What Elements Make Up Carbohydrates?

PPT Carbon Compounds PowerPoint Presentation, free download ID5444669


Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients that our bodies need for energy, along with proteins and fats. They are found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products. But what exactly are carbohydrates made of? In this article, we will explore the elements that make up carbohydrates.

The Basic Structure of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are made up of three elements: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The ratio of these elements determines the type of carbohydrate. For example, simple carbohydrates have a higher ratio of hydrogen to oxygen than complex carbohydrates.


The simplest form of carbohydrates is called a monosaccharide. Monosaccharides are made up of a single sugar molecule and are the building blocks of more complex carbohydrates. The most common monosaccharides are glucose, fructose, and galactose.


Disaccharides are made up of two monosaccharides linked together. The most common disaccharides are sucrose, lactose, and maltose. Sucrose is commonly known as table sugar and is made up of glucose and fructose. Lactose is found in dairy products and is made up of glucose and galactose. Maltose is found in beer and is made up of two glucose molecules.


Polysaccharides are made up of many monosaccharides linked together. They are the most complex type of carbohydrate and can be found in foods such as grains, potatoes, and beans. The two most common polysaccharides are starch and cellulose. Starch is a storage form of glucose in plants, while cellulose is a structural component of plant cell walls.

The Role of Carbohydrates in the Body

Carbohydrates are a vital source of energy for the body. When we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which is then used by the body for fuel. Carbohydrates also play a role in brain function and are important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Carbohydrates

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Simple carbohydrates, such as those found in candy and soda, can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels and provide little nutritional value. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains and vegetables, are digested more slowly and provide a steady source of energy. It is important to choose the right types of carbohydrates to maintain optimal health.


In conclusion, carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They come in three forms: monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides. Carbohydrates are a vital source of energy for the body and play a role in brain function and digestive health. Choosing the right types of carbohydrates is important for maintaining optimal health.