Carbohydrates refer to all the naturally occurring substances in animals and plants. Carbohydrates are essential molecules of all the living things being plants or animals. They are composed of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen in different proportions.

Oxygen and carbon are united in a ratio of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, which is the ratio of the water molecule –H2O.

Therefore, all carbohydrates have the elemental composition of one carbon, one oxygen, and two hydrogen atoms. The carbon atom is hydrated by linking it to the water molecule.

Water and carbon are released when carbohydrates undergo digestion and metabolism processes. Saccharide is the scientific name for sugars. Saccharide confers more information about carbohydrates.

Classes of carbohydrates

There are three types of saccharides namely monosaccharide, polysaccharides, and disaccharides- simple kghogoytdysugars, starch, and double sugars. Examples of monosaccharide are glucose and fructose.

Disaccharides include lactose and sucrose. Disaccharides are made by combining several molecules of monosaccharide.

When you combine more than two monosaccharides polysaccharides, molecules are formed. These are chains of many sugars. Examples of polysaccharides are starch and glycogen.

Role of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are essential elements for all living things. Glucose is the primary energy molecule for living organisms. It provides the required energy for all the biological processes. Some saccharides like double and multiple sugar molecules are not sources of instant energy.

They must be broken down first to the basic monosaccharide like glucose and fructose. However, fructose which exists as a single sugar does not provide instant energy for living things. After it is absorbed it is transported to the liver where it is converted into essential fat molecules. Part of the converted fat is used by the liver cells while the rest is converted into storage fat.

Both starch and glycogen molecules are the storage units of glucose. They are broken down when the glucose level goes down or during fasting periods.

Starch and glycogen are not absorbed when they are consumed. They are first broken down to glucose molecules in the intestines and stomach by the various digestive enzymes. The glucose produced is then ready for absorption.

Carbohydrates as food

Sugar as food refers to any food rich in fructose, glubjguigiglcose, and starch. Simple carbohydrates are jams, sugar, juices, jellies, syrups, and candies. Complex carbohydrates include bread, pasta, whole fruits, whole vegetables and whole grains.


Simple carbohydrates are metabolized rapidly into glucose and can cause a surge in the blood glucose. Complex carbohydrates are metabolized slowly and are less likely to cause any side in the blood glucose when eaten.

This calls for a personal effort and care in differentiating the various types of carbohydrates which are critical when it comes to the management of your diabetic condition.

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