Carbohydrates form the significant nutrients in our daily diet.
These include mainly glucose, sucrose, lactose, and starch.
They are primary sources of our body’s energy and hence, we need them in large quantities.
Our food generally contains both simple and complex carbohydrates.
Whereas complex carbohydrates like starch require enzymes for digestion in the gut.
When cooked, the starch molecules in food get hydrated and convert to easily digestible sugars like glucose, sucrose, etc.
Hence, cooked food is preferred for easy digestion and assimilation.
Carbohydrates Examples in our foods
Most foods we consume are good sources of carbohydrates
|Cereal name||% of carbs (100gm dry weight)||Food item|
|Wheat||82%||White Bread, flatbread|
|Corn (maize)||82%||Popcorn, porridge, sweet corn|
|Rice||91%||Porridge, soups, desserts|
|Pearl millet (Bajra)||75%||Flatbread, Biscuits|
- Most of the food we eat daily has cereals to a large extent.
- The bread, sandwich, roti, noodles, etc., are made of cereals like wheat, rice, maize, Sorghum, etc.
- These cereals contain large quantities of carbohydrates.
- The predominant carbohydrate in them is starch.
- Since white rice and wheat are regular foods in some countries, people consume them daily as the primary carbohydrate sources.
- As you know, sweets are food items that are made of different types of flour, milk, fats, and sugar to a large extent.
- These items contain abundant carbohydrates; hence, consuming them can shoot up blood sugar levels to very high levels.
- They contain easily digestible sugars like Sucrose, glucose, and fructose.
- Some of the vegetables we eat in daily life are rich in carbohydrates.
- But still, they are within a safe range and help supply microelements like potassium, sodium, iron, calcium, and vitamins.
|Vegetable name||% carbs|
- Milk, curd, and cheese have carbohydrates besides a good amount of proteins and fats.
- They have sugars like lactose (milk sugar) in large amounts.
|Fruit Name||Carbohydrate percentage|
- Fruits are the natural foods one can have in daily life. Unlike others, they do not need to be cooked.
- They have vitamins and minerals besides sugars to varying extent based on the type of fruit.
- For example, fruits like mangoes, bananas, grapes, and watermelon have more quantity of sugar.
- While other fruits like oranges and papaya have fewer quantities of sugar.
- But as a whole, fruits are good to consume as they are rich in fiber and other nutrients.
- Further, doctors advise adopting diets with complete fruit or fruit juice for sick people as they are easy for digestion.
- But in those with medical conditions like diabetes, consuming fruit juices can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
- Soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi have a large amount of sugar.
- Hence they are called energy drinks. Sugars break down to glucose and fructose in the stomach to provide instant energy.
- But, having these soft drinks along with food can be harmful to health as they can shoot up sugar levels in the blood.
- The alcoholic drinks like wine or whiskey we consume also have carbohydrates to a certain extent.
- Besides ethanol, they are mixed with varying types of cereal or other plant extracts to increase the bulk.
- The common cereal (grain) material included is barley.
Examples: beer, wine, rum, etc
- Ice creams are the cold and soft substances liked by everyone.
- These are also rich in sugars. Hence they are sweet to taste.
- Besides, they have a high amount of fat material. Carbohydrates are added in the form of sugar.
Chocolates & cakes
- Chocolates of all sorts have a high amount of sugar. Hence, they are sweet in taste.
- Even ready-made items like cakes, jams, etc., from the bakery, have carbohydrates to varying extent.
- Biscuits are mainly made of cereal and corn material which are rich in carbohydrates.
- Carbohydrates are also present in many foods like leafy vegetables, pulses, mushrooms, etc.
- Carbohydrate tests can ascertain their presence.
Examples of carbohydrates in biology
- In a living body, carbohydrates provide energy.
- These carbohydrates are distributed in all the cells and tissues of the body.
- Some of the carbohydrates are readily available for energy supply, like glucose.
- While others are present as reserve carbohydrates like glycogen for use in case of starvation.
- Glucose is a monomer, while sucrose is a dimer, i.e., when it is broken, it yields two monomers.
- Besides these, there are other polymers meant for different functions.
These carbohydrates are pentoses, hexoses, and heptose sugars.
They are also available as oligosaccharides and polysaccharides.
They also form many cell organelles and tissues.
They are also part of nucleic acids like the DNA and RNA in and around the nucleus.
To stay healthy, one has to have a low-carb diet.
Low-carb diets include highly protein-rich foods.