Understanding carbohydrates

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Biology
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Carbohydrates are a major source of energy needed for accomplishing everyday physical activities and bodily functions. According to the Canadian Sugar Institute (1997), carbohydrates make up for 40 to 80 percent of the total food energy intake among humans worldwide…

Introduction

Carbohydrates are a major source of energy needed for accomplishing everyday physical activities and bodily functions. According to the Canadian Sugar Institute (1997), carbohydrates make up for 40 to 80 percent of the total food energy intake among humans worldwide. As the name implies, carbohydrates are carbon hydrates, that is, they are formed from the union of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They are commonly taken from cereals, root crops, sugar crops, pulses, vegetables, fruit and milk products (Canadian Sugar Institute, 1997).Some sources of carbohydrates have undergone processing and therefore have different effects on the body as compared to those carbohydrates that did not go through refinements or processes. Because of this, it becomes essential to properly select the carbohydrate-rich foods that would be included in the everyday diet.Carbohydrates, also referred to as saccharides, are basically divided into simple and complex types. The simple carbohydrates are monosaccharides, or the simple sugars such as glucose, which are composed of single chain molecules of sugar. Complex carbohydrates are made up of di- or polysaccharides, which means that several monosaccharides make up the molecular structure. Simple and complex carbohydrates can be distinguished by taste. Simple carbohydrates are sweet, while the complex types, such as potatoes, are not (Kennedy, 2006).There are other ways of classifying carbohydrates. For example, the Canadian Sugar Institute (1997) classified them into three: sugars, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. ...
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