Functions of Carbohydrates in the body

Functions of Carbohydrates in the body
Functions of Carbohydrates in the body
Functions of Carbohydrates in the body

The” functions of carbohydrates in the body” are vital because they act as an instant source of energy for the body. Carbohydrates also play a structural and functional role in the body. Here are the functions of carbohydrates.

Functions of simple carbohydrates in the body:

Among simple carbohydrates, there are mono and di-saccharides. But, Glucose is the simplest carbohydrate. Meanwhile, it has many important functions in the body. Because It is an instant source of energy for our body. Glucose is part of our daily life nutrition. It is also a cheap source of energy. Glucose is sweet in taste. So, it gives a sweet taste to our diet. Fructose is another simple carbohydrate. It is present in fruits, honey root vegetables, and processed foods. Similarly, in disaccharides, there are sucrose, maltose, and lactose which are common. Sucrose is the source of energy in the body.

Functions of Carbohydrate in the body:

  • Firstly, It is an instant source of energy for our body.
  • Also Imparts a sweet taste to our diet.
  • Acts as monomers of other complex carbohydrates.
  • Binds with proteins but, in form of glycoproteins, which is part of the cell membrane.
  • An easily distributed and readily soluble form of energy.
  • Glycoproteins plays role in the immunity of the body.
  • However,Basic fuel for metabolism in the body.

Functions of Fructose in the body:

It is an isomer of glucose. Fructose is called “Fruit sugars”.It is the sweetest among all carbohydrates. Its sources are fruits, honey, whole wheat, and oats, and certain vegetables.

  • Firstly,it is an alternative metabolite to provide energy to the body.
  • Acts as an intermediate in cellular metabolism.
  • used to enhance the taste of foods,such as assweet taste
  • 50% of table sugar is fructose.
  • causes less dental caries than other carbohydrates.
  • Rapidly glycolysis in the liver.

However, excess amounts of fructose cause serious complications in the body. In the liver excess amount of fructose is converted into fats.


Galactose is also monosaccharide sugar. It is called “milk sugar”.The molecular formula of galactose is the same as that of glucose. Sources of galactose are such as sugar beets, gums, mucilages, avocados, and dairy products, honey, cherries, and Kiwifruit.

  • Galactose comes from lactose hydrolysis.
  • Has an important role in the body.
  • Acts as an alternative source of energy but, in the absence of glucose
  • Participates in the formation of the myelin sheath.
  • plays role in the immune system in the form of Galactosylation of IgG.
  • Glycoproteins act infertility but,by exocytosis.
  • Helps in maintaining bacterial flora.
  • Involves the biosynthesis of many complex carbohydrates, such as glycoproteins and glycolipids
  • Forms part of glycolipids,hence important.
  • used in many enzymes formation.
  • Acts as a precursor of glucose.
  • Essential for the brain because it forms the myelin sheath of nerves.

Sucrose an important disaccharide

Sucrose is a common disaccharide. It is also called “table sugar. Sucrose consists of one glucose and one fructose molecule. In sucrose glucose and fructose are linked together by glycosidic linkage. Sucrose is sweet in taste, present in crystalline form. Naturally, it is present in sugarcane, honey, dates, sugar beets, papaya, corn, sweet potato, and peaches. It is also present in processed foods such as cakes, candies, fruit juices,

  • Provides energy to the body.
  • Acts as a storage form of glucose and fructose.
  • Use in the manufacture of wine.
  • Syrup of fruits using sugar.


Maltose is a disaccharide. It has two glucose units linked together by glycosidic linkage. Maltase enzyme hydrolysis maltose into glucose. It occurs in a combined form with other sugars. Maltose is present in sweet potatoes, spelt, Honey, Bagels, Edamame, and cherries.

  • Maltose is added to products because it is less sweet than other simple carbohydrates.
  • Acts as an intermediate in starch digestion.
  • Used in candies and frozen desserts because it has the ability of heat tolerance
  • In the gut, enzymes breakdown starch in the maltose
  • We use it in alcohol production.


Oligosaccharides are carbohydrates having 3 to 10 units of monosaccharides. Glycosidic bond links these monosaccharides. Oligosaccharides can be hydrolyzed into monosaccharide units. Galactooligosaccharides such as raffinose are dietary fibers.

  • Oligosaccharides also bind with proteins, forming glycoproteins.
  • Xylo-Oligosaccharides help in vitamin B formation.
  • Involve in reduction of blood pressure.
  • Prevent constipation.
  • Reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
  • Helps in Calcium absorption.
  • provide food to probiotics in the body.
  • promote gut health.


Polysaccharides are carbohydrates made up of many thousands of monosaccharides units.

Starch, Glycogen, and Cellulose are common polysaccharides. On hydrolysis, polysaccharides give many monosaccharides. Our body is unable to digest cellulose because the human body lacks cellulase enzymes.

It is present in the cell walls of plants. Cellulose consists of linear chains of glucose.


It is a polysaccharide consisting of many thousands of glucose units, linked by glycosidic linkage. Starch is present in dates, potatoes, bread rice, cereals grains, and root vegetables.

  • Important to the source of energy.
  • It stores glucose.


Glycogen is also a polysaccharide, which consists of many glucose units. Animals store energy in the form of glycogen. In our body when glucose is in the excess amount it is stored in the form of glycogen. The metabolism of glycogen occurs in the liver and muscles. By the process of glyconeogenesis glycogen is synthesized

  • Maintains concentration of glucose in the blood.
  • Acts as ATP source But in muscles.
  • Acts energy source when glucose is not present.


Cellulose,non-digestible carbohydrate in the human body. Cellulose is a polymer of glucose. In the human body, there are no enzymes to digest cellulose.

  • Cellulose forms the cell walls of plants.
  • In the form of fiber, it improves digestion.

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DietPK Team

Dietpk Team

Dn Naseem Abbas and his team are a group of Nutritionists. does not provide any nutritional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content on our website is just for information purposes only.

91 thoughts on “Functions of Carbohydrates in the body

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