Considering Carbohydrates.

Posted: February 9, 2014 in carbohydrates
Tags: , ,

“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.

05_05MaltoseSucrose   lactose

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.

Characteristic Starch Glycogen Cellulose
function -used by plants to store glucose in the form of amylose or amylopectin minimizing osmotic effects in the cell-used in the human diet  to be converted into glucose for energy acquired from food sources -used as the primary short term energy storage in animal cells specifically in the liver and is released by the action of the hormone glucagon -used by plants to strengthen cell walls to withstand high hydrostatic pressure gradient and osmotic swelling
structure  starch  glycogen_helix  pict6
Types of bonds present α (1,4) Glycosidic linkages, forms linear chains and branching α (1,6) Glycosidic linkages, branching occurs β(1,4)-glycosidic linkages, linear chains, no branching
Organization of subunits  amilosamailopectinaglucogeno  glycogen  cel
Reaction with :1)      Molisch reagent2)      Iodine 1)      Positive reaction, reddish violet ring is seen2)      Black-blue or yellow colour is observed indicating a positive result. The amylose, causes the dark blue/blackcolor. The amylopectin, causes the formation of an orange/yellow hue. 1)      positive reaction, reddish violet ring is seen2)      a bright yellow colour is seen indicating a positive result 1)      negative reaction2)      Brown colour is seen indicating a negative result as cellulose is insoluble.

images (3)

So when trying to decrease the weight , keep in mind the importance of Carbohydrates!


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