Submitted by Thiruvelan on Wed, 11/23/2011

The complex carbohydrates are broken down in the digestive tract to simpler sugar (or glucose). This sugar is primarily useful for the production of energy by oxidation.

What is Carbohydrate?

Carbohydrate is an organic compound that contains carbon, hydrogen, and the oxygen atoms. It has hydrogen to an oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 similar to water, so it is considering as hydrates of carbon, thus it got the name carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates Classification

Carbohydrate classified into four; they are:

  • Monosaccharide is the simplest form of carbohydrate that cannot break down any further. Some of the monosaccharide is glucose (or dextrose), fructose and galactose. This group has only one hexose (chemical formula C6H12O6) that contains 6 carbon, 12 hydrogen, and 6 oxygen atoms.
  • Disaccharide is slightly complex than monosaccharide that can be broken down into monosaccharide during digestion. It contains 2 hexose units. Some of the disaccharides are sucrose, maltose, and lactose.
  • Oligosaccharide and Polysaccharide are a complex form of carbohydrates; it often contains hundreds of glucose units. Some of the polysaccharides are dextrin, starch, cellulose, and glycogen. This carbohydrate is more stable than simple sugar, also easier to store. However, it needs to be break down by the digestive system to utilize for energy needs.

Why need carbohydrates?

The carbohydrates are vital because they are the important preferred source of fuel for the body. The body as its fuel uses specifically speaking the glucose/sugar derived from carbohydrates. Although this simple glucose/sugar can also be, derive from, other sources such as fat and proteins, but these sources are preferred only during starvations.

Carbohydrates are all for our body’s energy needs, and they are finding in foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans. Our body derives glucose from these foods, which is the main energy source for our body. The glucose that is deriving from the food sources is useful for energy or stores it as glycogen for later use.

The best carbohydrate sources are those that have enriched with fiber; such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These carbohydrates need longer to break down into glucose and provide you the most nutrients in addition to calories. Refined carbohydrates are considering as bad carbohydrates, they processed to remove some parts of grains such as fibers. Most common refined (processed) carbohydrates are white bread, cookies, biscuits, pastries, and all products containing sugar.

The complex carbohydrate comparatively takes more time to digest and absorb, because break down of complex sugar into simple sugar units takes some time. The blood-glucose spikes are mostly causing by the ingestion of simple sugars; this is considering increasing the risk of some heart and vascular diseases. Simple sugar takes a greater part in our modern diets (due to processed foods we prefer) than formerly, that may lead to more cardiovascular disease.