Encyclopedia of Exercise Medicine in Health and Disease

2012 Edition
| Editors: Frank C. Mooren

Metabolism: Carbohydrate

  • Yajun ChenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29807-6_132

Carbohydrates are one of the three main types of foods, known as macronutrients, along with proteins and fats. A carbohydrate is an organic compound with a general empirical formula of approximately Cm(H2O), that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 (as in water). Carbohydrates can be viewed as hydrates of carbon, hence their name. Structurally however, it is more accurate to view them as polyhydroxy aldehydes and ketones.

Carbohydrates (saccharides) are commonly divided into four chemical groupings in biochemistry: monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. In general, the monosaccharides and disaccharides, which are smaller (lower molecular weight) carbohydrates, are commonly referred to as sugars [2]. The term “saccharide” comes from the Greek word σάκχαρον (sákkharon), meaning “sugar.” While the scientific nomenclature of carbohydrates is complex, the names of the monosaccharides and disaccharides...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Public HealthSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina