A carbohydrate is the basic raw material for generating energy in the body.

Like proteins and fats, carbohydrates undergo various metabolic processes before the y can be readily used by cells in different purposes. Let's learn the different mechanisms of carbohydrate metabolism in humans. Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/health/diet-nutrition/articles/87332.aspx#ix zz11HQk6wV1 he carbohydrate is an organic compound made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen a toms. It is viewed as hydrates of carbon, hence its name. Its other name is sacc haride, which is derived from the Greek word sakkharon , meaning sugar . The basic uni t, or building block of a carbohydrate, is the monosaccharide. Monosaccharides c an join through chemical bonds to produce disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and p olysaccharides. The prefixes indicate the number of monosaccharides joined toget her. Carbohydrates play important roles in the human body. Polysaccharides, like glyc ogen, serve as storage of energy for future use. Glucose is the monosaccharide u sed in cellular reactions to manufacture energy (ATP). The monosaccharides ribos e and deoxyribose are backbones for RNA and DNA respectively. Moreover, carbohyd rates are also important structural components of cells and essential biomolecul es for immunity, fertilization, blood clotting, and development. Unlike plants, humans are not capable of performing photosynthesis to produce ca rbohydrates. They need to eat food with carbohydrates to supply their body with the compound. Foods with a high amount of carbohydrates include cereals, grains, root tubers, fruits, and vegetables. The carbohydrates contained in these foods are made up of trillions (or more) of polysaccharides that are joined together by chemical bonds. Since our body can only use glucose (simple sugar), food poly saccharides must be broken down into smaller units before they can be used in ce ll metabolism (e.g. glycolysis and glycogenesis). Let us look at the various pro cesses of carbohydrate metabolism in humans. Digestion of Carbohydrates The first stage of carbohydrate metabolism in humans is the physical and chemica l breakdown of large carbohydrates into the simplest form (glucose). This occurs in the mouth down to the intestines. In the mouth, carbohydrates are broken down into tiny pieces by chewing or masti cation. The enzyme salivary amylase will break down more complex carbohydrates i nto simpler ones. For example, starch is broken down by amylase (ptyalin) to mal tose. From the mouth, carbohydrates will pass through the esophagus until they reach t he stomach, where they would be further broken into smaller forms (e.g. maltose, fructose and sucrose) and mixed with gastric acids. After few hours in the stomach, carbohydrates are ready to move into the duodenu m, the first portion of the small intestine. The pancreas will release digestive enzymes such as maltase, lactase, and sucrase to splice maltose, lactose, and s ucrose into glucose, the only form of carbohydrate absorbed into the bloodstream . The blood will carry all glucose molecules into all cells of the body. Depending on the conditions of the body, cells can process glucose to generate energy, st ore glucose for future use or convert glucose into fats. Carbohydrates to Energy

To generate energy. How Carbohydrates Are Digested And Used By The Body . After glycolysis.aspx#ix zz11HQyDbNf 4. gene expressio n. Like glycogen. Glycogenesis and glycogenolysis are tightly regulated by hormones such as insuli n. The opposite of glycogenesis is glycogenolysis or the breakdown of glycogen into glucose molecules. pyruvate will be transferred to the mitochondrion to join two more series of chemical reactions namely Kreb Cycle and Electron Transport Chain . Read more: http://www. and protein synthesis. Glycogenolysis occurs when the levels of glucose and ATP are below normal levels. Carbohydrates to Fats Carbohydrates consumed in excess of caloric expenditure are stored in adipose ti ssues as fats. gene transcription.brighthub. In the reaction.com/health/diet-nutrition/articles/87332. fats are stored energy.aspx#ix zz11HQqrjNm Storage of Carbohydrates If the cell senses an abundance of glucose and ATP. ATP or adenosine triphosphate is the energy-rich molecule universally use d by organisms to do work. Two molecules of ATP are generated throughout glyco lysis. Glycolysis is a chemical reaction in the cytoplasm involving glucose and several enzymes. fats are broken down only when almost all glycogen molecules stored in the b ody are used up. Read more: http://www. The end products of these two complex chemical reactions are more ATP molecule s that would power all cellular activities such as cell division.brighthub. glucose is converted into two molecules of pyruvates through enzymatic reactions. Howev er.com/health/diet-nutrition/articles/87332. they are broken down and c onverted into glucose when the body is depleted with both ATP and glucose. it would break down glucose molecules to chains of glycogen for storage in the liver and muscles. adrenaline. glucose should undergo a series of chemical reactions in the cell cytoplasm and mitochondria. and glucagon.

