Carbohydrates in biological system

Carbohydrates are polyhydroxy aldehydes, ketones, alcohol, acids, their simple derivatives and their polymers having linkages of the acetal type.

Carbohydrates are an essential component of the human diet responsible for supplying energy to the host and its complex gastrointestinal microflora, but also for having an overall role in physiology including maintaining gastric function, hepatic metabolism and glycosylation of lipids and proteins necessary for other physiological functions.

Each gram of starch or sugar gives four calories to the body. About 65 top 80 –percent of energy is supplied by the carbohydrates, mainly in the form of starch.
Some of this energy is used as glucose to supply immediate energy needs of the body, a small portion is stored as glycogen (about 350 g) mainly in the muscles and liver; and any excess intake is converted to fat and stored as adipose tissue. Glucose is the source of energy for the central nervous system.

Another important function is to spare proteins for their main function of tissue building and maintenance. It is important to supply sufficient carbohydrates and fats to meet the essential energy needs of the body, otherwise proteins are metabolized to meet energy requirement of the body.

A third functions is related to proper utilization of fat from the diet. It is that fats burn in the flame of carbohydrates, indicating the need for major part of energy to be supplied in the form of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate-containing foods are vehicles for important micronutrients and phytochemicals. Dietary carbohydrate is important to maintain glycemic homeostasis and for gastrointestinal integrity and function.

Certain carbohydrates have special role in the body. Lactose aids the absorption of calcium, Ribose a five carbon sugar, is a part of the important compounds DNA and RNA. Cellulose and other indigestible carbohydrates aid the movements of food through the digestive tract by their capacity to absorb water and help to maintain muscle tone.

There are many researches linking the consumption of complex nonstarch polysaccharides with a reduced risk of chronic disease including diabetes, cardiovascular and cancers.
Carbohydrates in biological system
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