Carbohydrates: Chemical Breakdown

Now it’s time for the Carbohydrate Breakdown: 

According to their chemical composition: From Simple to Complex.

This doesn’t have to be so confusing. Think simple means that you’re body doesn’t have to work to break them down. This would normally be a good thing, less stress on the body, however that is not the case when it comes to carbs. Simple carbs spike your blood sugar, meaning that your cells absorb the sugar immediately and begin transporting it to the blood, and while sugar does belong in the blood, it does not need to be there in such high quantities. For example, if you give a child a candy that is very high in sugar you may see them start bouncing off the walls and acting crazy. This is not their fault. This is the product of too much sugar entering their bloodstream at one time. The other problem is that often these sugar spikes are found in non-nutritive food, meaning that the primary constituent of the food is sugar. Complex carbohydrates are starchy vegetables and grains.

  1. Monosaccharides – Simple Sugars. They are the building blocks of more complex carbohydrates such as disaccharides and polysaccharides. Examples of monosaccharides include glucose (dextrose), fructose (levulose) and galactose. Molasses has a high content of the monosaccharide glucose. Cherries contain fructose, and yogurt galactose.
  2. Disaccharides – Three common examples are sucrose, lactose,[2] and maltose.
  • Lactose does not occur freely in nature but is produced from the breakdown of milk sugar.
  • Sucrose is formed when glucose and fructose bond together, otherwise known as ordinary table sugar. It is found mainly in sugar cane, sugar beets, maple syrup, and maple sugar.
  • Maltose is harder to find in natural foods. It is a molecule formed by a very specific bonding of two glucose molecules. It is commonly associated with anything containing malt, the fermentation process of bread and cooked sweet potatoes.

Image result for sugar, honey, agave, fructose glucose

     3. Polysaccharides- Complex Sugars. Polysaccharides are a bit more complicated than the two saccharides above, but to keep things simple they are starch, glycogen, cellulose, chitin, and pectin. Starches are insoluble in water but can be digested. Common examples are Potatoes, rice, wheat, and corn.

     4. Fiber is also a type of carbohydrate but with a different chemical make-up and is only found in plant foods. Humans do not have the enzymes necessary to break down this type of carbohydrate. Therefore it is not digested and provides no calories or energy. There are two kinds of fiber:

Soluble fibre is found in beans, peas, lentils, oats, and barley. Some fruits and vegetables also have soluble fibre, such as apples, carrots, plums and squash. Eating foods with soluble fibre may help to lower blood cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease. These foods may also help lower blood sugar levels, which is important if you have diabetes.

Insoluble fibre is found in foods like wheat bran, whole grains and all vegetables and fruits. It is often called roughage or bulk because it keeps the digestive system running smoothly. This helps with constipation, hemorrhoids, and other digestive problems. It may help to prevent some types of cancer.

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