How many carbs are in this food?
The term carbohydrate covers a wide variety of foods, from the sugar we put in hot drinks to the rice on our plates. Our bodies need to have some carbohydrate as it is one of the body’s main sources of glucose for energy, and the brain’s preferred source of energy.
Types of carbohydrate
The two main types are starchy carbohydrates and sugars:
- Starchy carbs include bread, pasta, chapatis, potatoes, dumplings, yam and cereals.
- Sugars can be categorised as natural sugars and added sugars (or ‘free sugars’). Free sugars include those added to food by manufacturers, cooks or consumers (such as granulated or Demerara sugar) and those naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juice.
It is important to consider not only the amount of carbohydrate in a food but also whether it is refined or not, how it is cooked and what it is eaten with. High fibre, starchy carbs are digested more slowly than sugary foods and drinks, keeping you fuller for longer and helping maintain healthy digestion.
Below are some examples of common foods and drinks, with the carbohydrate values shown for each portion.
5g of carbohydrate is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar, so note that some of these portions with 50g of carbohydrate contain the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar!
Medium slice of wholemeal bread, pitta bread and bagel:
Pasta & noodles
Rice noodles, pasta twists and ravioli:
New potatoes, oven chips and mashed potato:
Rice & grains
Couscous, basmati rice and egg fried rice:
Apple pie, chocolate & nut cone and cheesecake:
Grapefruit juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, cola and hot chocolate:
When considering a low-carb diet as an option, people with diabetes should be aware of possible side effects such as the risk of hypoglycemia, and should get support to reduce this risk if on insulin or medicines such as Gliclazide or Repaglinide. Seek advice from your healthcare professional for further information about monitoring and adjustments to medication as required.
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Carbs and cals book
This visual book contains 1,700 food photos, showing the fibre content for each portion to help you achieve your 30g fibre each day, as well as carbs, calories and other nutrients
Carbs and cals app
This visual app is perfect for those counting calories, monitoring carbs, boosting fibre, looking to improve portion control or lose weight.
World foods book
If you’re from an African, Arabic, Caribbean or South Asian background, this book helps you understand the carbs in the food you eat. Its visual style makes it easy to select portion sizes.