low carb diets. Low carb diets are aimed at reducing overall carbohydrate intake. 

The following table outlines the amount of carbohydrates per 100 g of different vegetables: 


Carbohydrates (in 100 g) Fiber (in 100 g)


27.5 g

3.9 g

Cooked cassava

30.1 g

1.6 g

Raw beets

11.1 g

3.4 g

Cooked green beans

11.7 g

4.2 g

Cooked purple yam

18.9 g

2.6 g

Cooked pumpkin

10.8 g

2.6 g

Cooked English potatoes

11.9 g

1.3 g

Cooked sweet potato

18.4 g

2.2 g

There are many other foods that contain carbohydrates, but with generally lower carb contents, like milk, yogurt, butter and cheese. Learn more about a low carb diet and the benefits associated with it.

The recommended daily carb intake is about 55 to 60% of your total calorie intake. A person with eats 2000 calories per day, for example, should consume between 275 to 300 g of carbs every day.

However, carb amounts vary depending on weight, age, activity level and general health status.

What are carbs?

Carbohydrates (also known as also called carbs, glycide or sugar) are molecules made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Their main function is to provide fast energy because they are easily digested and boost mood soon after consumption. When this energy is not burnt, however, it ends up being stored in the body as fat.

All vegetables have carbohydrates and the only animal-derived food that has carbohydrates is honey. The total daily consumption should not be more than 60% of your food intake.

There are 2 different types of carbohydrates:

1. Simple carbohydrates

Food that is rich in simple carbohydrates is usually sweet. Examples include refined sugar, French bread, honey, fruit jams, watermelon, raisins, cereals, white rice, cooked pasta, popcorn and sodas.

This type of carbohydrate is digested and absorbed very quickly by the body, which is why you feel hungry again soon after eating them. This food will typically have a moderate to high glycemic index, because their sugar quickly gets into the blood and should therefore be avoided by diabetics or anyone trying to lose weight.

2. Complex carbohydrates

Food that is rich in complex carbohydrates is usually less sweet. Some examples include whole-grain pasta and rice, as well as whole grain cereal, lentils, chickpeas, carrots, or peanuts.

Complex carbohydrates have a slower digestion rate which means they reach the blood more slowly. This can keep you feeling fuller for longer. These foods will usually have a low to moderate glycemic index, making them ideal for diabetics or anyone trying to lose weight

In addition, complex carbs are generally richer in B vitamins, iron, fiber and minerals.

What are good carbs?

Although many sources of carbohydrates can be good, choosing healthy carbohydrates like whole-grain products as well as fruits and vegetables may be better for anyone trying to lose weight or improve exercise results.

Therefore, good sources of carbohydrates are:

  • Fruits rich in carbohydrates and fibers: plum, papaya, fig;
  • Grains: brown rice, rice with beans, whole-grain pasta, whole-grain bread or bread with seeds;
  • Vegetables: beets, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower;
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas;
  • Tubers: sweet potatoes with peel, yams.

In general, food with high sugar content and carbs (e.g. cakes, cookies, cereal bars, popcorn, sweets and desserts) should not be eaten by those who want to lose weight or increase muscle mass. Your body type may also affect your weight goals - learn more about the different body types and how they can vary from each other. 

How to use carbs to gain muscle mass

To gain muscle mass, it is important to eat complex carbohydrates throughout the day as well as before exercising. Carbs can provide adequate energy for exercise, and it is recommended you eat some protein-rich food, such as yogurt, up to 1 hour after exercising to facilitate muscular hypertrophy. Taking supplements for muscle growth in conjunction with this diet can promote more hypertrophy. 

Be sure to include muscle-building foods into your diet to promote gains.