What Are Refined Carbs & Are They Bad for Your Health?


Refined Carbs can also be referred to as Refined Carbohydrates. As we may know carbohydrates provide the body with energy but keep in mind that not all carbohydrates are the same.

Refined Carbs
Refined Carbs

They do not provide lasting energy to the human body. And eating it too much may cause health problems. Carbs are an essential part of a balanced diet, and unprocessed carbs contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Read this guide to learn more about such carbs.

Refined Carbs

Some of the carbohydrates we eat are processed either by the providing company or by ourselves. And processing them removes the necessary nutrients thereby resulting in refined carbohydrates which people might refer to as empty carbs or empty calories.

Carbs consist of:

  • Sugar: Fruits, milk, ultra-processed foods like sodas and flavored candy bars, and sugars.
  • Starches: Grains, legumes, and vegetables.
  • Fiber: Digestive system cannot break down dietary fiber, which is contained in fruits, vegetables, and other foods.

The human body easily digests refined carbohydrates quickly, and they provide a source of energy. Though, they can cause a quick rise in blood sugar and cause the pancreas to release insulin.

What Are Refined Carbs

Refined Carbs are found in food that has been processed heavily to remove a lot of other nutrients they normally carry. Some of these foods include white flour, added sugars and sweeteners, and other refined ingredients.

How Refined Carbs Affect Health?

The body uses refined carbs more quickly than it uses unrefined carbs. This means refined carbs create a short burst of energy, while unrefined carbs release energy slowly in a day. As soon as a short burst of energy is over, you may need to eat more food to gain more energy. And it may result in consumption of a high number of calories leading to weight gain.

Having overweight can increase the risk of health issues like:

  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • stroke
  • hypertension
  • asthma
  • chronic back pain
  • osteoarthritis

Refined Carbohydrates don’t have as much nutrition as unrefined carbohydrates. They lack fiber which is essential for digestive health and keeping the blood sugar stable.

What is an example of a refined carb?

They are present in two main foodstuffs which are refined grains and refined sugars. Milling grain removes the bran and germ. And it improves the shelf life of the grain and gives it a finer texture. Some examples include:

  • bread and tortillas containing white flour
  • bagels
  • waffles and pastries
  • breakfast cereals
  • white rice
  • pizza

Some people will find refined sugars in a wide range of sweet and savory foods like:

  • flavored yogurt
  • cakes
  • soda, fruit juice, and smoothies
  • pasta sauce
  • condiments like ketchup or BBQ sauce
  • granola


What Are Refined Carbs to Avoid

There are quite some ways one can avoid refined carbs. You can make healthy decisions like eating fruit if you want something sweet and opting to eat brown rice or whole-grain rather than white rice or bread.

It is also advisable to avoid adding sugar to food as it does not boost any nutritional value. When shopping for food, you should check on labels as there are different names for refined sugars:

  • syrup
  • molasses
  • sweetener
  • fructose
  • sucrose
  • maltose
  • dextrose

That’s it.


They don’t provide long-lasting energy, and they also miss important nutrients. Eating much-refined carbs can lead to weight gain and health issues. Gradually, reducing the number of refined carbohydrate in diet can benefit overall well-being. People can avoid refined carbs by checking on food labels. A portion of healthy food should include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and unprocessed foods.


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