Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sources of Grain Free Carbs

If you are grain free and struggling to get enough carbs, I hope this might be of use. I've collected information from around the web on the carbohydrate levels of various foods and used that for some calculations that might make it easier to decide what to eat to get enough carbs.

Super tasty potato carbs!

Now, note that I am a lay person only; no medical professional, here, and as such, nothing here should be taken as medical advice on what you should be eating. Also, you may notice on the web that different sources list different levels of carbs, vitamins and so on for the exact same food. This is because they may have been tested at different labs and there are differences depending on variety of the food, ripeness, and other factors. So the nutrients in your food may not quite match what is listed for nutrient levels at a particular site. As a result, the list below is only an estimate, nothing more.

According to the USDA, a good level of carbs a day seems to be around 250 grams daily (45% of an average calorie diet), although at least 130 grams daily seems the minimum needed for good brain health. Below I've listed some grain free carb sources. You'll notice that the amount of each carb source listed tells how much to eat to get 250 grams of carbs from that food alone.

8 cups of cooked starchy veggies  (potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, corn) 1 cup = 30 grams carbs
16 cups of cooked less starchy veggies  (rutabagas, parsnips, squash, beets) 1 cup = 15 grams carbs
25 cups of COOKED non-starchy veggies (spinach, cucumber, pretty much all of rest) 1 cup = 10 grams carbs
50 cups of  RAW non-starchy veggies (spinach, cucumber, pretty much all of rest) 1 cup = 5 grams carbs or less

4 cups of cooked and mashed plantain (ripe has more carbs than unripe) 1 cup = 60 grams carbs
16 servings of fruit (Examples of one serving of fruit would be a small apple, four apricots, 12 cherries, 1 1/4 cup of whole strawberries, two small plums or 1 cup of fresh raspberries) 1 serving = 15 grams carbs, except peaches, which has 15 grams of carbs in 1/2 cup serving.*

8 cups of cooked beans (chickpeas, pinto, kidney, soy bean, etc...)  1 cup = 30 grams carbs

*  When looking at produce to determine whether it counts as a fruit or veggie, if you don't have access to a source of nutritional data, a good rule of thumb seems to be to use the culinary designation rather than the botanical designation. Most produce that is designated as fruit contains higher sugar levels and therefore, has more carbs. There are a few exceptions to the veggie vs. fruit rule, such as avocados, where 1 avocado contains about 12 carbs. Sweeter vegetables will contain a slightly higher level of carbs, like red bell peppers which have about 9 carbs per cup, raw. But usually, a vegetable is going to have a low level of carbs. Even ripe tomatoes, which one might think would have more, contain only around 5 grams of carbs per cup.

Most of us are going to be varying our carb sources, obviously, but it's nice to have an idea of what is giving us more carbs if we really need to get more into our diet.  Oh, and for those who can have dairy, you may want to look into that, as dairy contains some carbohydrates as well.

Some of the resources I used for the above information:

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