9 High Refined Carbs Foods You Should Avoid At All Costs

We’ve all been there before. You go out for weekend dinner, and you order the pasta or pizza because you’re craving it. Then you realize, days later, that you were so bloated afterwards.

Carbs or carbohydrates are known to cause bloat and weight gain and can even lead to more serious health problems like diabetes if eaten in excess.

While it’s true that we need carbohydrates for energy, not all carbohydrates are created equal. There are some high refined carbs or, say, bad carbs out there that are not healthy for you.

So to make you aware, I’ve listed the 9 most common high refined carbs foods that you should avoid at all costs.

But first, let’s understand what refined carbs are.

Also read: 12 Healthiest High Carb Foods In India To Include In Your Diet

What are refined carbs foods?

Just as there are good and bad fats, there are also good and bad carbs.

Good carbs are also known as complex carbs and are found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

On the other hand, bad carbs, often known as refined carbs, are usually found in processed food such as white bread, pasta and pastries.

The refined carbs are further divided into two main types:

  • Refined Sugars: Refined and processed sugars, such as table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup(HFCS).
  • Refined grains: Refined grains include white flour, white rice and white bread.

In simple words, refined carbs are carbohydrates that have had most of their nutrients removed in the refining process, leaving a low-nutrient product. This type of carbohydrate is quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to a spike in blood sugar levels.

Over time, eating high refined carbs foods can lead to weight gain, increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, lung cancer and other chronic diseases.

9 High Refined Carbs Food To Avoid

Bad carbs or refined carbs

White bread

White bread is one of the most common types of bread that you need to avoid at all costs. It is made from wheat flour from which bran(fiber-filled out layer) and germ(nutrient-packed outer layer) have been removed.

During this process, most of the wheat’s nutrients and fibre are also removed. As a result, white bread is low in nutrients and high in refined carbs.

White bread is also high in glycemic index, which is why people with diabetes often avoid it.

It’s been more than a year since I’ve completely stopped eating white bread.

Healthy alternative: Bread made entirely of whole wheat, or whole grain contains no refined carbohydrates and can be a healthier alternative to white bread.

Also read: Which One Is Better? A Comparison Of Brown Bread Vs White Bread

White pasta

There are many different types of pasta, but the most common and the unhealthiest one is white pasta.

White pasta is made up of refined carbohydrates, which means it’s been stripped of many nutrients during its processing.

It is naturally low in fiber and other essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals. However, these nutrients are added to it during processing to make it nutritious, but still, it’s one of those foods you should avoid.

As per studies eating too much white pasta increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Healthy alternative: Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta contains more fibre and B-complex vitamins than white pasta, making it a healthier alternative.


Most bakery products are harmful since they are made with refined sugar and processed white flour(refined grain). They also contain a lot of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and trans fats, which have all been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Pasties are highly processed foods heavy in refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats that can contribute to a variety of chronic diseases when consumed in large amounts.

Other bakery products such as cake and buns are also made using refined carbs and should be avoided.

Healthy alternative: If you are craving something sweet, instead of opting for pastries, you can eat yoghurt or fresh fruits. You can also opt for pastries made from whole wheat flour with little to no added sugar or preservatives.

White rice

White rice is one of the most consumed grains around the globe.

Just like white bread and pasta, white rice is also high in refined carbohydrates. That means that the most widely consumed grain is stripped of essential nutrients and has little to no nutrition value.

However, to make it nutritious, manufacturers add nutrients to it. But If you have diabetes or are on a weight loss goal, it’s recommended that you avoid eating white rice and go with the other healthier alternatives.

Healthy alternative: Brown rice is a great alternative to white rice. It is high in fiber and contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, and selenium. It also has a nutty flavour that many people enjoy.


Despite being highly processed and full of refined carbs and unhealthy ingredients, the pizza market is a multi-billion dollar industry. No doubt that people are addicted to it.

However, these people might not know that pizza falls into the category of most unhealthy foods they can eat.

Although the nutrient content of different pizzas can vary, they are typically made using refined wheat flour, which has been linked to weight gain and other chronic diseases.

Healthy alternative: Choose pizza prepared with wheat flour with healthy toppings such as vegetables. Also, you can prepare your own pizza at home, which gives your more control over what ingredient goes into your pizza.

Breakfast cereals

Breakfast cereals are often marketed as healthy breakfast choices, but you might be surprised to know that more than 90% of the breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar and refined carbs.

These breakfast cereals might contain a good amount of fiber and protein, but they are highly processed and loaded with artificial sweeteners, making these nutrients not as healthy as they used to be.

Healthy alternative:  Oatmeal is a more nutritious alternative to many breakfast cereals. There are many benefits to eating oatmeal, such as providing antioxidants, promoting beneficial bacteria in your gut and lowering your chance of colon cancer.


Beverages like soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and sodas are loaded with refined sugar.

Refined sugars are sugars that have been processed and purified from natural sources, like sugar cane or sugar beets. This process strips the sugar of all its nutrients and fiber, leaving a highly processed and refined product void of any nutritional value.

The refining process also damages the sugar molecule, making it difficult for the body to break down and use. As a result, refined sugars are quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, where they can cause harmful metabolic effects.

As per studies, consuming these drinks in excess amounts can lead to various conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it’s a good idea to avoid these drinks as much as possible.

Healthy alternative: There are many healthier alternatives you can go with, such as Kombucha, iced tea and fruit and vegetable juices without sugar. For sugar alternatives, you can use stevia, dates or honey.

Snack foods

Snack foods such as candy, cookies and chips are typically made from refined carbs.

These snack foods have little nutritional value and are often high in saturated fats and sodium.

Eating too much of these snacks have been linked to an increased risk of weight and developing chronic health issues.

Healthy alternative: If you really love snacking you can prepare your own healthy snack at home like apple chips, mixed nuts, and kale chips. These have natural sugar and are more nutritious.


Muffins are nothing more than sugar bombs.

Most of the muffins that you bought from the store are packed with sugar and refined carbs making them unhealthy for you. They provide almost no nutritional value and are nothing more than empty calories.

Some muffins, according to Harvard researchers, have a high sodium content of 350-400 mg. Little amount of sodium is important for your but too much of it in your diet can put strain on your heart, leading to heart failure and stroke.

Final words

I know that it’s very hard to get away from these foods as some may be very common in your diet. However, It’s important to understand that these foods are not healthy for you.

The listed above are some of the high refined carbs foods that you should avoid at all costs, as they can have a negative impact on your health. Instead, make sure to include complex or good carbohydrates in your daily diet.

I hope this information has been helpful! If you’re looking for more ways to improve your diet and eating habits, subscribe to the newsletter.

Here are a few other posts that may help you to improve your diet:

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I'm Yatender, and I am the founder of Investohealth – a place where you can find honest and informative reviews of packaged food products. I'm super passionate about healthy eating and sharing my knowledge to help people make informed choices about food products.

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