Biology and You

You and Food

How are carbohydrates classified?

Carbohydrates are classified in several ways. Monosaccharides (single-unit sugars) are grouped by the number of carbon molecules they contain: triose has three, pentose has five, and hexose has six. Carbohydrates are also classified by their overall length (monosaccharide, disaccharide, polysaccharide) or function. Examples of functional definitions are storage polysaccharides (glycogen and starch), which store energy, and structural polysaccharides (cellulose and chitin), which provide support for organisms without a bony skeleton.


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