What Are Refined Carbohydrates?

Refined carbohydrates are grain products that have been processed by a food manufacturer so that the whole grain is no longer in tact. The refining or milling process removes dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. If the nutrients are added back in, the refined grains or refined carbohydrates are called enriched grains.

Refined Carbohydrates Definition

In many nutritional settings, you hear experts talk about refined grains or refined carbs.

Refined carbohydrate foods are often high in calories and contain solid fats and added sugars (called “SoFAS”). The organization recommends that you replace refined carbs with whole grain foods for improved health.

How to Eat Fewer Refined Carbohydrates

So how do you cut back on your intake of refined carbs?

The first step is to identify them in your diet. They might be hiding in places that you wouldn’t imagine.  White bread is a common source of refined carbs. But refined grains can also be found in many other foods.

Common Sources of Refined Carbohydrates (List)

  • Pasta (especially white pasta)
  • White rice
  • Rice snacks
  • Crackers
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Donuts
  • Muffins
  • Soft breads
  • Baked desserts
  • Pastries
  • Pizza Dough
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles

Not all foods on this list will contain refined grains. The best way to know is to check the ingredients list underneath the Nutrition Facts Label. If you see that the food contains enriched flour, then the carbohydrates have been refined.

To improve your diet, replace refined grains with whole grains. Choose bread that is made with whole wheat or crackers that have been made with whole grains. You’ll also find some pastas that are manufactured with whole grains.

By replacing your refined carbohydrates with whole grains, you increase your dietary fiber intake. Eating more fiber will help you to feel fuller longer and eat less throughout the day.

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