Definition of Carbohydrates

Organic compound chiefly consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in 1:2:1 ratio.

Examples of Carbohydrates
Glucose, sucrose, lactose, cellulose, starch, glycogen

More About Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrates, proteins, lipids (fats) and nucleotides are major essential biomolecules.
  • Carbohydrates are also called as ?sugar? or ?saccharides?.
  • Generally speaking we use the term ?Carbs? for the carbohydrate content present in food.
  • Chemically they are polyhydroxy aldehydic or ketonic organic compounds.
  • Due to presence of one molecule of water for every carbon atom, they are called carbohydrates.
  • Carbohydrates are major source of energy for plants as well as animals.
  • They are known as hydrates of carbon and their general formula is Cn(H2O)n.
    For example the formula of
    - Glucose is C6H12O6
    - Sucrose is C12H24O6
  • The basic building block of carbohydrates are Carbone, Hydrogen, Oxygen.
  • Carbohydrates are classified as monosaccharide, disaccharide, oligosaccharide and
    polysaccharide depending upon the number of sugar units.
  • On the average, an adult person needs 500g, carbohydrates per day.
  • One gram of carbohydrates yields

Carbohydrates are of two types

a) Simple carbohydrates

- These include the monosaccharide and the disaccharides.
- These are naturally found in Milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables
- Corn syrup, Honey, Brown sugar, Dextrose, Maltose, Concentrated fruit juices are simple carbohydrates used in processed food as food additives.

b) Complex Carbohydrates

- These include the oligosaccharide and polysaccharides.
- Chitin, Cellulose, Starch, Glycogen

Carbohydrates are also classified recently based on the glycemic index number.
The glycemic index number of the food is determines how quickly the blood sugar level is affected after having a particular type of food.

The glycemic index of white rice, white bread, potato are high whereas beans, seeds, barley, oats, vegetables and fruits have low glycemic index.
The best sources of Carbohydrates are Vegetables, Fruits and whole grains.

Functions of Carbohydrates:

  • The main function of Carbohydrate is to provide energy for the proper functioning of the body.
  • It is important for the Oxidation of Fat.
  • Carbohydrates form the only source of energy for the Brain.
  • Fibre rich Carbohydrates help to prevent constipation.