Carbohydrates, or saccharides, are nutrients that provide the human body with energy.
Larger amounts of carbohydrates can be found, for example, in oatmeal, rice, pasta or bread.
The energy content of one gram of carbohydrate, similar to proteins, is 4.1 kcal.
Structure and types
Carbohydrates are composed of several sugar molecules which are lined up in a row.
Depending on the number of molecules, carbohydrates are divided into the following categories.
These are short-chain carbohydrates consisting of a sugar molecule:
- Glucose (grape sugar):
- Fructose (fruit sugar):
- Mucus sugar (galactose)
Due to the short sugar chain, these carbohydrates do not have to be broken down in the intestine, but immediately reach the blood and thus increase the blood sugar level, which in turn results in a high insulin release and causes fat retention.
- maltose (malt sugar) = dextrose + glucose
- malt extract
- Lactose (milk sugar)
- dairy products
- Sachharose (beet and cane sugar)
- sugar beet
- sugar cane
- household sugar
- all plants
In order to extract energy from carbohydrates, the human body splits the carbohydrate chains into its sugar molecules, which are the actual energy suppliers, during the digestive process.
Once the carbohydrates have been broken down into their individual parts, they can be transported in the form of glucose to the liver and muscle tissue, where they are used as energy carriers.
The storage space in the muscle cells is limited.
If more carbohydrates are consumed than the muscles can absorb or burn, the energy is stored in fat deposits.
A low-carb diet is a dietary form in which only small amounts of carbohydrates may be consumed.