Carbohydrate Information for Parsnips

Garden parsnips
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The Paleo, Atkins, and ancestral diets are some of the most popular and successful eating plans available. Many people have successfully lost weight and kept it off by adhering to one of these diets, which all focus on reducing or eliminating carbohydrates.

While carbs aren't all bad, many people eat too many of them—and, in particular, the least healthy ones. Carbs generally fall into one of three main categories: sugar, starch, or fiber. Fiber and starch are complex carbs made of numerous units of sugar bonded together. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes fall into these two categories. Sugar, however, is a simple carbohydrate that occurs naturally in fruit and milk, but can also be added to foods in the form of sucrose.

Your Daily Intake of Carbohydrates

The Food and Drug Administration recommends that carbs comprise between 45 and 65 percent of total daily calorie intake. However, the trick to incorporating carbs into a healthy diet is knowing which to choose—and which to avoid. The key to losing weight and improving health using a low-carb approach is to limit your intake of foods containing added sugars as well as refined grains, such as sugary drinks and desserts. These foods are loaded with calories but have very little nutritional benefit.

Fruits and Vegetables

Some low-carb diets restrict consumption of fruits and vegetables, but there is no definitive evidence that these types of carbs lead to weight gain or any of the health risks associated with obesity. In fact, fruits and vegetables can be helpful in losing or maintaining weight since their fiber content helps you feel full. However, some fruits and vegetables have higher carbohydrate content than others, and choosing wisely can help you stay on track.

Nutritional Information

Parsnips are a root vegetable related to the carrot. However, they have more than twice the carbohydrate of carrots, and the glycemic index of parsnips is higher than almost any other food—almost as high as glucose. However, parsnips are a very good source of fiber and vitamin C as well as manganese, folate, and potassium.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts

  • 1 medium parsnip, (9" long; and about 5.5 oz.) cooked: 21 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 6 grams fiber and 114 calories
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw parsnips: 9 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 3 grams fiber and 50 calories
  • 1/4 lb (4 oz) raw parsnips: 15 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 6 grams fiber and 84 calories

Glycemic Index

One study of the glycemic index of parsnips produced an average score of 97 (glucose is 100).

Glycemic Load

  • 1 medium parsnip (9" long; and about 5.5 oz.), cooked: 10
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw parsnips: 5
  • 1/4 lb (4 oz) raw parsnips: 7
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Article Sources
  • USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21.