Carbohydrates (saccharides) are organic compounds containing carbonyl and hydroxyl groups. They are the main source of energy for the body. For the first time, the name of the class of saccharides was introduced into scientific use by the Russian chemist K. G. Schmidt in 1844.

The term "carbohydrates" (English - carbohydrate) comes from the phrase "carbon hydrates" and combines low molecular weight and high molecular weight substances. The latter, in turn, contain residues of simple sugars. According to the chemical structure, they are divided into simple ( mono-, disaccharides), containing one or two units of saccharides, and complex (polysaccharides), consisting of three or more particles.

When the compound enters the body, the level of glucose increases, which causes a surge of vigor and strength. With a decrease in sugar concentration comes a feeling of depression, lethargy, hunger, mood worsens, all thoughts come down to food.

Simple or fast carbohydrates have a pronounced sweet taste, are easily absorbed by the body, and are characterized by a high glycemic index (GI). Such compounds dramatically increase the percentage of glucose in the blood. Complex or slow saccharides have a low GI and lead to a gradual increase in sugar levels in the body.

Compounds of this class make up 3% of the mass of animals, 80% of the dry weight of plants.

Carbohydrates are needed to nourish the brain, provide energy for all life processes, metabolize nutrients, regulate the functions of the central nervous system. In addition, the human body uses saccharides as a building material for the production of nucleic acids, immunoglobulins, amino acids, and enzymes.


Organic compounds of this class are the fastest source of energy.

Types of monosaccharides

Monosaccharides are represented by more than 5 types of compounds. The most relevant for the human body will be described below.


This is the most abundant member of the simple carbohydrate class. Glucose is the main source of energy for the brain. The compound enters the body with fruits and berries; it can be synthesized during the breakdown of starch, food disaccharides.

The main functions of glucose: nutrition of working muscles, in particular, the heart, participation in the formation of glycogen stores in the liver tissue, maintaining sugar within normal limits. At peak loads, it is used as an energy source, being released from amino acids and triglycerides. Glucose-rich foods: bananas, apples, peaches, grapes, persimmons, freshly squeezed fruit juices.


This is the most easily digestible, sweetest carbon and has the same properties as glucose. After entering the bloodstream, fructose is absorbed more slowly in the intestines, but is very quickly removed from the bloodstream.

Up to 80% of the substance is retained in the liver. Fructose, in relation to glucose, is more easily transformed into glycogen, is more sweet, and does not oversaturate the blood with sugar. Main sources of monosaccharide: honey, blackcurrants, peaches, apples, pears, raspberries, watermelons. Therefore, people suffering from diabetes mellitus may be allowed to consume 1 tsp. honey, but not sugar.


It is a breakdown product of lactose (the main carbohydrate in milk). The empirical formula of glucose, fructose, galactose is C6H12O6. In the free form, the compound does not occur.


A monosaccharide is included in the structure of nucleic acids, and its derivative, deoxyribose, is included in the DNA molecule. The structural formula is С5Н10О5. Ribose is involved in aerobic energy metabolism, determines the structure of genes, chromosomes, accelerates the absorption of creatine, fights free radicals, increases performance and endurance. Produced as a dietary supplement in the form of powder, capsules.


It is a monosaccharide belonging to the aldose. The empirical formula of the compound is С4H8O4. Erythrosis is an intermediate component of carbohydrate metabolism involved in the production of fructose-6-phosphate.

In nature, monosaccharides are most often found in molecules containing five carbohydrate atoms (pentoses) or six (hectoses). At the same time, the composition of heterofunctional compounds includes hydroxyl groups and one carbonyl (ketone or aldehyde).


Disaccharides are two monosaccharide residues connected to each other through the interaction of hydroxyl groups (one hemiacetal and one alcohol, or two hemiacetals). The general formula for carbohydrates with 2 saccharide units is C12H22O11.

Types of disaccharides

  1. Sucrose. Represents the largestvalue for the human body: in the process of hydrolysis, the compound is split into glucose, fructose. The most important food sources of sucrose are beet roots (up to 20%) and sugar cane stalks (up to 25%). In addition, it is found in large quantities in fruits, berries, fruits, maple syrup. The content of disaccharide in granulated sugar is 99.75%. When buying products, it is recommended to give preference to natural sources of organic compounds, which, when ingested, quickly decompose into monosaccharides, without creating a burden on the human gastrointestinal tract. An excess of carbohydrate enhances fat formation, contributes to the "fatty" degeneration of nutrients, namely protein (partially), triglycerides, starch. Abundant consumption of sugar enhances putrefactive processes in the intestines, disrupts the metabolism of cholesterol, causes flatulence, and increases the risk of diabetes.
  2. Lactose. It is the main carbohydrate in dairy products. The chemical formula of sucrose and lactose is C12H22O11. The disaccharide is broken down into galactose and glucose. Lactose deficiency causes gastrointestinal disturbances, indigestion, gas formation, milk intolerance . Deficiency of the compound in the human body is observed with insufficient production of the lactase enzyme.
  3. Maltose (malt sugar). The compound is formed as a result of the enzymatic breakdown of glycogen and starch in the digestive tract. Interestingly, maltose is inferior in sweetness to sucrose, but surpasses lactose. The structural formula is C12H24O12. Maltose contains two glucose residues. In free form, carbohydrate is found in the following foods: cereals, sprouted grains, beer, yeast, malt, honey, molasses.

