Both Carbohydrates it is an important group of physiological energy carriers. The group of substances created by photosynthesis makes up the largest part of biomass on earth.
Carbohydrates are an important group of physiological energy carriers. The group of substances created by photosynthesis makes up the largest part of biomass on earth and is part of a wide variety of foods.
From a biological point of view, carbohydrates are purely organic compounds made up of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. They are created through photosynthesis by plants.
Carbohydrates are divided into four groups:
Monosaccharides (single sugars) such as grape sugar, Dissacharide (double sugar) such as lactose and granulated sugar and oligosaccharides (multiple sugars) such as raffinose.
These three groups are broadly summarized under the term "sugar". They are water-soluble and have a slightly sweet taste. The fourth group consists of the polysaccharides (multiple sugars), which are not soluble in water and have a neutral taste. The fiber, which cannot be used by the body, also falls down.
Carbohydrates are stored in the animal and human organism as glycogens, whereas in the plant organism they are stored as starch.
Carbohydrates are primarily the most important source of energy for the body. Since the body can only produce them itself with additional energy expenditure than other nutrients, they should be ingested through food. The minimum amount required is around five grams per kilogram of body weight for an adult, whereby the majority should consist of polysaccharides.
Almost all cells use carbohydrates as an energy source, but the brain plays a special role. Like red blood cells, it covers its energy needs exclusively from carbohydrates. If it is undersupplied, hunger quickly sets in.
Carbohydrates are broken down into monosaccharides in the small intestine by various enzymes.
The different types of carbohydrates such as single and multiple sugars are available to the body at different speeds. Monosaccharides go straight into the blood because they don't have to be broken down by the body. When there is a particular need for energy, many therefore resort to glucose, a monosaccharide. That is why e.g. many students take glucose in an exam in order to get a high amount of energy into their brains as quickly as possible.
Dissaccharides can also be converted into energy relatively quickly. Polysaccharides play a special role in a healthy and balanced diet. Due to their long-chain structure, the degradation takes place in several steps. The carbohydrates pass slowly and continuously into the blood and the saturation value increases.
The energy supply is mainly regulated by the blood sugar level. If the value drops, you will feel hungry. Monosaccharides cause the blood sugar level to rise quickly because they are immediately available as an energy supplier. Polysaccharides ensure a long-lasting, constant level.
The body converts excess carbohydrates into glycogen, a complex sugar, through the liver and muscles. If necessary, glycogen can be converted back into glucose. The body has limited glycogen stores. If these are full, excess carbohydrates are converted into fat and stored.
But carbohydrates do not only play a role as a source of energy. They are also an important component in cell structure and play an essential role in regulating the water and electrolyte balance.
If carbohydrates are consumed in adequate quantities, they are hardly dangerous. However, excessive consumption can quickly lead to obesity. In industrialized nations in particular, significantly more monosaccharides and double sugars are ingested with food than polysaccharides. This leads to a constant feeling of hunger and thus to further absorption of quickly available glucose. As a result, diseases such as type II diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease occur.
Since the polysaccharides in particular contain many vitamins, insufficient intake can lead to deficiency symptoms, as monosaccharides, due to their simple structure, contain significantly fewer vitamins.
Another risk is caries. The sugar attacks the teeth and, if not properly cared for, can lead to inflammation and serious damage. Untreated tooth decay is another risk factor for heart disease.
Insufficient intake of carbohydrates can also have negative effects. Since it is an important supplier of energy, the first signs of a deficiency are fatigue, poor concentration and poor performance. The water and electrolyte balance can get mixed up, which can damage the kidneys in the long term.
In the absence of carbohydrates, the body converts proteins into carbohydrates. These occur mainly in the muscles, which is why the body first goes to the energy reserves in the muscles in the event of malnutrition. A balanced diet is particularly important because many organs are also made up of muscle tissue.