Q:

What are carbohydrates made of?

A:

Quick Answer

Carbohydrates consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbohydrates supply the body with a source of energy and are the building blocks of cellulose and glycogen. They also combine with other molecules to form DNA, RNA, glycolipids, glycoproteins and ATP.

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What are carbohydrates made of?
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Full Answer

Glucose, fructose, galactose and ribose are all simple carbohydrates. Muscles require glucose to grow, and organs need it to function. It is also the body's most important fuel. Fructose is found in fruits and vegetables. Galactose is found in milk, while ribose, which is part of ribonucleic acid, is found in every cell of the human body. During respiration, carbohydrates are metabolised and release energy. Carbohydrates that are not converted to energy are stored as fat.

Complex carbohydrates include starch, glycogen and cellulose. Starch is found in rice, wheat, corn, carrots and potatoes. Glycogen is found in animal muscles and livers. Both starch and glycogen are forms of stored energy. Cellulose acts as the skeleton of plants and gives them their shape. It is also a source of dietary fiber.

Simple carbohydrates yield 3.87 calories of energy per gram and are commonly associated with processed foods, including baked goods, candy and soft drinks. Complex carbohydrates yield between 3.57 and 4.12 calories of energy per gram and are commonly associated with natural, unprocessed foods.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the subunits of carbohydrates?

    A:

    Carbohydrates are separated into three subunits: monosaccharides, polysaccharides and oligosaccharides. Monosaccharides are the smallest of the subunits and are made up of single sugar molecules. The most common monosaccharides are the sugars fructose and glucose, and these typically take on a ring-shaped structure.

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  • Q:

    Are lentils carbohydrates?

    A:

    Lentils supply a significant amount of carbohydrates; a 1/2 cup serving of cooked lentils provides 20 grams, which the body uses for energy. Lentils are also high in dietary fiber, a complex carbohydrate. One serving has 8 grams; most of it is soluble fiber which helps lower cholesterol levels.

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  • Q:

    Where do carbohydrates come from?

    A:

    Plants create carbohydrates during photosynthesis, and while the initial product of photosynthesis is glucose, plants store carbohydrates as one of several saccharides. The human body stores carbohydrates that it does not use quickly. While it stores some of this energy in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen, it stores the rest as fat. According to About.com, the body is able to live without dietary carbohydrates if needed.

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  • Q:

    Are carbohydrates soluble in water?

    A:

    Carbohydrates are soluble in water. All carbohydrates are considered sugars. Sugars are soluble in water due to the vast number of hydroxyl groups they contain.

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