In terms of chemical properties, lactose and maltose belong to the class of reducing (reducing) disaccharides, and sucrose to non-reducing (non-reducing).

In compounds of the first category, one of the monosaccharide residues takes part in the formation of a glycosidic bond with the help of a hydroxyl group. The presence of free hemiacetal hydroxyl determines the possibility of the substance to open the ring.

Non-reducing disaccharides have no OH-group at any anomeric center. As a consequence, they do not react with Tollens' reagent, Fehling's liquid.

Complex carbohydrates. Polysaccharides

Compounds of this category have a complicated molecular structure, they include from ten to several thousand monosaccharides. By structure, in the group of slow carbohydrates, homopolysaccharides are distinguished, which are synthesized from units of the same type and heteropolysaccharides containing two or more types of monomeric residues. The process of digestion of polysaccharidestakes 2-5 times longer than mono- or disaccharides.

There are the following types of complex carbohydrates: fibrous, starchy. The compounds of the first group are an indigestible part of plants; they pass through the gastrointestinal tract in transit without adding calories to the diet.

Fibrous polysaccharides (fiber) accelerate the passage of food through the digestive tract, protect against colon cancer, stomach and liver diseases. Starchy carbohydrates (glycogen) are a form of energy conservation in humans. Such polysaccharides provide a boost of energy for the whole day.

Consider representatives of the class of slow carbohydrates.

  1. Starch. The compound is a white powder, insoluble in cold water. About 80% of carbohydrates a person consumes from starch. The chemical formula of the substance is (C6H10O5) n. The compound accumulates in plant chloroplasts and passes into water-soluble sugars, from where it moves through cell membranes into tubers, roots, and seeds. In the human body, the starch of raw plants begins to break down in the mouth into maltose under the influence of saliva. Which once again proves the hypothesis that thorough chewing of food is the key to good digestion. In the gastric tract, the compound undergoes hydrolysis, as a result of which starch is converted into glucose. This reaction is aimed at meeting the needs of the human body for sugar. Long polysaccharide chains are ideal for providing the body with energy for a long time (day). Natural carbohydrate sources: bread, pasta, wheat, rice, legumes, cereals, potatoes.
  2. Glycogen. It is a polysaccharide formed by glucose residues. Glycogen is the main storage carbohydrate in the human body. It forms an energy reserve that can compensate for a sudden lack of glucose in the blood. The compound accumulates in the liver, muscles. The empirical formula of the compound is identical to starch - (C6H10O5) n. In the liver of adults, the total mass of glycogen can reach 120 grams, and in the muscles it can exceed the reserve accumulated in hepatocytes.
  3. Pectins. These substances are formed by galacturonic acid residues and are found in all fruits. In the food industry, compounds are used as thickeners, clarifiers, stabilizers, and water-retaining agents; in the medical industry, they are used to encapsulate drugs. The polysaccharide is registered as a food additive under the E440 mark. Pectin substances act as enterosorbents, they are not absorbed in the human gastrointestinal tract, but they provide triple health benefits: they reduce blood glucose levels and the amount of “bad” cholesterol, cleanse the body (removecarcinogens), reduce the possibility of cancer, heart disease. Sources of pectin: pears, quinces, persimmons, tangerines, grapefruits, apples, bananas, plums, pineapples, dates, blueberries, cherries, apricots, figs.
  4. Fiber. The polysaccharide is a plant fiber that is indigestible by the human digestive system, which led to the second name of the compound - "indigestible carbohydrates". Types of fiber: soluble (hemicellulose, pectin, resin), insoluble (cellulose, lignin). Complex carbohydrates of the first type slow down the absorption of glucose from the blood, lower the level of cholesterol in the body, while the second type absorbs liquid on its way, speeds up the passage of food through the gastrointestinal tract, and prevents constipation. In addition, fiber cleanses the body of toxins, saturates without extra calories and prevents the formation of gallstones. Polysaccharide rich foods: bran, almonds, soybeans, carrots, cabbage, apples, baby peas, peanuts, raisins, freshly squeezed orange juice, whole wheat, meat, fish products, sugar, milk, cheese. Every day a person needs 30 grams of fiber: 7.5 grams of insoluble and 22.5 grams of soluble.

