What is a High Carbohydrate Diet?

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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 08 March 2020
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A high carbohydrate diet is a particular pattern of food consumption that places an emphasis on high-energy carbohydrates. An individual may follow such a diet for many different reasons ranging from weight loss to increased energy for athletic purposes. As with most diets aimed at weight loss, there is a significant amount of controversy over the effectiveness of the high carbohydrate diet. There are also countless variations on the diet; some combine a moderate amount of carbohydrates with a few other types of food, while others suggest an almost exclusively carbohydrate-based diet. Some such diets are referred to as "very high-carb diets" because of the extent of suggested carbohydrate intake.

One of the main aspects that makes the high carbohydrate diet appealing to many people is that it does not require one to reduce overall calorie intake. It simply requires one to consume more high carbohydrate foods, such as cereals, rice, and pasta, and fewer fatty, protein or dairy based foods, such as meat and cheese. Unfortunately, it is difficult to verify the benefits of such diets as they are largely dependent on reports from those following the diet. Some healthcare professionals claim that it is impossible to lose significant amounts of weight without reducing calorie intake. Others state that different types of foods, such as fats and carbohydrates, are digested differently, so an individual who gets most of his calories from carbohydrates can, indeed, lose weight.


Different people may have very different metabolisms, so there is no single "best diet." While a high carbohydrate diet may result in weight loss for one person, it could very well cause weight gain in another. A great deal of trial and error may be necessary to find the diet that best suits an individual's metabolism and lifestyle.

A high carbohydrate diet does not strictly need to be used for weight loss. Many people choose to follow a high carbohydrate diet because of the high energy content of carbohydrates. Athletes in particular often find that they have considerably more energy if they consume enough carbohydrates before exercise or other athletic activities. A high carbohydrate diet may not be right for an athlete seeking muscle growth, though, as protein, generally obtained from meat or eggs, is necessary for muscular growth.

The carbohydrates required for a high carbohydrate diet may be obtained from many different sources. Whole wheat or white breads, pastas, oatmeal, and barley are all high in carbohydrates. Some fruits and vegetables such as figs, strawberries, potatoes, and carrots also contain significant amounts of carbohydrates.


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