Nutrition Foundation

Refined carbohydrate


Refined carbohydrates are starchy foods that have been processed leading to removal of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They may also have been milled or broken up. Examples include flour and flour-based products, white rice, and many breakfast cereals.

When refined carbohydrates are eaten the starch content is rapidly broken down to glucose sugar which then surges into the blood. The effect of eating refined carbohydrate is very similar to eating pure glucose sugar.

To improve health consider

  • Whenever possible ensure carbohydrates are non-refined. For example, having wholegrain rice instead of white rice.
  • If refined carbohydrates are eaten, eat a smaller amount.
  • Minimise meals that solely consist of refined carbohydrate (e.g. breakfast cereals, toast and jam, crackers and biscuits)


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