Unlike mono- and disaccharides, glycogen, starch are gradually broken down in the intestines, providing a slow increase in blood sugar and a uniform saturation of the body with energy. In this regard, it is recommended to replenish the daily requirement for carbohydrates at the expense of polysaccharides (85% of the daily value). In this case, the use of rapidly absorbed compounds should be reduced to 15% of the total amount of saccharides eaten per day.

People with diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases should limit their intake of fast carbohydrates (flour, confectionery, sugar) to 5% per day.

Remember, it is better to use products containing natural sucrose, glucose, fructose (sprouted grains, vegetables, fruits, dried fruits) as the main sources of saccharides.

Foods containing fast, slow carbohydrates

To determine the rate of breakdown of saccharides, the glycemic index was introduced. Products with a GI above 69 units are classified as quickly soluble carbohydrates. Such ingredients put a great strain on the pancreas, lead to obesity and disruption of the heart, so their consumption should be minimized. Nutritionists recommend replacing mono- and disaccharides with polysaccharides. GI of slow carbohydratesexceeds 69 units.

​​ ]
Table No. 1 "Simple (fast) saccharides"
Product name GI index
Corn syrup 113
Beer 108
Dates 102
Rice and wheat syrup 100
Starch 100
Glucose syrup 100
Glucose 100
Fried potatoes 94
Rice flour 94
Fried potatoes, french fries 94
Baked potato 94
Potato starch [1 68]94
Maltodextrin 94
Instant potatoes 90
Honey 90
Sticky rice 90
Gluten-free white bread90
Celery root85
Maranta 85
Rice biscuits, puffed rice 85
Rice milk 85
White breakfast bread 85
Wheat flour, refined 85
Popcorn unsweetened 85
Turnip 85
Ri owl pudding 85
Parsnip 85
Hamburger buns 85
Corn cereal 85
Instant rice, popcorn 85
Cooked carrots 84
Tapioca (groats) 84
Cornstarch 84
Mashed potatoes 80
Muesli 80
Rice with milk 75
Sweet corrugations (wafers) 75
Pumpkin 75
Zucchini caviar 75
Lasagna 75
Donuts 74
Watermelon 72
Bagels and bagels 70
Corn porridge, hominy 70
White bread, baguette 70
Milk chocolate 70
Biscuit 70
Air amaranth 70
[32 6]
Product name Impressions body GI, points
Oatmeal 66
Boiled rice 65
Boiled potatoes 65
Beets 65
Raisin 65
Rye bread 65
Compote 60
Melon 60
Bananas 60
Mayonnaise 60
Cheese processed 57
Feta cheese 56
Persimmon 55
Jam 55
Coffee without sugar 52
Buckwheat 50
Egg 48
Grape juice 48
Red beans 40
Durum wheat pasta 38
Carrot 35
Oranges 35
Bran bread 35
Sausage 34
Milk 32
Kvass 30
Wine 30
Peaches 30
Dried apricots 30
Apples 30
Curd 30
Cream 10% 30
Marmalade 30
Sausages 28
Kefir 25
Prunes 25
Seaweed 23
Barley porridge 22
Dark chocolate (cocoa content above 60%) 22
Grapefruit 22
Apricots 20
Cucumbers 20
Dark chocolate 20
Nuts 15
Tomato juice 15
Olives 15
Olives 15
Soya 15
Blackcurrant 15
Ketchup 12
Tomatoes 10
Onion 10
Broccoli ) 10
White cabbage 10

As you can see, foods with a high GI (over 69 points) are mainly processed, starchy, sweet products: potatoes, cereals, cakes, pastries, bread, pasta, rice Low glycemic foods tend to include perishable goods.

Enriching your daily menu with useful slow carbohydrates, you can improve your health.

The biological role of saccharides

Functions of carbohydrates in the human body.

  1. Energy. Saccharides provide 65% of the nutritional value of the diet. When a gram of carbohydrate compounds is oxidized, four kilocalories of energy are released, which are dissipated as heat or “stored” directly in ATP molecules. When filling the daily human need for a useful compound, proteins (amino acids) are consumed by the body for energy needs only in an insignificant amount. As the mainsource of nutrition are stored carbohydrates (glycogen) or free glucose.
  2. Plastic. The human body uses ribose and deoxyribose to build nucleic acids, ATP, ADP. In addition, saccharides act as a structural part of cell membranes, and are partially contained in enzymes. Glucose conversion products, namely glucosamine, glucuronic acid, are concentrated in polysaccharides and complex proteins of cartilage tissue.
  3. Supply of nutrients. Organic compounds accumulate in the form of glycogen in the liver, skeletal muscles, and tissues. Polysaccharide reserves depend on the nature of nutrition, the functional state of the body, and body weight. Systematic muscle activity contributes to an increase in the amount of glycogen and, as a result, an increase in a person's energy capabilities.
  4. Specific. Carbohydrates play the role of anticoagulants, ensure the specificity of blood groups, are receptors for a chain of hormones, and have an antitumor effect.
  5. Protective. Polysaccharides are found in the components of the immune system. Mucopolysaccharides are part of the mucous substances that cover the surface of the vessels of the nose, urinary tract, bronchi, gastrointestinal tract and protect them from mechanical damage and the penetration of bacteria and viruses.
  6. Regulatory. Despite the fact that fiber from food does not break down in the intestines, it stimulates digestion, activates gastrointestinal enzymes, peristalsis, and improves nutrient absorption.
  7. Osmotic. Saccharides are involved in the regulation of excess hydrostatic pressure due to the content of glucose, which affects this indicator.

