Nutrition Facts and guide

What are Carbohydrates?

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates in food are the main source of energy required by various body functions and muscular effort. They are necessary for the digestion and assimilation of other food elements, including regulation of protein and fat metabolism.

Types of Carbohydrate: Carbohydrates structurally are carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules arranged in the form of rings. Simple carbohydrates like glucose, fructose (sugar in fruits), and galactose (sugar in milk) are composed of one single ring and are called monosaccharides. Sucrose (found in sugar cane and sugar beets), maltose (found in grains), and lactose (in milk) are composed of two rings linked together and are called disaccharides. The two rings in sucrose are made up of glucose plus fructose; maltose is glucose plus glucose; and lactose is glucose plus galactose. Disaccharides are broken into monosaccharide during digestion. Fiber is a carbohydrate but consists of very large molecules that are resistant to enzymatic action.

The human body, especially the brain, needs a constant supply of glucose. There are hormonal mechanisms that regulate glucose metabolism. Improper glucose metabolism may lead to obesity and diabetes. Hypoglycemia is condition when Glucose levels drop resulting in weakness and fatigue. Reducing sugar and eating small frequent meals focusing on whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables, low fat dairy, yogurt, and fish can aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels.

How is food digested in body

How is food digested in body

The foods we eat are chemically complex. They must be broken down by the body into simpler chemical forms which can be absorbed through the intestinal walls and transported by the blood to the body cells. In the cells, these nutrients provide energy and the correct building materials to sustain life.

Digestion is a series of physical and chemical changes by which food, taken into the body, is broken down in preparation for absorption from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream. These changes take place in the digestive tract, which includes the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.

Beginning in the mouth, chewing breaks large food pieces into smaller. Food that is masticated well allows for more complete enzymatic action. If left in chunks, food that passes into the stomach and intestine will likely remain undigested as enzymes are only able to work on the surface of these larger particles. The enzyme that is secreted in the mouth from the salivary glands is ptyalin. Ptyalin is necessary for the breakdown of carbohydrates.