Month: May 2015: terms

Club Sandwich and Fries

Carbohydrates Without Guilt?

Are all carbohydrates alike or is there some substance to the good-carb-bad-carb arguments? A Google search suggests that even researchers, doctors and nutritionists can’t agree. However, if you can filter out everything with political, self-promotional or other commercial motives, all that remains is biochemistry. The challenge, then, is to distill what’s left into something more approachable. That’s the goal, anyway, so let’s get started. So exactly what are Carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are a group of biochemical compounds called saccharides, which comes from the Latin, saccharum, meaning… well, “sugar”. Does that mean all carbohydrates are sugars? Biochemically, yes, but they don’t all have the same function, so this is where we will need to make some practical distinctions. Simple Carbohydrates The simplest carbohydrates are molecules called monosaccharides. You’ll recognise them by such names as glucose (dextrose), fructose and galactose. Notice these names all end in -ose. This is true for most, but not all saccharides. If you join two monosaccharides together into a single molecule, you get a disaccharide. You probably recognise names like sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk sugar) and maltose (malt sugar). The ones I’ve mentioned so far are all water soluble and sweet to the tongue—for humans anyway. You …

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