It is. from the pres ence of accumulated toxic substances that the body was unable to eliminate.2 Salivary Carbohydrate Digestion Disaccharides and polysaccharides must be digested before the body can use them. our best source of carbohydrates is from fruits. The "trick" to. carbohydrates. therefore. cheese or milk. What happens when the starches.1 Introduction to Digestion Before discussing carbohydrate digestion in particular. or even nuts or seed . Here an enzyme known as salivary amylase or ptyalin. The results of bacterial decomposit ion are toxic and do not provide nourishment. secre ted by the parotid glands. getting nourishment (nutriment) from the foods you eat is to see to it that the y. A tremendous amount of toxin elimination an d accumulation puts a great stress and burden upon the organism and results in a large variety and number of diseases. One of two things happens to foods that do not get thoroughly or completely dige sted: 1) Sugars may ferment or 2) proteins may putrefy (rot). This happens both directly. starch and dextrins into the disaccharide ma ltose. before the bacteria (present within every healthy diges tive tract) have a chance to decompose them. fats. need no digestion.) begins in the mouth with the mechanical process of mastication. This can be done by eating primarily (o r only) easily digested and uncomplicated foods such as fruits. and glycogens that were not converted t o maltose in the mouth and what happens to the maltose when these carbohydrates reach the stomach depends upon several factors what other types of foods are eaten with the starch. is mixed with the food during the chewing process and begins the conversion of glycogen. 4. The class of enzymes that hydrolyze carbohydrates are broadly known a s carbohydrases. dextrin. from a decrease in the body's digestive capabilities due to overwork ing the digestive system and depleting the body's supply of vital energy. important for us to do everything we can to insure thorough an d complete digestion of all foods eaten. get digested quickly. We will be concerned in this lesson with carbohydrases known as amylases. and no proteins (as meats. For this reason. starches and dextrins are the only food types whose chemical digestion begins in the mouth. While the digestion of all types of foods (proteins. If a relati vely uncomplicated starch such as potatoes or yams is eaten alone or with nonsta rchy vegetables. let's give a little atte ntion to digestion in general. Fruits require much less of the body's energies and render primarily monosaccharides that. and by refraining from eating while under stress or emotionally upset. by eating at we ll-spaced meals. how much food is being eaten and how fast. Keeping the above facts about digestion in mind. by eating compat ible combinations of foods. Foods that don't digest relatively soon after ingestion will ferment or putrefy and contribute to body toxicity an d disease. and indirectly. as stated. These processes re sult from bacterial activity which breaks down (decomposes) undigested or undige stible foods in preparation for their elimination from the body. let's take a look now at carboh ydrate digestion. by eating moderate amounts of foods. while monosaccharides do not require digestion. Complete and thorough digestion of foodstuffs is extremely important for good health. the emotional condi tion of the eater and the condition of the eater's digestive system. Digestion is both a mechanical process (chewing) and a chemical process (enzymic actions). as well as for other reasons (to be discussed in depth later in this lesson). by abstaining from drinks during or too soon before or after me als. certain carbohyd rates namely. etc.4.

