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Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates

Description:

This lesson will discuss the structure and function of carbohydrates as well as introduce the types of carbohydrates and their roles in your body.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

In this lesson you are going to review organic compounds and learn about the structure and function of carbohydrates, as well as the role of carbohydrates in you body.

  1. Organic Compounds
  2. Structure & Function of Carbohydrates
  3. Role of Carbohydrates in Your Body

1. Organic Compounds

An organic compound is a compound that contains carbon and at least one hydrogen atom. There are the four types of organic compounds:

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Lipids
  3. Proteins
  4. Nucleic Acids.

Term to Know

Organic Compounds

Compounds that contain the element carbon.


2. Structure & Function of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are molecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a 1:2:1 ratio.

Term to Know

Carbohydrates

Organic compounds broken down into sugar by the body and used as a source of energy.


3. Role of Carbohydrates in Your Body

Carbohydrates are used in your body by being broken down into sugars that your body and your cells use for energy.

There are three main categories of carbohydrates:

  • Monosaccharides

A monosaccharide is the most simple type of carbohydrate that you can have; it's made of just one sugar unit.

Term to Know

Monosaccharides

Simple carbohydrates composed of single sugar units.

Hint

The prefix mono- means one. So that'll help you remember that monosaccharides are simple. And they're just made up of one sugar unit.

Monosaccharides are the building blocks for larger molecules. So other larger molecules, larger carbohydrates, are built off of these monosaccharides.

IN CONTEXT

A common example of a monosaccharide is glucose. Your body and your cells use glucose for energy. For cellular respiration, glucose is necessary for that process to happen.

Here is a diagram here of what glucose looks like.

Glucose is a six-carbon sugar, so it has a carbon backbone. So when you’re talking about carbohydrates and their structure, they have a carbon backbone that have hydroxide ions coming off of them. And they have to have at least one hydroxide attached to that carbon backbone. You'll notice this one has multiple hydroxide ions, but it's a six-carbon sugar. This is just the structure of what glucose looks like.

  • Oligosaccharides

Oligosaccharides are a little bit more complex than monosaccharides. They are when two or more monomers are joined by dehydration synthesis, so two or more.

Term to Know

Oligosaccharides

Carbohydrates composed of two or more sugar units combined. Oligosaccharides include a type of carbohydrate called disaccharides which are composed of exactly two sugar units.

When there is exactly two joined together, you call that a disaccharide.

IN CONTEXT

In the diagram below you should notice the molecule glucose; the molecule next to it is fructose.

Now, both individually are monosaccharides. But when they're joined together by dehydration synthesis, it forms a disaccharide. This disaccharide here is called sucrose, a type of sugar

Dehydration synthesis is how these monosaccharides are bonded together. So generally what would happen is you would have two hydroxide ions together. And if you take out one, two of the hydrogens and one of the oxygen, it forms water. What you have left is the O in between them, like you see on the diagram here. And then water is formed as a byproduct. That's what happens in dehydration synthesis when two monosaccharides are joined together.

  • Polysaccharides

Your third type of sugar is polysaccharides. The prefix poly- means many. So you have many sugar units joined together and this is what forms complex carbohydrates, such as starches and cellulose.

Term to Know

Polysaccharides

Carbohydrates composed of many sugar units joined together by dehydration synthesis.

You can have up to thousands of monomers connected by dehydration synthesis. So again, that's when they're linked together and water is formed as a byproduct. And the reason that these are complex carbohydrates, they have a lot more energy.

Here is a diagram of what a Polysaccharide looks like.

IN CONTEXT

So if you think of the complex carbohydrates, like starches that you would actually eat, you get a little bit more energy from them because of the many bonds that form between them. And those bonds store energy so that stored energy can be used to produce more energy later on. So starch is a common example of a polysaccharide.

Cellulose is another example of a polysaccharide; cellulose is a plant-derived polysaccharide and is how glucose is stored in plants. Generally, you cannot digest cellulose. Your digestive system doesn't have the enzymes to break cellulose down, but you benefit from eating cellulose from eating plants because it is fiber in your diet.


Summary

So this was an overview of the structure, the function, and role of carbohydrates in your body, as well as an overview of what the three different types of carbohydrates are.

Source: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR AMANDA SODERLIND

TERMS TO KNOW
  • ​Organic Compounds

    Compounds that contain the element carbon.

  • Carbohydrates

    ​Organic compounds broken down into sugar by the body and used as a source of energy.

  • Monosaccharides

    ​Simple carbohydrates composed of single sugar units.

  • Oligosaccharides

    ​Carbohydrates composed of two or more sugar units combined. Oligosaccharides include a type of carbohydrate called disaccharides which are composed of exactly two sugar units.

  • Polysaccharides

    ​Carbohydrates composed of many sugar units joined together by dehydration synthesis.