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Carbohydrates Study Guide

Carbohydrates are macronutrients found in certain foods and drinks that make our bodies healthy. It comprises carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Carbohydrates are consumed for building macromolecules and for providing and storing energy.

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Introduction

  • Carbohydrates are macronutrients found in certain foods and drinks that make our bodies healthy. It is an essential part of the primary food intake to constitute a balanced diet.

  • Carbohydrates, commonly known as carbs, are among the three primary nutrients our body needs, along with proteins and fats.

  • Carbohydrates are further broken down into glucose by our bodies. Glucose or blood sugar serves as the source that supplies energy to the primary components of our organic system like tissues, cells, and organs.

  • The carbohydrates also consist of soluble and insoluble elements. Sugar, starch, and fiber fall under the category of simple carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate Structure

  • Carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms.
  • They are organic compounds organized in the form of aldehydes or ketones, with several hydroxyl groups coming off the carbon chain.
  • This structure consists of simple sugars called Monosaccharides. A monosaccharide can be a polyhydroxy aldehyde or polyhydroxy ketone.
  • The commonly accepted Carbohydrates structure is (CH2O)n.

The carbohydrates structure can be written in the following ways:

  1. Open-chain structure
  2. Hemiacetal structure
  3. Haworth structure

Carbohydrate structure Source: Carbohydrates structure

Categories of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are polymers made up of monomers of carbohydrates called a monosaccharide.

  • Monosaccharide

Monosaccharides are the simplest sugar components or carbohydrates. Saccharides refer to sugar, and mono relates to number one. There are usually 3 to 7 carbons in a monosaccharide. A Monosaccharide can be a polyhydroxy aldehyde or polyhydroxy ketone. If sugar possesses an aldehyde group (R-CHO), it is known as aldose. If sugar includes the ketone group, It is called ketose. Monosaccharides are solids at room temperature, and most of them are sweet. Glucose and fructose are the typical monomers of carbohydrates.

  • Disaccharides

These are a little bigger than monosaccharides. They are formed when two monosaccharides or sugars react. Examples of disaccharides include lactose, maltose, and sucrose.

  • Polysaccharides

These are the biggest of the carbohydrates category. Several chain reactions of Monosaccharides form them. Examples of polysaccharides are starch, glycogen, and cellulose.

What are Simple and Complex Carbohydrates?

Simple carbohydrates can be broken down very quickly to be used as an energy source. Some cereals and beverage products are some examples of simple carbohydrates. They provide immediate energy to the body, which does not last long.

Complex carbohydrates consist of sugar molecules that are in lengthy and complex chains. They are present in peas, cereals, starch, whole grains, and vegetables. They provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Simple and complex carbohydrates are consumed by our bodies as sources of energy. For example, glucose is used in our body cells., and unused glucose is stored in the muscles and liver. They are slowly digested, resulting in long-term energy.

Classification-of-carbohydrates Source

What are the Functions of Carbohydrates?

The carbohydrate functions include:

  1. Energy to fuel cellular reactions
  2. Chief energy source of the body
  3. Energy storage as glycogen in animals and starch in plants
  4. Present in the cell wall of plants and microorganisms and offers protection
  5. Helps in fats and protein biosynthesis
  6. Prevents constipation due to the presence of fiber-rich content
  7. Involved in the formation of the structure of RNA and DNA formation
  8. Helps in the nerve tissue regulation
  9. Form surface antigens when associated with lipids and proteins
  10. Essential component of connective tissues in animals

General examples of carbohydrate foods:

  • Bread
  • Cereals
  • Pasta/grains
  • Vegetables (Beans)
  • Fruits (Apple, Orange, and Pear, etc.)
  • Milk/yogurt

complex and simple carbs Source

Examples of carbohydrates in sugar, starch, and fiber:

Sugar: Fruits, milk, and other dairy products

Starch: Dried beans (lentil and kidney beans), potatoes, corn, peas, grains like oats, rice, and wheat

Fiber: Whole-grain foods (bread, cereal, and pasta), nuts (peanuts, walnuts, and almonds)

Conclusion

  • Intake of carbohydrates regularly helps in our body's smooth and effective functioning.
  • It is an essential part of our primary food intake resulting in a healthy and balanced diet.
  • It can reduce blood sugar levels and help lower insulin resistance, promoting healthy weight loss if needed.

Complex and simple carbohydrates Source

FAQs:

1. What are carbohydrates foods?

Foods rich in starch, fiber, and sugar are called carbohydrate foods.

2. What are examples of carbohydrates?

Examples of simple carbohydrates are butter, cream, honey, yogurt, etc. Examples of complex carbohydrates are wheat, corn, root vegetables, yeast, pasta, etc.

3. What is carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are a macronutrient found in certain foods and drinks that make our body healthy. Sugar, starch, and fiber are carbohydrates.

4. Which foods consist of carbohydrates?

  • Grains like cereals and rice, fruits like apples and bananas
  • Dairy products like milk and yogurt consist of carbohydrates
  • Legumes like lentils and peas
  • Snack foods like cookies and cakes, sodas and fruit drinks
  • Vegetables like potatoes and corn are also sources of carbohydrates

5. What are the five types of carbohydrates?

  1. Monosaccharides.
  2. Disaccharides.
  3. Oligosaccharides.
  4. Polysaccharides.
  5. Nucleotides

6. What is a good carbohydrate?

Good carbohydrate is rich in nutrients, moderate in calories, low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats. Examples include fruits and beans.

7. What are carbohydrates and their importance?

The intake of carbohydrates regularly helps in our body's smooth and effective functioning. It can reduce blood sugar levels and aid in insulin resistance, promoting healthy weight loss if needed.

8. What are the four main functions of carbohydrates?

  1. Energy to fuel cellular reactions
  2. Chief energy source
  3. Energy storage as glycogen in animals and starch in plants
  4. Present in the cell wall of plants and microorganisms and offers protection

9. What are five facts about carbohydrates?

  • Fibrous carbohydrates are found in fresh vegetables like pumpkin, carrot, broccoli, etc.
  • Consuming too many carbohydrates may lead to obesity and malnutrition
  • An adequate amount of carbohydrates should be included in a diet since the human body cannot produce them.
  • They are a source of great energy.
  • Processed foods like cookies, pastries, etc., are usually high in simple carbohydrates.

10. What do carbs serve the human body?

Carbohydrates, commonly known as carbs, are among the three primary nutrients our body needs, along with proteins and Fats. Carbohydrates are further broken down into glucose by our bodies. It supplies energy to tissues, cells, and organs.

11. What are the uses of carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are used for building macromolecules and for providing and storing energy.

We hope you enjoyed studying this lesson and learned something cool and informative about Carbohydrates! Join our Discord community to get any questions you may have answered and to engage with other students just like you! Don't forget to download our App to experience our fun VR classrooms - we promise, it makes studying much more fun 😎

Sources:

  1. Simple Carbohydrates vs. Complex Carbohydrates. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/simple-carbohydrates-complex-carbohydrates. Accessed Nov 23, 2021.
  2. Carbohydrates. https://medlineplus.gov/carbohydrates.html. Accessed Nov 23, 2021.
  3. Carbohydrates. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/. Accessed Nov 24, 2021.
  4. Carbohydrates: How carbs fit into a healthy diet. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/carbohydrates/art-20045705. Accessed Nov 24, 2021.