The carbohydrates are the simple sugars and substances through hydrolysis can become sugars. They are composed mainly of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and are the main source of energy for living things, but also part of the building material of cells. One gram of carbohydrate produces 4 calories the body. The function is performed by energizing fats and carbohydrates, which provide energy to oxidize us to make all the movements and functions of our body so they are called “power foods”


Carbohydrates are classified according to the complexity of the molecule:

  • Monosaccharides or simple sugars. You can get as bright crystals and water soluble. Many of them have sweet taste. The most important representative of this group is glucose.
  • Oligosaccharides. Are constituted by the union of two to ten monosaccharides. Designated as disaccharides, trisaccharides, etc. According to the number of monosaccharide units that compose them.
  • Polysaccharides. Large molecules, composed by the union of several monosaccharides that are arranged in long linear chains or branched. Polysaccharides are generally amorphous compounds, insoluble in water and tasteless.


Generally simple sugars called his name adding the suffix “ose”. When have aldehyde function, the monosaccharides are called aldoses, if you are called ketoses ketone function. You can also designate them as triose, earthy, pentoses, etc.. according to the number of carbons possessing its molecule. Often usually combined in the name indicate the number of carbons and function. Thus, a sugar is an aldohexose having an aldehyde function and six carbons, a ketopentose has a ketone function and five carbons.

  • Glucose. It is the most abundant and most important physiologically monosaccharides. It is the main fuel used by cells. He is free in mature fruits also in blood and body fluids of vertebrates. Glucose has the molecular formula C6 H12 O6. By having six carbon atoms, called glucose hexose.
  • Fructose. That is also called levulose. This is free in fruits and honey. Has higher sweetening power than glucose. Thus combined with sucrose or sugar cane.
  • Galactose. Glucose differs from the orientation of a hydrogen atom and a hydroxyl aldehyde group to one of the carbons. In fructose involved in only five ring formation. As the three mentioned substances are termed isomers. Is less sweet than glucose is present in milk and yogurt.
  • Deox-sugars. Are derived from monosaccharides by loss of oxygen from one of the alcohol groups. The more abundant in nature is the deoxyribose, which is a derivative of great importance because it is involved in the formation of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)


  • Sucrose. Is table sugar, is considered to be pure carbon compound commercially cheaper. It is formed in plants by separating the elements of water from hydroxyl groups glucose and fructose.
  • Lactose. It is free in the milk of mammals, with a concentration of about 5 grams per hundred milliliters of milk, is a unique product of the mammary gland and not in other parts of plants or animal body.
  • Maltose. The germinating cereal grains have a high content of amylases to break down the starch into dextrins and maltose, malt preparing germinating barley is an excellent source of maltose. (Also decompose starch into maltose by amylase present in the human saliva and pancreatic secretion in man and all animals.) maltose is somewhat sweet, very soluble in water and is formed by bonding glucose with glucose.


Are made up of many monosaccharide units together by glycosidic bonds. Some of these are polymers of one type of monosaccharide and are called homopolysaccharides, while others have more than one type of monosaccharide and heteropolysaccharides are called.

  • Homopolysaccharides. They are called by adding the suffix name anus constituent monosaccharides. For example glucose, glucose will consist glucosanos or glucan. The size of the molecule of these polymers is not constant like proteins, which have a defined number of units. Molecular weights of the glycans vary within wide limits constantly being produced as addiction or separation of monosaccharides that comprise for example:
    • Amylose. Which is constituted by 1,000 to 5,000 units of D-glucose, which are associated together by glycosidic bonds forming long chains.
    • Starch. This substance fulfills the role of energy reserve in plants, is deposited in the cells forming granules. Starch is the main carbohydrate in the human diet and are found in abundance in cereals, potatoes and some vegetables.
    • Cellulose. It has the structural function in plant cell walls forming. The wood pulp contains a high percentage of cellulose and cotton is almost pure cellulose. It polysaccharide is the most abundant organic compound in nature, consists of more than 10.00 glucose units.
    • Chitin. Is a homopolysaccharide very abundant in nature, since it is the exoskeleton of arthropods such as insects and crustaceans.
  • Heteropolysaccharide. They consist of more than one type of monosaccharide or monosaccharide derivative, frequently forming proteins are associated with large molecules, for example:

Function of carbohydrates

Stored in the liver as glycogen and then move through the blood to all cells in the body, when we consume fewer carbohydrates our bodies need, then uses fat and protein that converts into glucose and then to energ , but this causes a buildup of toxic substances generated by the chemical reaction of these and can result very toxic to the body, causing weight loss, fatigue and malaise.

Glucose concentration in the blood should be 60 mg per 100 milliliters of blood, when the concentration is less the brain is the first to resent it, because their cells can not carry out the metabolic process, oxygen is not supplied and energy needed for normal operation, it causes mental confusion occurs, then it can cause seizures, and unconsciousness and ultimately death too nervous system cells can be damaged by lack of glucose for its operation, but when the concentration of glucose is greater accumulation occurs in the blood sugar causing diabetes.

Also when we exceed eating carbohydrates and can not be stored, such as glucose in the body, it is transformed into fat, stored in the body and may cause obesity; same also causes the accumulation of fat or cholesterol in the arteries and veins causing cardiovascular diseases, the problem in kidney function, gout and arteriosclerosis.


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