Building Blocks of Carbohydrates


The building blocks of carbohydrates are sugars, starches, and fibers.  It is a medically accepted fact and is approved by the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.  Therefore, it is known as the three main building blocks of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the main source of human energy and it is recommended to include 50 to 60 percent carbohydrate content food in our diet.

The carbohydrates are divided into 3 classes as per their nature and structure.  In sugar, we have monosaccharide and disaccharides.  The monosaccharide is simple sugar and is found in fruits and honey.   The disaccharide is two molecule sugars, the multiple sugars, are found in malt sugar and table sugar.  The starches are known as complex carbohydrates that are found in vegetables and whole grains.  In the third category, fiber, it is predominantly cellulose and hemicelluloses.  It is found in unprocessed carbohydrate containing food.

The carbohydrates are called as saccharides because it provides quick and fast burning energy.  It contains, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon and these three elements are seen as the molecular compounds that help to deliver energy to the body and also work as a component in many molecular structures including  DNA structure.

Let us discuss here various building blocks or carbohydrates and how carbohydrates can be consumed in different forms.


Sugar is the first category of building blocks of carbohydrates.  In sugar, we will have two type of building carbohydrates, and they are monosaccharides and disaccharides.

  1. Monosaccharides

Monosaccharides sugar is simple sugar and crystalline solid, colorless and water soluble substance.  It is the building blocks of carbohydrates such as disaccharides and polysaccharides.  Now let us check where we can find monosaccharides.



You might be wondering, from where the body is getting energy for its cells and tissues. The body needs to get metabolized sugar for energizing its cells and tissues.  Glucose is the best source for having metabolized sugar and is the primary sugar being used by the body to energize its tissues and cells.  Glucose is taken into the body through the blood, and the level of glucose can be checked by blood sugar levels. Glucose is present in many fruits, example grapes, cherries, etc.  Glucose can also be hydrolyzed from cane sugar, malt syrup, starch and milk sugar.

If your body has an imbalanced sugar level, then that will lead to health complications. High level sugar will lead diabetics, and low level will be the reason for hypoglycemia. Both are dangerous if no precaution and treatments are done properly.  High content sugar rich food intake, refined carbohydrate foods, no physical activities or exercise and heavy work pressure or stress will be a reason to have sugar imbalances.


Fructose is directly absorbed into the blood, and it is found in many fruits, some vegetables, and honey.  So we can say this is a natural sugar and more sweet than cane sugar.  Fructose, enhance the energy level of the body in quick succession as it can convert to glucose within in the liver.



Galactose is produced in the body by metabolizing milk sugar (lactose).  The lactose is converted into glucose within the liver and in the mammary glands, it is synthesized to produce the lactose for maternity milk.

Ribose and Deoxyribose:

Part of RNA includes ribose, and part of DNA include deoxyribose. Both are pentoses and are a combination of five carbon atoms.

  1. Disaccharides

Disaccharides are a sugar made of two monosaccharides. Here, we will have two sugar joined together, and one molecule of water is eliminated.  You can find rich contents of disaccharides in sucrose, maltose, lactose, etc.  Now let us check where we can find disaccharides.



The ordinary sugar is sucrose that is made of two molecules sugar, fructose, and glucose. They are available in crystal form and commonly used in every home.  Sucrose is using in many forms of food items.  Excess consumption of sucrose may lead to diabetes, tooth decay, obesity, etc.  It is better to have a regulated and limited consumption.


Maltose is made of malt sugar.  It is found in malted food and malt beer.  Maltose can be easily converted into glucose and energize the body quickly.

Polysaccharides – starches

Polysaccharides include starch and glycogen is the second type of building blocks of carbohydrates.  It is otherwise known as complex carbohydrates because it has long binds of glucose.

  1. Starches

Sugar formed out of starches is instrumental in offering a constant level of blood sugar and hence it is harmless.  Lengthy chains of the molecule glucose are characteristic of this sugar.  To break down the molecule it required chemical catalysts and enzymes.


You can find starch carbohydrates in rice, wheat, corn, potatoes and many vegetable roots.  Also, you can find some other type of starches with long polysaccharide chain and short chains. For example amylopectin and amylase respectively.

  1. Glycogen:

Glycogen starch is found in animal meat, especially in their liver and muscle.   This starch is similar in nature of amylopectin, which can be easily broken and converted to boot the energy level. This kind of starch is converted as glycogen and is stored in the liver if they are in excess.


Fiber is the third type of building blocks of carbohydrates.  It has very little benefit to the body, and it cannot convert the glucose into energy.  But fibers are the good agent to improve the digestion and bowel movement.  Let us check here, from where we can have fiber building blocks of carbohydrates.

  1. Cellulose:

Cellulose is commonly found in the skin of vegetables and fruits and rich of fiber content.  Rice bran, wheat bran, and cereal grains are rich of cellulose. The cellulose of are indigestible but are very much helpful in improving the bowel movement, work on constipation, check gastrointestinal abnormalities.


  1. Alginate:

It is good for detoxification, especially metal poisoning.   It can absorb lead and mercury contamination in the body.  This fiber is rich in seaweed.

  1. Hemicelluloses

Hemicelluloses can hold water and is good to support smooth excretion and digestion.  These fibers are seen in the cell wall of plants.   You can have the good source of hemicelluloses in citrus foods and psyllium seed husks.

  1. Agar:

Agar is found in seaweed and is used to have food consistency by cooks.

  1. Carrageen:

Carrageen is used in yogurt and other dairy product to improve the consistency.  This fiber is made out of Irish moss plant and is good for satisfactory bowel movement.

Since carbohydrates are organic molecules, the carbon molecules are taken out of living sources and include carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.  Carbohydrates are the quick source of energy and it energizes the body by converting carbohydrates into glucose and energizes the body cells.


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