These Are the Absolute Worst Carbs You Can Eat (and Drink)

Carbohydrates have gotten a pretty bad rap over the years. You’ve likely heard reports about how carbs make you fat and can throw off all your best dieting efforts. However, that’s only partially true. Depending on the type of carbohydrates you eat, they can be either good or bad for you. Don’t know which carbs to eat and which ones to stay away from? We’ll help you out.

Here are six of the worst carbs you can consume.

1. Sugary beverages

Mother and daughter drinking juice at cafe

Just step away from the sugar. | iStock.com/Astarot

Sweetened beverages might be the last thing you think of when it comes to carbohydrates, but they can be a source of bad carbs and unwanted weight gain. What you may not know is that sugar is a type of carbohydrate. It’s usually referred to as a simple or fast-acting carbohydrate. Sugary drinks can easily tack on hundreds of calories to your daily caloric intake.

Even worse, drinking too many drinks filled with sugar could also lead to premature death. A study conducted by Tufts University found sugary beverages have been a contributing factor in roughly 184,000 deaths globally each year. The study found that excessive sugar can kill you by contributing to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. So, try your best to cut back on this delicious–yet potentially deadly–carb.

2. Refined white grains

breadsticks served with dip sauce

Mmm…yummy breadsticks. | iStock.com/harikarn

Yes, white bread and pasta lovers, we’re looking at you. Although many refined carbs are comfort foods, they can wreak havoc on your health. The problem with refined grains is that they lack fiber and essential nutrients. Therefore, whole grains are the best way to go. Switch out your regular pasta and white bread for the whole grain version.

Your digestive system will thank you. The fiber contained in whole grains help promote healthy bacteria growth in the colon, which aids regular bowel movements, according to the experts at WebMD.

 3. Pastries and cakes

Donut with sprinkles on the pink background

You want this, don’t you? | iStock.com/Mindstyle

Pastries, cakes, cookies, and other sweet treats might be delectable, but they aren’t so good for your body. A big problem with refined carbs is that they cause a spike in blood sugar. These simple carbohydrates are digested quickly into sugar and then absorbed into your bloodstream. Consequently, your sugar level will quickly rise and then fall. When your diet has too much of the sweet stuff, you might experience frequent mood swings because of the sudden rise and fall of your blood sugar levels.  

4. French fries and chips

French fries

French fries are full of fat and salt. | iStock.com

If you go out to eat at a restaurant, depending on what you order, you might be offered a side of french fries. And if you’re on the go and don’t have time to eat lunch, you might be tempted to grab a bag of potato chips instead of sitting down to eat a full meal. However, these carbs are usually full of bad fats. Tasty as they are, french fries are usually deep fried in oil, so unfortunately, they’re a high-fat and high-calorie snack. They’re also full of salt.

5. Candy

bowls of candy

It tastes good, but it’s not good for you. | iStock.com

Similar to sodas, pastries, and cakes, candy tends to contain lots of sugar. These carbs are not only bad for your heart but also your dental health. Unless you want to spend extra time at the dentist’s office getting cavities filled, you’ll want to steer clear of too many candy treats. If you must have your candy, just make sure to consume it in moderation. Also make an effort to seek out some of the healthier candy options. Pay close attention to sugar and fat content.  

6. Ice cream

Banana split ice cream served on white plate

Instead of a bowl of ice cream go for a bowl of fruit. | iStock.com/gregory_lee

Who doesn’t scream for ice cream? A big bowl of creamy goodness feels excellent going down, but it’s packed full of sugar and fat. Pass up the ice cream and have a bowl of fruit instead. Fruit is a better choice because it contains plenty of fiber, which helps slow down the time it takes sugar to break down. In addition, fruit is also a good way to get key nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and potassium.

Which carbs are good for you?

Woman at the fruit and vegetable market

A young woman buying fruits and vegetables. | iStock.com/guruXOOX

Carbohydrates are divided into two major types: simple and complex. When it comes to the good carbs, complex is best. Complex carbohydrates are not processed and contain fiber that’s naturally found in the food. Refined carbohydrates, on the other hand, are processed, and the natural fiber is removed. Examples of complex carbohydrates are vegetables, whole fruit, and whole grains.

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