Basic Biology

Biological Compounds

What are some of the uses of carbohydrates by the body?

Carbohydrates are mainly used as an energy source by the body. Different carbohydrates have different functions. The following chart identifies some common carbohydrates and their uses.

Carbohydrate Name Type Use by the Body
Deoxyribose Monosaccharide DNA; constituent of hereditary material
Fructose Monosaccharide Important in cellular metabolism of carbohydrates
Galactose Monosaccharide Found in brain and nerve tissue
Glucose Monosaccharide Main energy source for the body
Ribose Monosaccharide Constituent of RNA
Lactose Disaccharide Milk sugar; aids the absorption of calcium
Sucrose Disaccharide Produces glucose and fructose upon hydrolysis
Cellulose Polysaccharide Not digestible by the body, but is an important fiber that provides bulk for the proper movement of food through the intestines
Glycogen Polysaccharide Stored in the liver and muscles until needed as energy source and is then converted to glucose
Heparin Polysaccharide Prevents excessive blood clotting
Starch Polysaccharide Chief food carbohydrate in human nutrition


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