Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body and are found in processed foods, sugars, starches and fiber. Eaten in moderation and combined with regular exercise, carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. These days, though, people have trouble eating them in moderation and finding time to exercise with regularity. This leads your body to turn those carbohydrates into glucose and fat. As this process repeats day after day, it can lead to obesity and a slew of other health problems.
The potato has been in the cross-hairs of the low-carb revolution. The standard low-carb diet advises you eat fewer than 100 g of carbohydrates per day, though this varies on your size, activity level and gender. A standard large baked potato, before the toppings, has 55 g of carbohydrates. A large order of French fries at McDonald's has 70 g of carbs. And fries are often just side items to the meal itself.
Bread is one of the main sources of carbohydrates, both simple and complex. Sandwiches, burger and hot dog buns, pizza crusts, bagels and any other food products that rely on bread--and, of course, bread itself--should all be eaten in moderation, if at all. While organic, unprocessed wheat breads are much healthier than standard white breads, they should still be initially avoided if you are planning to start a low-carb diet.
Sugar is in most foods but more in some foods than in others. Certain fruits--strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, grapes--that are very sweet are higher in carbohydrates than other fruits. Candies and anything with corn syrup are also high in carbohydrates. The main culprits here are soda and fountain drinks, which some people drink all day, causing their carbohydrate intake to skyrocket. Cake and pastries are sort of a double whammy--you're eating high volumes of sugar and bread at the same time.
Pastas in Italian food have high simple carbohydrate counts. Flour and corn tortillas used in Mexican food have high carbohydrate counts as well. There are certainly Italian and Mexican dishes that have low carbohydrate counts, but you must pay attention to the ingredients in each dish to ensure this.
While dairy is widely considered to be a low-carbohydrate food, some dairy products are actually pretty high in carbohydrates. Most low-fat milks are high in carbs as are nonfat and low-fat yogurts and ice cream. Pay attention to the additions you make to your foods, such as milk on cereal and cream in your coffee.