salivary amylase (ptyalin) can and w ill continue the digestion of starches and dextrins in the stomach for a long pe riod." The acids of tomatoes. i t is important to consume starchy foods at separate meals from protein foods and acids. Therefore. No one who seeks health should eat starches in a hurry. no r should they have them with a beverage or with proteins or acids. This is just one of the many hazards of consum ing animal flesh and animal foods. limes. ptyalin. Therefore. they interfere with dig estion by diluting the digestive juices and cause them and their enzymes to be p assed through the digestive tract too quickly for digestion to occur. From the above. the stomach empties itself before this can take place. On the contrary.s or acids (as tomatoes. Glycogen should n ot be consumed by health seekers because much disease results from the ingestion of animal flesh and animal products. This first stage of starch digestion is of great importan ce because there is a great likelihood that the food will be acted upon by bacte ria and ferment before it reaches the intestine where further starch digestion c an take place. ptyalin. 4. for good dige stion of foods is imperative for good health. suffice it to say that glycogen ingeste d cannot be digested in the stomach because. whatever glycogen that is not converted t o a disaccharide by the salivary amylase. oranges. However. for good health. Another factor that can impair salivary starch digestion is the drinking of wate r or other liquids with or too soon before or after meals. For good digestion and consequent good health. grapefruits. these foo ds also inhibit starch digestion. acids. Water or other liquid s do not aid in the digestion of foods.3 Starch Digestion in the Intestine Now that we have discussed starch digestion by the enzyme ptyalin. lemon or lemon juice or vinegar as in salads or salad dre ssings) are consumed with the starchy food.) Briefly stated. water or o ther liquids with starches interferes seriously with their digestion by the sali vary amylase. destroy our only starch-splitting enzyme. The likelihood of the glycogen reaching the intestine without fermenting before it can get there is small. which is the primary nutritive component of f oods that contain glycogen. berries. ingestion of protein foods causes a secretion of hydrochloric ac id in the stomach. To summarize this aspect of starch digestion. acids should not be eaten at the same meal with starches. it destroys the amylase activity and substitutes acid hydrolysis. . taking proteins. ptyalin. like hydrochlor ic acid. Therefore. sour grapes and other sour fruits and the acid of vinegar will. pineapples. you can see why thorough mastication of food is so important whe n starches are eaten. Digestion. For thorough digestion and consequent good health. Physiology texts state tha t "if this acid hydrolysis was continued long enough it could reduce all the dig estible carbohydrates to the monosaccharide stage. This will be discussed in depth in later l essons. is much more likely to occur soon after the food is put into the mouth th an further along in the digestive tract. must be converted in the inte stine. rather than fermentation and its resulting toxic bypro ducts. that is. lemons. (This and other facts relative to the topic of food combining for good d igestion will be discussed in depth in later lessons. and hydrochloric acid destroys ptyalin. For the purposes of this lesson. this continuation of starch d igestion by ptyalin in the stomach is a necessity. let's get int o starch and sugar (disaccharide) digestion in the intestine. of the hydrochloric acid that will be secreted to digest the protein. A special note should be made here about glycogen animal starch.

Fructose is absorbed b y diffusion. small amounts of monosacchari des) may be absorbed into the bloodstream through the mucosa (mucous membrane) o f the stomach. Active transport is the osmotic process used when substances or nutrients are ab sorbed from an area of lower concentration across a membrane to an area of highe r concentration. amylase must have a somewhat alkaline medium to do its job and is destroyed by acids. as stated earlier. The carrier substance is thought to be a pr otein or lipoprotein (a combination of a protein and a fat). and 2) catabolism. dextrin and glycogen) have been converted to the disaccharide maltose. Anabolism and catabolism occur simultaneously in the body cells . Ea ch individual villus contains a network of capillaries surrounding a lymph vesse l. by pancreatic amylase. which in turn carri es them directly to the liver. These amylases are secreted by the wall of the small intestine and are capable of splitting th e particular sugars for which they were designed to the monosaccharide stage. There the absorptive surface is increased about 600 times by villi. which are fingerlike projections in the lining of the small intestine. This enzyme. 4. 4. converts any remaining dextrin and starch to maltose.Whatever carbohydrates make it to the intestine quickly enough to escape ferment ation by bacterial action will be acted upon in the first part of the small inte stine. There are two phases of metabolism: 1) anabolism. As stated earlier. This is accomplished by the amylases maltase (to convert maltose ). secreted by the pancrea s. most absorption of the soluble products of digestion occurs in th e small intestine. ethyl alcohol. At this stage in the digestive process. Substances or nutrients pass through the intestinal membrane through the process of osmosis in one of two ways: 1) diffusion or 2) active transport.5 Carbohydrate Metabolism Metabolism is the term used to describe the many chemical changes that occur aft er the end products of digestion have been absorbed into the body. 4. that is. which is the chemical reaction by which abs orbed nutrients are utilized for replacement of used or worn-out body substances (maintenance) and to create new cellular material (growth).4 Carbohydrate Absorption Even though some substances (water. as well as a " carrier" to transport the substance. This is a simp le osmotic process in which no energy has to be expended. after the polysaccharides (star ch. which includes the chemical reactions whereby cellular materials are broken down into smaller units.6 Sources of Glucose . This process requires energy for the absorption. the duodenum. and each cell on the surface of the villus is made up of smaller units called brush border cells or micro villi. sucrase (to convert sucrose) and lactase (to convert lactose). Glucose and galacto se are absorbed into the bloodstream by active transport. Monosaccharides are ab sorbed by the capillaries. Substances and nutrients in the intestinal tract that are in higher concentration than acro ss the membrane in the blood and lymph pass through by diffusion. The reason this amylase can act in the intestine is because of the more alkaline medium which prevails there. malto se and the other disaccharides (sucrose and lactose) must be converted to monosa ccharides since. which empty into the portal vein. and an example of catabolism is the breaking down of these glycogen stores to supply energy to the muscles during ph ysical exersion. the body can absorb and use sugars only as m onosaccharides. An example of anabolism is the use of monosaccharides to bu ild up stores of muscle and liver glycogen.

