Carbohydrate is the nutritional category for sugars and molecules your body breaks down to make sugars. Carbohydrates can be simple or complex according to their structure. The simple carbohydrates are known as monosaccharide and they include glucose, fructose and galactose. When you link two monosaccharide you come up with a disaccharide. Disaccharides include lactose, maltose and sucrose.
Complex carbohydrates have 3 or more monosaccharide linked together. Carbohydrates with 3-10 monosaccharide linked together are known as oligosaccharide and those with more than 10 monosaccharide linked together is known as polysaccharides. During digestion the complex carbohydrates are broken into their monosaccharide building blocks by the body in which your cells can use for energy.
Your digestive system doesn’t respond to all carbohydrates the same. In starch, glucose molecules are joined together by alpha linkages most of which can be easily cleaved by enzymes in your digestive tract but in fiber, the bond between monosaccharide molecules are beta bonds which can’t be broken down by the body. Fiber can also trap some starch thus preventing them from being cleaved and this result in something called resistant starch. Food high in starch like bread are digested easily, quickly releasing a high amount of glucose into your blood but when you eat sugars high in fiber like fruits and vegetables, those indigestible beta bonds slow the release of glucose into the blood.
When sugar moves from the digestive tract into the blood stream, your body kicks into action to transfer it into your tissues where it can be processed and used for energy. A hormone synthesized in the pancreas called insulin is one of the body’s main part for sugar management. When you eat and your blood sugar rises, insulin is secreted into the blood where it lets your muscle and fat cells to let glucose in and immediately starts the conversion of sugar to energy.
Consuming a lot of carbohydrates may lead to insulin resistance and many scientists believe that insulin resistance leads to a condition referred to as metabolic syndrome. This involves a combination of syndroms such as high blood sugar, increased weight circumference and high blood pressure. It increases the risk of getting infections such as cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes and it’s effect is increasing globally. 32% of America’s population has metabolic syndrome. Whether your food tastes sweet or not, sugar is sugar and too many carbohydrates can be a problem.