Carbohydrates are defined as compounds that are composed of simple sugars (monosaccharides). They were initially named this because they contain both carbon (carbo) and H2O (water), as shown in Figure 2.1.
Until recently, most medical textbooks focused primarily on the nutrient/energy roles played by three simple sugars (glucose, fructose, and galactose), three disaccharides (sucrose, lactose, and maltose), as well as the fiber/energy roles of complex carbohydrates (cellulose, glycogen, and starch). Over 200 simple carbohydrates are now known to be produced by plants. Eight of these carbohydrates (galactose, glucose, mannose, N-acetylneuraminic acid, fructose 6, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylglucosamine, and xylose) are now recognized as being essential for health, and new roles for carbohydrates are constantly being discovered (1).
FIGURE 2.1 Glucose.
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WHAT IT IS A three-phase plan that has been likened to the low-carbohydrate Atkins program because during the first two weeks, South Beach eliminates most carbs, including bread, pasta, potatoes, fruit and most dairy products. In PHASE 2, healthy carbs, including most fruits, whole grains and dairy products are gradually reintroduced, but processed carbs such as bagels, cookies, cornflakes, regular pasta and rice cakes remain on the list of foods to avoid or eat rarely.