they differ in th e arrangement of the hydrogen and oxygen units along the carbon chain. Insulin greatly enhances this facilitated transport of glucose through the cell membrane. indirectly. (Larger than normal amounts of insulin increase the rapidity of glucose transfer as much as 15-20-fo ld. In fact. It may come from carbohydrates or from noncarbohydrate sources. This blood in the portal v ein may have a very high concentration of sugars. From noncarbohydrate sources. the transfer is accelerated as much as 3-5-fold. sucrose and lactose from the foods we eat. absorbed monosac charides are carried in the portal vein to the liver.The body's immediate needs determine whether carbohydrates that have been digest ed and absorbed are used for immediate energy. However. The noncarbohydrate sources used include certain amino acids f rom protein. fructose is mainly converted to glucose during i ts absorption through the intestinal walls. whereas. The refore. galactose and glucose share the same chemical formula. glycogen reserves in the liver and muscles a re broken down and converted to glucose. in the presence of normal amounts of thi s hormone. From the conversion of fructose and galactose. If the body cells require more energy than can be supplied by glucose and glycogen reserves. thus decreasi ng the blood glucose level back toward normal. This glucose is converted to glycogen. about two-thirds of the excess glucose is removed from circulation. the liver serves as a "buffer" organ for blood glucose regulation be cause it keeps the blood glucose level from rising too high or falling too low. Following are the four primary sources of gluco se: From the digestion of dietary carbohydrate. The liver serves as a buffer. per 100 ml. as much as 180 mg per 100 ml o f glucose. It is. As stated earlier in this lesson. Hormones that regulate the blood sugar level. the glycogen is split back into glucose and is transferre d out of the liver into the blood. dextrin. epinephrine and glucagon. glycerol from fat and. which promotes the rapid transport of glucose into the cells. In the liver. in which the glucose combines with a carrier in the cell membrane and is transported to the inside of the cell. where it breaks awa y from the carrier. noncarbohydrate sources can be used t o supply glucose. 4. However. only a very small amount of glucose can combine with the carr ier in the absence of insulin. the pancreas and the adrenal glands play roles in keeping the blood s ugar level at a normal concentration of around 90 mg. the increas ed glucose level in the blood (about one-third of the glucose is not removed fro m circulation by the liver) stimulates the pancreas to produce the hormone. Three hormones are involved in increasing the concentration of glucose in the bl ood when necessary: norepinephrine. The three monosaccharides fructose. When the body's need for glucose is greater than the supply available in the blood. when the blo od sugar level is low. At a later time. In essence. insu lin.7 Regulation of Blood Glucose Concentration The liver. the liver cells convert absorbed galactose molecules and so me fructose molecules. it is transported by a chemical process called facilitated diffusion (al so called active transport). where a metabolic interconversion (m utual conversion) occurs. fatty acids from fat. After a meal is eaten. During th e metabolic process. converted and stored as glycogen or changed to fat and stored in adipose tissue. Glucose is formed from the digestion of starch. therefore. Norepinephrine and . From the breakdown of glycogen. the storage form of carbohyd rate for animals (sometimes called animal starch). Glucose cannot enter the cells th rough simple diffusion because the pores of the cell membrane are too small. Glucose is the principal sugar used by body cells and tissues. important to know the sources of this nutrient. maltose. insulin controls the rate of glucose metabolism in the body by controlling the entry of glucose into the cells.) As you can see.

