List of Simple Carbohydrates and Complex Carbohydrates Foods

There are 2 types of carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates.


Carbohydrates are considered simple or complex based upon their chemical structure. So what are complex carbohydrates, or some call them starch?


Complex Carbohydrates


They are simply sugars bonded together to form a chain. Because of it’s complex chain form, your digestive enzymes have to work much harder to access the bonds to break the chain into individual sugars for absorption through the intestines.


Because of that, the digestion of complex carbohydrates takes longer. The slow absorption of sugars provides you with a steady supply of energy and limits the amount of sugar converted into fat and stored!


Usually people consider complex carbohydrates as good carbohydrates.


Here’s a list of complex carbohydrates foods.




  • Spinach
  • Whole Barley
  • Grapefruit
  • Turnip Greens
  • Buckwheat
  • Apples
  • Lettuce
  • Buckwheat bread
  • Prunes
  • Water Cress
  • Oat bran bread
  • Dried apricots
  • Zucchini
  • Oatmeal
  • Pears
  • Asparagus
  • Oat bran cereal
  • Plums
  • Artichokes
  • Museli
  • Strawberries
  • Okra
  • Wild rice
  • Oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Brown rice
  • Yams
  • Celery
  • Multi-grain bread
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Pinto beans
  • Potatoes
  • Dill Pickles
  • Low fat yogurt
  • Soybeans
  • Radishes
  • Skim milk
  • Lentils
  • Broccoli
  • Navy beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Brussels
  • Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Kidney beans
  • Eggplant
  • Soy milk
  • Lentils
  • Onions
  • Whole meal bread
  • Split peas

Complex Carbohydrates


Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly. Many simple carbohydrates contain refined sugars and few essential vitamins and minerals. People usually consider these as bad carbohydrates.


Why bad?


These simple carbohydrates are actually smaller molecules of sugar unlike the long chains in complex carbohydrates.


They are digested quickly because the individual sugars are ready to be absorbed immediately plus digestive enzymes have easy access to the bonds in the paired molecules.


You could say most of the work has been done for the digestive system! Foods like cake, pastry, biscuits, chocolate, etc (you get the idea) contain lots of “empty” calories.


Because our cells usually do not require that amount of energy at that time of eating, the sugar must either be converted to glycogen (sugar storage within cells) or converted to fat.


Your body cells can only store a limited amount of glycogen, so in many common cases, taking too much food that contains simple carbohydrates may contribute to body fat stores.


Here’s a list of simple carbohydrates foods.




  • Table sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Fruit juice
  • Candy
  • Cake
  • Bread made with white flour
  • Pasta made with white flour
  • Soda pop
  • Candy
  • All baked goods made with white flour
  • Most packaged cereals
  • Honey
  • Milk
  • Yoghurt
  • Jam
  • Chocolate
  • Biscuit


There are a lot more foods that contains simple and complex carbohydrates. You can using the list above as a starting point for a healthier diet immediately.


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