Thus, carbohydrates are compounds that perform a lot of useful functions for the full functioning of the body. Saccharides are involved in the processes of synthesis, secretion of glands, hormones and participate in the course of metabolic reactions. Without natural carbohydrates, no living organism will be able to withstand the attacks of viruses.

Carbohydrate metabolism in the human body

Carbohydrate metabolism is a set of reactions for converting saccharides and biological polymers into energy necessary for the life of the human body.

Stages of metabolism

  1. Digestion. The processing of carbohydrate foods begins in the mouth, where, under the influence of saliva enzymes, the first phases of starch breakdown occur. After food enters the stomach, the influence of enzymes ceases due to the aggressive influence of the acidic digestive juice (pH 1.5–2.5). At the same time, in the layers of the food mass, where the secret did not have time to penetrate, the action is still ongoing. As a result, a partial breakdown of polysaccharides occurs in the stomach withformation of maltose and dextrins. The most important phase of starch breakdown takes place in the duodenum, as the pH of pancreatic juice rises to neutral values, and amylase becomes maximally active. Polysaccharides break down to monosaccharides, including glucose, 90% of which enters the circulatory system through the capillaries of the intestinal villi, and then is delivered to the liver with the blood stream. The remaining saccharides enter the venous network through the lymphatic ducts.
  2. Intermediate exchange. In the liver, the absorbed glucose is converted into glycogen (a form of storage of carbohydrates), which accumulates in the form of microscopic granules. When the body needs energy, a signal is sent to the brain, after which blood saturated with glucose is delivered to the “destination”. The rate of saccharide breakdown depends on the degree of permeability of cell membranes. So, in the passive phase of wakefulness, the plasma membranes have a low permeability, as a result of which the penetration of glucose into the muscles occurs with a colossal expenditure of energy. During physical activity, cell permeability increases three times, which leads to the free flow of macronutrients into the tissue.
  3. Completion of metabolism. In tissues, the final breakdown of monosaccharides occurs in two ways: aerobic (in the presence of oxygen, pentose cycle) and anaerobic (oxygen-free glycolysis). In the first case, during the oxidation of glucose, the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine nucleotide phosphate (NADP) is formed, which is necessary for the occurrence of reductive synthesis. In the reactions of glycolysis, for each split glucose molecule, two molecules of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and lactic acid are synthesized. Pyruvic acid (an intermediate metabolite of carbohydrate metabolism), being oxidized to carbon dioxide and water in the tricarboxylic acid cycle, is not reduced to lactic acid (provided there is a sufficient amount of oxygen in the tissues).

The regulation of carbohydrate metabolism in the human body is carried out by hormones that are controlled by the central nervous system. For example, glucocorticosteroids (hydrocortisone, cortisone) inhibit the rate of transport of monosaccharides into cells, insulin accelerates the delivery of glucose to the tissue, adrenaline stimulates the process of "sugar formation" in the liver. In addition, the cerebral cortex is involved in the regulation of saccharides, increasing the synthesis of glucose through psychogenic factors.

The state of carbohydrate metabolism is judged by the content of glucose in the blood (the norm is 3.3-5.5 millimoles per liter). With the intake of foods rich in sugars, this value increases, and then quickly returns to acceptable limits.

Constant maintenance of blood glucose within the normal range occurs due tosimultaneous occurrence of two processes: the entry of saccharides into the blood from the liver and their consumption from the plasma by tissues, where they are used as an energy material. When sugar levels are high, the muscles and liver are oversaturated with glycogen, because of this, excess insulin transports it to the fat depot. This phenomenon is a harbinger of carbohydrate metabolism disorders.

Daily requirement

During the day, a person's well-being is determined by the daily intake of carbohydrates. 50% of the energy produced by the body comes from the action of saccharides. The daily requirement of an employee engaged in non-hard physical labor is calculated based on the condition: 5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight.

Athletes and people who systematically perform hard work should increase the amount of carbohydrates they eat per day to 8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Obese and overweight workers should reduce their daily saccharide intake to the “ideal” weight they aim to achieve.

Of the 100% carbohydrates consumed per day, 70% should be starchy foods (potatoes, legumes, cereals), 20% mono- or disaccharides (fruits, in particular bananas, pineapples), 10% - dietary fiber (vegetables, cereals).

For an even burst of energy throughout the day and the lack of hunger that occurs between meals, meals should be divided into five times. Small portions of food will improve the functioning of the digestive system and relieve stress from the gastrointestinal tract.

