Friday, June 29, 2007

Three Principal Carbohydrates and the Foods in Which they are Present

Carbohydrates are organic molecules (contain carbon and come from living sources) and are our main source of energy. Three principal carbohydrates according to their structure) are: sugars, starches and fiber.


Monosaccharides: · Glucose is found in fruits or can be hydrolyzed from starch, cane sugar, milk sugar, malt sugar

· Fructose is found in most fruits and fruit juices, honey, certain vegetables

· Galactose is formed in the process of metabolism of the milk sugar lactose


  • Lactose, also known as "milk sugar" and the only sugar of animal origin, comes from mother's milk
  • Sucrose or "white sugar" comes from sugar cane, sugar beets, maple syrup, molasses, sorghum and pineapple
  • Maltose or "malt sugar" is produced in the process of breakdown of starches in certain cereal grains and is also present in beers, malted snacks, some breakfast cereals and crackers
2. STARCHES are also known as "complex carbohydrates" or "polysaccharides". They are found in potatoes, vegetable roots and whole grains like wheat, rice and corn.

  • Amylopectin – most common starch found in foods
  • Amylose – with long chains of glucose molecules
  • Glycogen – the animal source starch (from muscle and liver)
  • Dextrins – partially digested starches, formed during the breakdown of starch
3. FIBER is mostly the indigestible cellulose from the skins of fruits and vegetables and coverings of cereals. It provides little energy or caloric value but aids intestinal function and elimination. Other hi-fiber substances are: guar gum, konjar root flour, chitosan (derived from oyster shells).

  • Cellulose – most common fiber from basic foods
  • Hemicelluloses – from the cell walls of plants (i.e. psyllium seed husks, pectin)
  • Agar and alginate – from seaweeds
  • Carrageen – from Irish moss plant

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