Top 20 Carbs in Diet
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Top 20 Carbs in Diet

Advances in food processing, combined with ever increasing consumer demand for instant convenience foods (along with "good-value" increased portion-sizes), have considerably altered the content of the average American diet.

As a result, we are consuming ever increasing amounts of refined carbohydrates (foods with a high glycemic value), containing more calories, less dietary fiber and less nutrition. Over-consumption of high-glycemic-index foods is associated with blood-glucose problems, leading to increased risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

To illustrate these dietary changes, here is a list of the Top 20 carbohydrates in the American diet, as compiled by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health. [Source: Glucose Revolution, Brand-Miller et al, p.13]

Table 1. Top 20 Carbohydrates in the American Diet

1. Potatoes (Mashed/Baked)
2. White Bread
3. Breakfast Cereal
4. Dark Bread
5. Orange Juice
6. Banana
7. White Rice
8. Pizza
9. Pasta

10. Muffins
11. Fruit Punch
12. Coca-Cola
13. Apple
14. Skimmed Milk
15. Pancakes
16. Table Sugar
17. Jelly/Jam
18. Cranberry Juice
19. French Fries
20. Candy/Chocolate

While some of the most popular carbohydrates are perfectly healthy, notice the predominance of "white" bread and "white" rice, along with the absence of fruits (except apples and bananas), vegetables, beans, whole grains, and the inclusion of high-sugar foods like Coca-Cola, table sugar and candy.

Over-Consumption of High Glycemic Index Foods

To illustrate the high-carb eating habits of Americans, here are recent statistics for a few popular high carbohydrate foods.

  • In 2002, Americans spent $22.5 billion on ice cream and frozen desserts. (Source: International Dairy Foods Association)

  • In 2001, Americans spent $61 billion on sodas. (Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest.) Per capita consumption of sodas has increased almost 500 percent over the past five years.

  • Americans also spend $30 billion, per year on carb-rich pizza. (Source: Activity, October 2003)

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Nutrition & Carbohydrate
Nutrition in Carbs
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Carbohydrate in Foods
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Insulin Resistance Syndrome provides general information about different types of carbohydrate, like monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, as well as nutritional value of carbohydrates, carb-content of foods, plus details of GI values of all food groups, plus advice about diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. But no information is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Copyright 2003-2018.