Table No. 3 "The body's need for carbohydrates during the day"
Group of people Age Men Women
carbohydrates, grams energy, thousand kJ carbohydrates, grams energy, thousand kJ
Predominantly knowledge workers 18-29 378 11.7 324 10.1
30- 39 365 11.3 310 9.6
40-59 344 10.7 297 9.2
Light manual workers 18 -29 412 12.6 351 10.7
30-39 399 12.2 337 10.3
40-59 378 11.5 323 9.8
Medium labor 18-29 440 13.4 371 11.3
30-39 426 13.0 358 10.9
40-59 406 12.4 344 10.5
Heavy manual workers 18-29 518 15.5 441 13.2
30-39 504 15.1 427 12.8
40-59 483 14.5 406 12.2
Workers engaged in particularly hard physical labor 18-29 602 18,0 - -
30-39 574 17.2 - -
40-59 546 16.3 - -

400 grams per day.

Carbohydrate metabolism imbalance: symptoms, causes

The main role of carbohydrates is determined by energy function. The rapid rate of breakdown of glucose, as well as its reactive extraction from the liver depot, causes emergency mobilization of resources during emotional overexcitation, intense sports, and overload.

In the blood of a healthy person, the concentration of glucose is maintained at a constant physiological level, regardless of food intake, wakefulness phases or physiological states of the body. Possible fluctuations are permissible, they are neutralized by the nervous and endocrine systems. Any violations lead to destabilization (decrease or increase) of glucose levels, causing, in some cases, hormonal disruptions.

When sugar drops to 2.2 - 1.7 millimoles per liter, a condition called hypoglycemic coma develops.

Depending on the degree of decrease in blood sugar, the following symptoms appear:

  • fatigue, weakness ;
  • trembling of limbs;
  • drowsiness;
  • "fading" of the heart;
  • dizziness (up to fainting );
  • pale skin;
  • excessive sweating (sweatcold);
  • convulsions ;
  • palpitations;
  • "foggy" consciousness.

When these symptoms appear, immediately eat a portion of instant carbohydrates (if consciousness is preserved) or give the patient an injection of glucose (if unconscious).

If the fasting blood sugar concentration exceeds the upper limit of 5.5 millimoles per liter, hyperglycemia develops, a condition in which the glucose content is so high that the resulting insulin "cannot" completely neutralize.

Primary symptoms of hyperglycemia:

  • persistent thirst;
  • reduced immunity;
  • pruritus;
  • weakness;
  • smell of acetone from the mouth;
  • nausea;
  • headache;
  • profuse urination ;
  • decrease in blood pressure.

As a result of systematically high glucose levels, the human body ceases to synthesize insulin, as a result of which the energy supply mechanism of cells is disrupted. Hyperglycemia most often manifests itself against the background of hormonal diseases, an enlarged thyroid gland, liver and kidney failure.

Remember, it is important to contact an endocrinologist immediately if you experience symptoms of hypo- or hyperglycemia. Prolonged inactivity threatens to further aggravate the pathology, the development of diseases of the endocrine glands, further hormonal failure, and death.

Causes of disorders of carbohydrate metabolism:

  • malabsorption of saccharides in the digestive tract;
  • hereditary pathologies accompanied by an imbalance in the functioning of the enzyme apparatus (Girke's disease and glycogenoses);
  • conditions that cause failure in intermediate carbohydrate metabolism (liver disease, hyperlaccidemia, acidosis, hypoxia associated with anemia, or circulatory disorders);
  • low carbohydrate diets, fasting;
  • fetal development disorder;
  • prolonged hypovitaminosis of vitamin B1 ;
  • excessive consumption of sweets (cakes, pastries);
  • the predominance of fats and light carbohydrates in the diet;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • alcohol abuse, due to a decrease in the activity of enzymes and inhibition of the pancreas;
  • unbalanced nutrition;
  • hormonal disruptions.

An imbalance in carbohydrate metabolism is manifested by excessive or insufficient concentrationblood glucose, impaired functioning of the endocrine glands and chronic diseases of the digestive tract.

Consequences of impaired metabolism of saccharides in the body

Let us consider common diseases that occur as a result of dysfunction of carbohydrate metabolism.

