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Obesity and Weight Management

What are Fast Carbs and Slow Carbs?

04/26/2010

Question:

I would like to know what a fast carb or a slow carb is, and maybe list a few?

Answer:

I'm going to have to guess that what you mean by fast carbs are carbohydrates that are quickly absorbed and metabolized by the body and raise blood sugar levels quickly; and slow carbs are carbohydrates that are absorbed slower and consequently are slower at raising blood sugar levels (and usually don't elevate it as high).
 
Fast carbs will be simple sugars (monosaccharides) like glucose and fructose, with disaccharides like sucrose (a glucose and fructose bound together) not far behind.

Sucrose is common table sugar and its many derivatives - brown sugar, powdered sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, molasses and honey.
 
Fruit has a high fructose level, but does not always act like a pure simple sugar. This is because the absorption and metabolism of fructose is slowed by the fiber in the fruit.
 
Desserts and candy are good examples of fast carbs. Slow carbs would include starches and fiber, and foods that consist of a high amount of starch and/or fiber.

Fruits, vegetables, and grains (especially whole grains like oats, brown rice, whole wheat and others) are good sources of slow carbs because they are decent sources of fiber.

 

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University