Technically, all vegetables contain carbohydrates and can considered "carbs." However, some vegetables have more carbohydrates in them than others. If you're conscious of your carbohydrate intake, be aware of not only how many carbs your vegetables contain, but also what kind of carbohydrates they provide.
Carbohydrates, fat and protein are the three main sources of calories, known as macronutrients. After you eat carbohydrates, your body transforms them into glucose, a sugar your body uses as an energy source. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult should get between 45 and 65 percent of her daily caloric intake from carbohydrates.
Starchy and Nonstarchy Vegetables
Vegetables are separable into two main groups: starchy and nonstarchy. The distinction is important because even though all vegetables contain carbohydrates, the starchy ones generally contain significantly more than the nonstarchy ones. Starchy vegetables include foods such as potatoes, corn, peas, winter squash and lima beans. Nonstarchy vegetables include greens, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers and cucumbers.
Out of all the common vegetables, potatoes and sweet potatoes contain the highest amounts of carbohydrates. One medium potato has 26 grams of carbohydrates and one medium sweet potato has 23 grams, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sweet corn, a starchy vegetable, has about 18 grams of carbohydrates in a single medium-sized ear. Vegetables with low amounts of carbohydrates include cucumbers, green onions and lettuce, each with 2 grams; summer squash and asparagus, with 4 grams each; and cauliflower, with 5 grams.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our bodies cannot digest but that is still important for our health. The CDC recommends that the average adult who eats a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet take in about 28 grams of fiber per day. Like carbohydrates, different vegetables contain different amounts of fiber. A cup of black beans contains 15 grams of fiber, while a baked potato contains 2.9 grams.
- Virginia Cooperative Extension; Eat Well, Age Well: Smart Carbohydrate Choices; Stephanie K. Goodwin; August 2011rel="nofollow"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Carbohydratesrel="nofollow"
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Raw Vegetables Posterrel="nofollow"
- MayoClinic.com; High-fiber Foods; November 2009rel="nofollow"
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.