  1. Diabetes mellitus is a condition caused by insufficient production of insulin or a violation of its absorption by the cells of the body, resulting in an increase in blood glucose (hyperglycemia), a decrease in the concentration of glycogen in the liver, saccharides in the urine (glucosuria). In this case, the cells do not receive the necessary energy for full-fledged life, which leads to disruption of the normal functioning of organs. Muscle tissue loses its inherent ability to utilize blood saccharides, and the liver, on the contrary, against the background of a decrease in the intensity of biochemical reactions, increases the synthesis of gluconeogenesis enzymes. With the development of diabetes, a person develops a constant feeling of hunger, fatigue, dry mouth, vaginal infections, frequent urination, thinness, blurred vision, numbness of the limbs, decreased libido, tingling in the hands and feet. The introduction of insulin injections leads to a rapid correction of metabolic shifts: the balance between glycolysis and gluconeogenesis is restored, and the permeability of the membranes of muscle cells for glucose is normalized. The pancreatic hormone controls these processes at the genetic level, acting as an inducer of the synthesis of glycolysis and glycogen synthase enzymes. In this regard, even with preserved secretion of corticosteroids, the elimination of the influence of insulin leads to a sharp increase in the concentration and synthesis of gluconeogenesis enzymes, which, in most cases, cause a hyperglycemic crisis. This phenomenon occurs due to the excitation of the metabolic centers of the brain by impulses from the chemoreceptors of cells that experience energy hunger due to insufficient supply of glucose to tissue cells.
  2. Glycogenoses are hereditary diseases caused by impaired glycogen synthesis due to deficiency of certain enzymes that are involved in carbohydrate metabolism. In this case, the clinical picture of the pathology directly depends on the nature of the failure. In Gierke's disease, glycogen accumulates in the muscles, kidneys, and liver; in Andersen and Hers disease, it accumulates mainly in the liver; in Pompe disease, it accumulates in the myosomes, kidneys, heart, and brain.
  3. Fructose intolerance is a condition resulting from malabsorption of natural sugar due to a lack of the enzyme fructokinase.
  4. Galactosemia is a hereditary pathology, which is based on a failure in carbohydrate metabolism on the path of modification of galactose into glucose. This phenomenon is due to the mutation of the genome,responsible for the enzyme that breaks down "simple" monosaccharides.
  5. Insulin resistance (prediabetes) is a complex of interrelated changes in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, in which insulin sensitivity is reduced. This dysfunction leads to a violation of the penetration of glucose into the liver tissue, as a result of which damage to the pancreas begins. The condition may be associated with thyroid disease, obesity, hormonal imbalance, fluctuations in blood sugar, high levels of triglycerides.
  6. Malabsorption syndrome is a complex of symptoms that occur when there is a violation of the absorption of macro and micronutrients, including carbohydrates, in the small intestine. It develops against the background of hereditary or acquired pathology, proceeding with the syndrome of digestive insufficiency.
  7. Modifications of the pancreas - diseases caused by impaired secretion of enzymes, including carbohydrate ones. These include pancreatitis, benign and malignant neoplasms.

Symptoms of hereditary disorders of carbohydrate metabolism appear in the first days of a child's life during breastfeeding (with lactase deficiency) or after switching to artificial formulas (with deficiency of disaccharidases or os-amylase). These pathologies in 80% of cases are accompanied by a lag in the physical development of the infant and chronic dysbacteriosis.

If an imbalance in carbohydrate metabolism is suspected in the baby's body, you should immediately contact your pediatrician.

Food sources

Sugars are mainly found in fruits, vegetables, berries, dairy products, cereals, freshly squeezed juices, sweet flour products. To lose weight, nutritionists recommend limiting carbohydrate intake to 60 grams per day, to maintain body weight at a stable level - to 200 grams, to gain weight - to eat more than 300 grams daily.

Mono-, di- and polysaccharides are found mainly in plant products.

