12 Sources of Hidden Carbohydrates

Hidden Carbs Main

Foods contain three basic nutrients: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Weight loss diets often avoid and limit the carb intake, yet carbs are not always easy to spot. Below are 12 sneaky sources of carbohydrates you might not know about “hidden carbs”.

Processed meat

Some processed meat, like sausages and burgers, can use flour and breadcrumbs as binding agents, which can add undesirable carbs to your diet. Always check the ingredients and opt for high meat content options. 

Sugar-Free Foods

Dieting or good health concept. Young woman rejecting Junk food or unhealthy food such as donut or dessert and choosing healthy food such as fresh fruit or vegetable.

Sugar-free does not always mean low carb. Sugar there is often replaced by sugar alcohols, like Malitol, with a very high glycemic index. 

Sauces and condiments 

To boost flavor and consistency, many sauces and condiments add loads of sugar and flour. For example, a single tablespoon of ketchup contains about 5g of carbs. This may not be detrimental if you only consume a single teaspoon; the trick with sauces and condiments is that you always reach in for more. Examples of condiments that contain hidden carbs include ketchup, barbecue sauce, sriracha sauce, teriyaki sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Always check the labels or try making a low-carb version at home to ensure that you don’t get more carbs than you bargained for.

Milk and Milk Substitutes 

The lactose in milk makes it a source of carbs. Milk alternatives do not contain lactose but can have added sugars to them. The ones made from starchy foods like rice and oats are also sources of carbs.  

Salad dressing

Store-bought salad dressings are notorious for having extra sugar; these especially tricky because you never expect carbs in your salad. Opt for homemade dressings and always check the labels of the store-bought ones.

Protein bars

High protein does not necessarily mean low in carbs. Many bars, especially those aimed at athletes who need extra energy, have plenty of carbs and protein.


Protein-rich beans fall in the same category as beef, chicken, and eggs on the food pyramid, which tricks people into thinking they’re low-carb. 100g of beans carry around of 63g of carbs

Peanut butter

Processed peanut butter can contain hydrogenated oils and loads of sugar. Always check the label. 


An ear of corn has about 17 grams of carbs, and a third of a cup contains around 41 grams.

Root vegetables

Most people think of veggies as carb-free. But like corn, starchy root vegetables are an exception. Some of these starchy veggies include potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, and sweet potatoes. 


Cough medicines and supplements can also be rich in carbohydrates. Cough medicines contain high amounts of sugar and some vitamins and supplements may contain some carbs if they’re flavored, coated, or chewable.


Nuts are densely nutritious, but that doesn’t always mean that they’re low-carb. Some nuts like pistachios, peanuts, cashews, and chestnuts are relatively high in carb. 

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