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What are saccharides?
Saccharides, or carbohydrates, are sugars or starches. Saccharides consist of two basic compounds: aldehydes (composed of double-bonded carbon and oxygen atoms, plus a hydrogen atom), and keytones (composed of double-bonded carbon and oxygen atoms, plus two additional carbon atoms).
There are various types of saccharides, including monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.
This is the smallest possible sugar unit. Examples include glucose, galactose or fructose. When we talk about blood sugar we are referring to glucose in the blood; glucose is a major source of energy for a cell.2 In human nutrition, galactose can be found most readily in milk and dairy products, while fructose is found mostly in vegetables and fruit.
When monosaccharides merge together in linked groups they are known as polysaccharides.
Two monosaccharide molecules bonded together. Disaccharides are polysaccharides - "poly..." specifies any number higher than one, while "di..." specifies exactly two. Examples of disaccharides include lactose, maltose, and sucrose. If you bond one glucose molecule with a fructose molecule you get a sucrose molecule.
Sucrose is found in table sugar, and is often formed as a result of photosynthesis (sunlight absorbed by chlorophyll reacting with other compounds in plants). If you bond one glucose molecule with a galactose molecule you get lactose, which is commonly found in milk.