] (73 3) Confectionery ) ]
Table No. 3 "The body's need for carbohydrates during the day"
Product name Calories in kilocalories per 100 grams Carbohydrate content in 100 grams of product, grams
Rice 372 87.5
Corn flakes 368 85
Plain flour 350 80
Barley 324 73.7
Millet 334 69.3
Buckwheat329 68
Oatmeal 345 65.4
Raw oats, nuts, dried fruits 368 65
Nut 328 54
White bread 233 50
Wholemeal bread 216 42.5
Cooked rice 123 30
Wheat bran 206 27.5
Boiled macaroni 117 25
Wheat bran 165 3.8
Cream cake 440 67.5
Shortbread 504 65
Sweet pastry 527 55
Biscuit dry 301 55
Eclairs 376 37.5
Milk ice cream 167 25
Milk and dairy products
Fruit kefir 52 17.5
Whole milk powder without sugar 158 12.5
Kefir 52 5
Meat and meat products
Fried beef sausage 265 15
Fried pork sausage 318 12.5
Liver sausage 310 5
Fish and seafood
Fried shrimp 316 30
Cod fried in oil 199 7.5
Breaded flounder 228 7.5
Perch, cooked in the oven 196 5
Lentils 310 53.7
Potatoes fried in vegetable oil 253 37.5
Boiled corn 70 22.5
Garlic 106 21.2
Raw green pepper 15 20
Boiled potatoes 80 17.5
Horseradish 71 16.3
Sweet corn kernels 76 15
Green olives 125 12.7
Boiled beets 44 10
Black olives 361 8.7
Parsley (greens) 45 8
Cooked beans 48 7.5
Eggplant 24 5.5
Boiled carrots 19 5
Tomatoes (ground) 19 4.2
Dried raisins 246 65
) Dried currants 243 62.5
Dried dates 248 62.5
Dried rose hips 253 60
Prunes 161 40
Fresh bananas 79 [8 94]20
Grapes 61 15
Fresh cherries 47 12.5
Mulberry 53 12.5
Pineapple 48 12
Fresh apples 37 10
Fresh peaches37 10
Fresh green figs 41 10
Pears 41 10
Raspberry 41 9
Black currant (fresh) 40 8
Kiwi 47 8
Blueberries 37 7.7
Fresh apricots 28 7.5
Fresh oranges 35 7.5
Fresh tangerines 34 7.5
Sea buckthorn 30 5.5
Sugar-free blackcurrant compote 24 ) 5
Fresh grapefruit 22 5
Honey melons 21 5
Fresh raspberries 25 5
Chestnuts 170 37.5
Cashew 600 22, 5
Pine nuts 675 20
Poppy 556 14.5
Soft nut butter 623 12.5
Hazelnuts 650 9
Hazelnuts 380 7.5
Dried coconut 604 7.5
Salted roasted peanuts 570 7.5
Sunflower seeds 578 5
Sesame seeds ta 565 5
Almond 565 5
Walnuts 525 5
Sugar and jam
White sugar 394 105
Honey 288 77.5
Jam 261 70
Marmalade 261 70
Lollipops 327 87.5
Iris 430 70
Milk chocolate 529 60
Soft drinks
Liquid chocolate 366 77.5
Cocoa powder 312 12.5
Coca Cola 39 10
Lemonade 21 5
Dried boletus 314 37
White dried 286 9
Fresh boletus 31 3.4
Fresh butternuts 19 3.2
Truffles 24 2
Fresh Russula 17 1.4
Fresh milk mushrooms 18 1.1
White fresh 34 1.1
Mushrooms 27 0.5
Alcoholic beverages
Alcohol 70% 222 35
Dry vermouth 118 25
Red wine 68 20
Dry white wine 66 20
Beer 32 10
Sauces and marinades
Sweet marinade 134 35
Tomato ketchup 98 ) 25
Mayonnaise 311 15
Chicken noodle soup 20 5

since the lack of polysaccharides in the diet introduces the body into a stressfulcondition that can adversely affect health. It must be remembered that the beneficial intestinal microflora needs regular feeding, which is provided by saccharides.

Carbohydrates in sports

Among the variety of nutrients, carbohydrates are most actively involved in energy production. In the course of metabolic reactions, 2 times more resource is released than in lipid metabolism. Considering that oxygen is the limiting factor during prolonged training, it is advisable for athletes to use a carbohydrate energy source that requires the lowest concentration of O2 for continuous energy production. Along with this, saccharides accelerate the burning of adipose tissue and potentiate muscle building. However, to get a lasting effect, it is important to know what type of carbohydrates are needed in a particular phase of the training cycle.

Consider a stepwise plan for taking saccharides during exercise.

  1. Before the competition. Before exercise, food is needed to satisfy hunger and replenish plasma glucose concentrations. If you train in the morning on an empty stomach, there is a rapid depletion of glycogen in the liver, which leads to a decrease in performance. Therefore, to maintain the proper level of glucose, it is advisable to plan morning exercises 1-4 hours after a high-calorie low-fat breakfast (60-70% of the daily diet). A portion of carbohydrates is calculated based on the ratio: 4 grams per kilogram of the athlete's weight. The shorter the interval between meals and physical activity, the less food you need to eat. So, 4 hours before training, they consume 4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight, and 1 hour before training - grams per kilogram of body weight. Along with this, 15 minutes before playing sports, it is advisable to drink 200 milliliters of pure non-carbonated water (to compensate for future fluid losses). This diet helps the athlete to approach the competition with an empty stomach, a complete cycle of enzyme formation, and a supply of glycogen in the muscles and liver.
  2. During training or competition. With prolonged loads that require endurance (1-3 hours or more), it is important to replenish the energy costs of the body. To do this, during physical exertion, every 20-40 minutes take 200 milliliters of a carbohydrate drink. The optimal glucose content is 7-8%. A low concentration (up to 5%) is ineffective, and a high concentration (from 10%) is fraught with spastic pains, nausea and diarrhea. Thanks to regular nutrition, the athlete's performance and endurance increase, and the onset of fatigue is delayed.
  3. Carbohydrate intake after exercise. At the end of intensive sports, the rate of recovery of glycogen in the muscles is 5% per hour. In view ofof this, the replenishment of energy reserves in the body occurs after 20 - 24 hours, subject to the consumption of 600 - 900 grams of carbohydrates. The choice of products directly depends on the ability to increase plasma glucose. For emergency replenishment of sugar reserves, it is recommended to eat 100 grams of carbohydrate food within 30 minutes after training. Considering that appetite is reduced after exercise, carbohydrate-containing drinks are an acceptable way to consume saccharides. In the first 6 to 24 hours after sports, consume food with a moderate or high glycemic index. In later periods, complex carbohydrates will help increase the concentration of glycogen in the muscles. In addition, adding 5 to 9 grams of protein for every 100 grams of carbohydrates helps activate the glucose branching enzyme (glycogen synthetase), which speeds up glycogen resynthesis in the muscles.

