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2.1: Carbohydrates

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  • Carbohydrates are a diverse group of compounds that have a multitude of effects in the body.

    • 2.1.1: Prelude to Carbohydrates
      There are many different types of carbohydrates. The first way that carbohydrates can be divided is into simple, complex, and sugar alcohols. As the names imply, complex carbohydrates contain more sugar units, while simple carbohydrates contain either 1 or 2 sugars. In the next sections, you will learn more about the different forms of carbohydrates.
    • 2.1A: Simple Carbohydrates
      As shown in the figure below, simple carbohydrates can be further divided into monosaccharides and disaccharides. Mono- means one, thus monosaccharides contain one sugar. Di- means two, thus disaccharides contain 2 sugar units.
    • 2.1B: Alternative Sweeteners
      Sugar(s) can provide a lot of calories and contribute to tooth decay. Thus there are many other compounds that are used as alternatives to sugar that have been developed or discovered. We will first consider sugar alcohols and then the alternative sweeteners in subsequent sections.
    • 2.1C: Alternative Sweeteners
      Alternative sweeteners are simply alternatives to sucrose and other mono- and disaccharides that provide sweetness. Many have been developed to provide zero-calorie or low calorie sweetening for foods and drinks.
    • 2.1D: Polysaccharides
      Within complex carbohydrates, there are oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Oligosaccharides (oligo means few) are composed of 3-10 sugar units and polysaccharides contain greater than 10 sugar units.
    • 2.1E: Polysaccharides
      Poly means "many" and thus polysaccharides are made up of many monosaccharides (>10). There are 3 main classes of polysaccharides: starch, glycogen, and most fibers. The following sections will describe the structural similarities and differences between the 3 classes of polysaccharides that are divided in the figure below.

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