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What are complex carbohydrates foods?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The carbohydrates that we consume must be divided into two large vital groups, which must be known to prepare an optimal diet for health. This depends on the molecular structure of the carbohydrate.

The first group is simple carbohydrates, which are much easier to break down and turn into glucose for energy. The second of these are complex carbohydrates that take much longer to break down as they contain much longer sugar chains. If you are considering dieting, you should consider the type of carbohydrate you are going to consume. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will talk about complex carbohydrate foods and provide you with a complete list.

What are complex carbohydrates?

One of the groups of carbohydrates is known as complex carbohydrates; these have a much larger sugar chain than simple ones, thereby achieving a much longer feeling of fullness. Breaking down into glucose is much slower. Therefore it is not stored as fat or energy reserve.

Foods with complex carbohydrates provide everything necessary for humans, both vitamins and minerals, so the idea is to consume much more complex carbohydrates than simple ones. These foods provide all the required energy intake efficiently. But what are complex carbohydrate foods? Here is a complete list so you can identify them.

Complex and simple carbohydrates: differences

The more natural and whole food is, the more likely it is to be included in the list of complex carbohydrates.

In children older than two years, a healthy diet that provides between 50% and 60% of calories from carbohydrates from good food sources is recommended, limiting added sugar. KidsHealth states this from Nemours [1].

Complex carbohydrates differ from simple ones since they have a structure of 3 or more sugars joined together to form a chain. Instead, the simple ones have a chemical structure of 1 or more sugars, defined in the medical field as monosaccharides or disaccharides.

On the other hand, complex carbohydrates take much longer to digest. Therefore they are beneficial for people suffering from diabetes mellitus. The absorption of this type of food does not increase the blood sugar level as does the consumption of simple carbohydrates that, once the sugar is digested, if the energy is not used, it is stored as fat deposits.

Thus, complex carbohydrates are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins; after consumption, they provide a good amount of energy for an extended period.

If you want to obtain all the properties of foods with complex carbohydrates, prepare a daily diet to get better benefits. In case of doubts, the visit to the nutritionist will be pertinent and necessary.

In the following article, you can learn about what simple carbohydrates are.

List and examples of foods with complex carbohydrates: the 36 most popular


The first food group to top this complex carbohydrate list is grains, highlighting those that have not been processed and still have their essential nutrients.

  • Quinoa
  • Corn in grains
  • Barley
  • Integral rice
  • Avena
  • Wheat germ

The good thing about rice or pasta made from whole grains is that it allows you to take much better advantage of the fiber, slowing down the absorption of food and, therefore, the transformation of carbohydrates into glucose.

Whole wheat flour

Coming from whole grains, this group includes:

  • Cornmeal
  • Oatmeal
  • Bran or bran
  • Wheat flour
  • Sorghum


Included in this list of legumes with slow-absorbing complex carbohydrates are:

  • Green peas
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Jewish
  • Broad beans
  • Alfalfa
  • Soy
  • Broad beans


The essential characteristic of this group is its high starch content; they are also considered polysaccharides, that is, they are made up of several sugar molecules:

  • Papa
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Yucca
  • Ozumo
  • Ñame


For the most part, the vegetables known as complex carbohydrates are rich in calcium and with a lower caloric intake, ideal for all those who need to eat a balanced diet but with a good energy supply:

  • Chard
  • Leek
  • Spinach
  • Artichoke
  • Purslane
  • Coles
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Peppers
  • Vanitas

Other examples of foods with complex carbohydrates


Fruits are often believed to be simple carbohydrate foods, but the exception to this group is fruits such as:

  • Bananas
  • Money
  • Avocado
  • FIG
  • Radishes
  • Plum
  • Pomelo

Nuts and seeds

In this group, only nuts that have not been processed can be mentioned as:

  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Raisins
  • Pistachios
  • Lino
  • Mustard

Vegetables and vegetables

  • Carrot
  • Eggplant
  • Cucumber
  • Onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Berro
  • Arugula
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro

Dairy products

In some cases, dairy also has complex carbohydrates such as:

  • Yogurt
  • Skimmed milk

The rest of the dairy products are monosaccharides, simple carbohydrates.


Within this group, they are known as polysaccharides:

  • oysters
  • Mussels

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Foods with complex carbohydrates: a complete list, we recommend that you enter our Food category.



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