epinephrine are secreted by the adrenal glands and glucagon is secreted by the pancreas. You m ay study this in a good physiology text. This phenomenon led to the recognition of t he existence of this group of vitamins. Physiology texts also mention the fallacy of regarding any one B vitamin in the . Fats and carbohydrates eaten in exc ess of caloric expenditure are deposited in the adipose tissues as fat. Other drugs also deplete B vitamin supplies and/o r hinder the synthesis of B vitamins in the intestine. the B-complex vitamins and t he mineral calcium are known to play an integral part in carbohydrate metabolism . The chemical pathway glucose follows on its way to fat is well understood. adapted i n nature to eat fruits). but when carbohydrates are consumed beyond need. (A detailed explanation can be fo und in a physiology text such as Physiology of the Human Body by Arthur C. B-complex vitamins are also depleted (and/or not synthesized in the body) when v arious drugs and medications are taken. incorrect to label carbohydrates as being "fattening. many meats. l ess expensive than fat-containing foods (such as cheeses. A future lesson will be d evoted to the effects of various drugs and medications upon nutrition. The vitamin B complex in carbohydrate nutrition. As will be discussed in greater depth in later lessons. There a re many reasons for this. t herefore. as a general rule. This is an involved process which does not require the presence of oxygen. they are more likely to be overeaten.) 4. By far the major amount of energy from glucose is released in a s eries of reactions in the cells in the presence of oxygen. which is th en emptied into the blood. therefore." Fats eaten in e xcess of caloric need are also stored as fat. a vitamin B complex deficienc y specifically. In addition. Prior to the widespread processing of foods. as cooki ng is an in-home method of food processing that is very destructive of the quant ity and quality of vitamins and other nutrients in foods. The importance of the B vitamin s in carbohydrate metabolism was discovered because of the health problems that resulted from the industrial processing of foods which removed (and still remove s today) the B vitamins from their whole food sources where they were packaged b y nature side-by-side with carbohydrates. It is. Thi s union was broken by the industrial processing of foods. taking vitamin B complex supplements or using so-called "enriched" processed food products will not and cannot substitute for whole foods in their natural state. a thiamine deficiency. most notably birth control pills. howev er. One reason is because refined sugar and flour are used so heavily and widely in the processing of the foods most widely advertised and distributed to the retail food outlets. M.9 Carbohydrates in Relation to Other Nutrients Not only are fats converted to carbohydrates for energy when carbohydrate intake is inadequate. It is. because humans n aturally "have a sweet tooth" (because we are biologically frugivores. very important for health-seekers to consume unprocessed foods also uncooked. Also.8 How Energy is Derived From Glucose Energy is derived from glucose in one of two basic ways: 1) by oxidation and 2) by glycolysis. etc. ) therefore. The transformation of carbohydrate into fat. Guyto n. alcoho lic beverages and antibiotics. 4. the excess is c onverted to fat and stored in adipose tissue. carbohydrates comprise the foodstuffs most commonly eaten in excess. nuts.D. In the diets of many people. These hormones cause liver glycogen to split into glucose. The large-scale introduction of white (refined) rice in the Orient resulted in beriberi. we are more attracted to carbohydrates than to fats. but some energy from glucose is released by a process called glycolysis. This returns the blood glucose concentration back tow ard normal. Carbohydrates are. humans did not suffer as a result o f their lack of knowledge about the existence of the B vitamins because in natur e there is a union between the vitamin B complex and carbohydrates in foods.

osteoporosis and other bone di seases result. in fact. lack of natural calcium in these foods crea tes a myriad of very serious health problems. have been robbed of the calcium in the plant during processing and refining.com/carbohydrates/how-carbohydrates-are-digested-and -used-by-the-body.html . breads.complex as more important than another because of the fact that the normal chain of events. Calcium in carbohydrate metabolism. easily possible." It is appropriate to make a comment here on this subject: It is fully possible. Dental caries. Please make special note of the above. can be broken by a lack of any one of the B vitamins. Calcium is taken from the bones and teeth to meet the needs for this important m ineral in carbohydrate metabolism.rawfoodexplained. The texts also recommend a dietary supplement containing all the fac tors to "avoid the evils of modern food refinement. http://www. but it is essenti al for anyone who wants and expects to regain and/or maintain good health. Actually. packaged cereals and pastas. It is not possible to have truly high-level health while continuing to indulge those very practices which undermine it. Even whole-grain products may complete ly lack calcium because of the destruction of this mineral during the destructiv e processes of cooking and baking. physiologically speaking. calcium is esse ntial in the metabolism of carbohydrates. it is not only easily possibl e and desirable to completely avoid ever eating refined foods. for it is one of the most important facts you need to completely understand and accept if you are to bring yourself and y our clients to a high level of well-being. But. t o "avoid the evils of modern food refinement" much more completely and many time s more effectively as far as good (healthful) results are concerned than by eati ng refined foods and taking supplements. and eating processed foods and taking food su pplements both undermine health. there are no problems. Like the B-complex vitamins. When calcium is present in context wit h the carbohydrate source (whole foods). Refined sugar and flour. as well a s rice. with today' s high consumption of refined foods.

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