When ordering pasta at a restaurant, the calories are almost always out of control. A dinner order of fettuccine alfredo at The Olive Garden can rack up 1,220 calories and 1,350 milligrams of sodium (and that’s without the salad and bread sticks). Creamy sauces and mounds of cheese can make any pasta dish less than healthy.
If you suffer from a mild case of carbophobia, listen up! Just because you shun pasta and bread doesn’t mean you’re avoiding the most carb-laden foods in all the land. There are a number of under-the-radar eats that actually pack far more carbs than an entire bowl of penne! Here, we tell you what they are…
Carb count: 50 grams per fruit
If you’re trying to eat low carb, a mango may not the best choice. But if eating a well-rounded, vitamin-filled diet is your goal, reach for this tropical fruit. Just half of one packs an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, a nutrient that wards off fat-storing cortisol spikes. If mangos typically make an appearance in your daily smoothie, add a scoop of protein powders and a handful of raw oats, too. This ups your drink’s protein and fiber content and slows the digestion of the fruit’s sugars, keeping you fuller, longer.
2. Sanwich Wrap
Carb count: 36 grams per wrap
If you typically go with wraps because you think they’re healthier than bread, you’ve got things all wrong. Not only do two slices of Ezekiel bread have about the same number of carbs as a wrap, wraps are far more calorie- and fat-filled than a standard sammy base. The reason: In order for the tortilla to stay flexible manufacturers add fat, often in the form of soybean oil and hydrogenated oils. Yuck! Not sure which bread is the best bet for a flat belly?
3. French Fries
Carb count: 63 grams, per USDA defined restaurant serving
While most people know that potatoes are starchy, French fries are super carb-laden, packing twice as many carbs as a bowl of pasta in a standard family-style serving. (You know, the baskets you’re supposed to share, but don’t.) It gets worse: Vegetable-oil-fried foods like fries contain high levels of something called inflammatory advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are inflammation-causing compounds that form when certain foods are cooked at high temperatures.
Carb count: 35 carbs, per extra large (9″ or longer) fruit
They may be carb-rich, but bananas get the green light in our book. They’re a good source of magnesium, a nutrient that aids protein synthesis, which, in turn, increases lean muscle mass. Magnesium also helps boost lipolysis, the process by which the body releases fat from its stores.
5. Energy Bar
Carb count: 45 grams per bar
Since carbs provide energy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that energy bars are loaded with carbohydrates. That said, you’d be amazed at how many people don’t make the connection. On average, these health food imposters carry up to 45 grams of carbs—and are chock full of sugar and scary chemicals, too. They’re basically a triple threat to your health.