“What is food to one is to others bitter poison.” Lucretious quoted by Gideon.
Criminal Minds, Season 1, Episode 20, “Poison”
Hey guys! This is Sara and my post this week will be on the topic Carbohydrates. So it’s carnival time here in sweet Trinidad and Tobago so everyone is trying to keep in shape. There are so many products available for weight loss, ways to look slimmer and of course almost all food boxes have the acclaimed phrase ‘’LESS CARBS’’. So when you hear the word carbohydrates or ‘carbs’, what do you think about?
I’m guessing most of your minds will pounce on the negative aspect of Carbs or empty carbohydrates that we try to stay away from to keep in shape. Are these images familiar?
But, carbohydrates are so much more and very essential to us humans and even plants! Depending on their chemical structure, carbohydrates are called simple or complex. The simple carbohydrates can be found in sugars, naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and milk products. Complex carbohydrates are good sources of fibre and are found in potatoes and beans.
Carbohydrates are one of the most important sources of energy for the human body. The digestive system converts carbohydrates into glucose which is used for energy for cells, tissues and organs. It can be stored by first being converted to glycogen and then remains in the liver and muscle .Glucose is released accordingly, for example when the body has a high glucose concentration the pancreas releases insulin causing a lowering of the blood glucose level back to the normal amount. When glucose is necessary, glycogen is converted to glucose by the action of the hormone glucagon.
So I just mentioned a sweet term, glucose. Glucose is a simple monosaccharide which, when it is metabolized releases carbon dioxide, water and energy through the process of respiration. Carbohydrates can be monosaccharaides or disaccharides and are the main storage polysaccharides as well as structural molecules.
Monosaccharides exist in the forms aldoses or ketoses.
Diagram showing aldose and ketose structures
Disaccharides form when condensation occurs and two monosaccharides join by the formation of a glycosidic bond. Some examples of disaccharides are maltose, lactose and sucrose.
Diagrams showing the structures of Maltose,Sucrose and Lactose
Polysaccharides are polymers with subunits which are monosaccharides. They are also made by the condensation process and each consecutive monosaccharide is added by a glycosidic bond.
Table showing comparison between starch, glycogen and cellulose.
So when trying to decrease the weight , keep in mind the importance of Carbohydrates!