To achieve the desired result, it is advisable to coordinate the carbohydrate intake regimen with a nutritionist. Uncontrolled intake of saccharides during training threatens the development of serious problems: weight gain, depression, muscle flabbiness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the harm of eating too much carbohydrates?

Abundant intake of saccharides with food depletes the insulin apparatus, disrupts the processing, absorption of food, leads to a deficiency of mineral salts in the body, and causes malfunctions in organs and systems. In addition, the breakdown products of carbohydrates inhibit the growth of beneficial microorganisms for human health. For example, baker's yeast come into conflict with the intestinal microflora.

What principles should be followed when consuming polysaccharides?

It is preferable to eat carbohydrates in the morning, since it is easier for the body to process sugar before lunch. Toward evening, the likelihood of deposition of fast mono- and disaccharides as extra pounds increases. Remember, glucose absorption is slowed down by fiber, pectin, proteins, so a baked apple, dried fruits, marshmallows, marshmallows will be safer for the figure than pastries or cakes.

How many kilocalories do saccharides contain?

Considering the fact that carbohydrates contain similar compounds that differ only in the method of molecular organization and their quantity, the energy value of fiber, starch, fructose, according to the literature, is 3.75 kilocalories per 1 gram. Vegetable fibers in the human body are practically not digested, as a result, the final indicator of the calories received from the dish depends directly on the composition of the saccharide. For example, the amount of energy released from complex carbohydrates, inin particular, cereals, vegetables is 50 - 70%, and sugar from carbonated drinks increases to 95 - 100%.

Why are carbohydrate-free diets dangerous?

Refusal of saccharides causes a lack of dietary fiber, antioxidants (vitamins A, C). Losing extra pounds on protein diets leads to a deficiency of vitamins in the body and wear and tear of internal organs that work hard to process amino acids. This process is much more complicated than the breakdown and digestion of carbohydrates. Restructuring the body to extract energy from protein products is very difficult.

Are carbohydrates concentrated only in solid foods?

What role do polysaccharides play in weight loss?

If a person is faced with the task of losing extra pounds, fast (simple) carbohydrates, which lead to the accumulation of fatty tissues, should be excluded from the diet. In this case, nutritionists recommend switching to polysaccharides. The compounds are slowly broken down, gradually saturating the body and eliminating the feeling of hunger. Monosaccharides, on the contrary, suppress appetite for a short time, after which you need to re-eat.

What are phytonutrients and how are they related to carbohydrates?

Phytonutrients are the active ingredients of vegetables and fruits. These compounds, like carbohydrates, are concentrated in components of plant origin. Thus, when consuming berries and root crops, a person receives phytonutrients with food that slow down the aging process, burn fat, fight inflammation, and participate in metabolism.

How many saccharides should be consumed during the day?

The daily intake of carbohydrates depends on the activity and purpose of the person (see Table No. 3 "The body's need for carbohydrates during the day").

Is it true that all dairy products contain a lot of carbohydrates?

This is nothing more than a myth. Indeed, milk contains the disaccharide lactose, which is broken down to galactose by the enzyme lactase. The processed monosaccharide, when oxidized, forms mucus, galacturonic, galactonic acids, it is easily absorbed and enters the bloodstream. At the same time, 100 grams of whole milk contains only 4.7 grams of carbohydrates and 60 kilocalories, respectively.

How much saccharides should be consumed daily to prevent ketosis?

The minimum requirement is 130 grams (55% of daily calories).

How to nourish the body with energy without harming yourself?

Whole grains allowed for frequent consumption: brown rice, pancakes, unleavened pancakes, crispbread, cereals, pasta, oats. In addition, it is recommended to eat legumes, low-fat dairy products, vegetables and fruits. Sometimes you can include potatoes, white rice, flour products from white flour, fruit juice in the daily diet. Try to exclude sweets and desserts from the menu: ice cream, sherbet, potato chips, pastries, pies, cakes, salted pretzels, sweet cereals, soda, pastries, donuts, sweets and table sugar.


Carbohydrates are an important component of a healthy diet. To make wellness your constant companion, nutritionists recommend reducing the intake of harmful monosaccharides by increasing the intake of polysaccharides. This will prevent insulin release into the blood, the development of dangerous diseases and weight gain.

Consuming foods with a low GI (up to 55 - 69) will give a feeling of lightness, provide a uniform burst of energy throughout the day, a good mood and a toned figure.