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Medicine LibreTexts

4: Carbohydrates

  • 4.1: Introduction to Carbohydrates
    Carbohydrates are the perfect nutrient to meet your body’s nutritional needs. They nourish your brain and nervous system, provide energy to all of your cells when within proper caloric limits, and help keep your body fit and lean. Specifically, digestible carbohydrates provide bulk in foods, vitamins, and minerals, while indigestible carbohydrates provide a good amount of fiber with a host of other health benefits.
  • 4.2: Digestion and Absorption of Carbohydrates
    The mechanical and chemical digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth. Chewing, also known as mastication, crumbles the carbohydrate foods into smaller and smaller pieces. The salivary glands in the oral cavity secrete saliva that coats the food particles. Saliva contains the enzyme, salivary amylase. This enzyme breaks the bonds between the monomeric sugar units of disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and starches.
  • 4.3: The Functions of Carbohydrates in the Body
    There are five primary functions of carbohydrates in the human body. They are energy production, energy storage, building macromolecules, sparing protein, and assisting in lipid metabolism.
  • 4.4: Health Consequences and Benefits of High-Carbohydrate Diets
    Can America blame its obesity epidemic on the higher consumption of added sugars and refined grains? This is a hotly debated topic by both the scientific community and the general public. In this section, we will give a brief overview of the scientific evidence.
  • 4.5: Carbohydrates and Personal Diet Choices
    In this chapter, you learned what carbohydrates are, the different types of carbohydrates in your diet, and that excess consumption of some types of carbohydrates cause disease while others decrease disease risk. Now that we know the benefits of eating the right carbohydrate, we will examine exactly how much should be eaten to promote health and prevent disease.