Energy Metabolism Explained
'How your body uses, stores and burns energy'.
NOT MEDICAL ADVICE - CONSULT A DOCTOR FOR QUESTIONS
ABOUT YOUR HEALTH
Sugar & Carbohydrates
You may see documents mentioning sugar, carbohydrates, saccharides, glucose,
fructose and other terms interchangeably. It is not that simple.
The name 'carbohydrate' implies that we are talking about things containing
carbon and hydrogen but it is more complex than that. A better word is
All members of the saccharide family consist of saccharides, or 'glucose
units'. Table sugar ('sucrose') consists of two such units.
Generally, the name 'sugar' is reserved for those members of the
'saccharide' family that actually taste sweet. This boils down to small
saccharide molecules which consist of a small number of glucose units.
Confusingly, much longer chains which no longer taste of sugar are sometimes
lumped as 'sugars' too.
Glucose and fructose are the most relevant ones. Consist of one glucose unit
with possibly some stuff hanging on to it.
These consist of a few monosaccharides chained together.
Sucrose, also known as table sugar, is the most well known oligosaccharide.
consisting of one glucose and one fructose.
These consist of a lot of saccharides, up to many thousands. These generally
don't taste sweet. Starch, as found in dough products, is a well known
example. These are generally lumped as 'Carbohydrates', with 'sugars' being
the shorter saccharides. But in reallity, they are all carbohydrates.
Glycogen is a polysaccharide used by the body to store saccharides. It
differs from starch in that it is a highly branched molecule, making it
easier to break down.
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