Function of carbohydrates

Although the human body can produce glucose during glucogenesis, it is not capable of synthesizing carbohydrates and is therefore dependent on food intake. In the area of the different forms of sugar, a distinction is made between

  • Monosaccharides (simple sugars),
  • Dual sugars (disaccharides),
  • Multiple sugars (oligosaccharides) and
  • Multiple sugars (polysaccharides).

When ingested through food, the different forms of sugar are listed here as examples to illustrate the differences. Monosaccharides, for example, belong to the group of monosaccharides: Glucose, fructose and galactose, which are present in various fruits and honey.

They form the basis for the multiple saccharides. To the disaccharides belong: Maltose (e.g. in malt beer, formed from glucose molecules), saccharose (e.g. in cane or beet sugar; from glucose and fructose) and lactose, which is composed of glucose and galactose.

and colloquially probably better known as milk sugar. Also the oligosaccharides (multiple sugars) are formed from the monosaccharides. The multiple sugars (polysaccharides) as highly complex molecules, composed of a multitude of monosaccharides, are regarded as sugar stores in the organism.

Depending on the type and composition of the monosaccharides, a distinction is made between Polysaccharides are found in cereals, rice and potatoes in the form of starch, for example. Carbohydrates are usually ingested with food, but usually as disaccharides in the form of sucrose or lactose or as polysaccharides in the form of starch or glycogen. However, only monosaccharides can be taken up by the cell, so that di- or polysaccharides must first be converted into monosaccharides.

This conversion of carbohydrates (cleavage) takes place in the small intestine lumen or in the small intestine mucosa cells and is induced by specific enzymes. After cleavage, the resulting monosaccharides are released into the bloodstream and can thus be metabolized by the cells. A constant glucose level is essential for these energy-consuming cells, so that glucose must be regarded as the most important monosaccharide in carbohydrate metabolism.

Carbohydrates represent the largest portion of organic matter on the earth’s surface. They are synthesized from inorganic substances, namely carbon (c), oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H) in the course of photosynthesis from water and carbon dioxide with the release of oxygen. Although there are different forms of carbohydrates, the composition of the molecules is the same for all of them.

Hydrogen and oxygen atoms are in a ratio of 2:1. The function of carbohydrates in the body:Carbohydrates can easily be taken from food. They are an important component to cover the daily energy demand.

One assumes a proportion between 50 and 60%. One gram of carbohydrate provides approximately 4.2 kcal. The basic nutrient can – if there is an oversupply – be stored as glycogen, usually in muscles and the liver, but only in a small form.

Glycogen is usually needed by the body to maintain a certain blood sugar level and is therefore used as an energy reserve. Only when these stores are used up does the body begin to burn fat or protein. However, this replacement is not possible in the long term.

The body tries to make an emergency situation noticeable. If the blood sugar level is too low, for example, the circulation can drop and the body feels weak and unwell. It can be determined that the body is trying to keep the blood sugar level (= amount of simple sugars contained in the blood) within constant limits.

Due to the narrow tolerance limits, it guarantees a constant energy supply to the cells and thus the body’s performance. Who has not yet tried to improve their performance (school performance) by taking glucose? Unfortunately not every body succeeds in keeping this blood sugar level constant.

An example of this is the serious illness of diabetes mellitus (diabetes). The name stands for various forms of glucose – metabolic disorder. Common to all forms is the lack of insulin, whereby the glucose uptake in the body cells is reduced, the formation of glycogen is throttled, the sugar output from the liver is increased and the lipogenesis is reduced with simultaneously increased cholesterol formation.

In addition, peptide and protein synthesis is reduced and, among other things, the formation of energy-rich compounds is decreased.Patients suffering from diabetes mellitus are forced to control the amount of carbohydrates in their diet. Forms of carbohydrate malabsorption are also conceivable, e.g. : Lactose intolerance, etc. Here you will find information about carbohydrates and sports

  • Homoglycans, composed of always the same monosaccharides, e.g. glycogen (exclusively from glucose), etc.
  • Heteroglycans, composed of different monosaccharides.