The simplest of all carbohydrates, or sugars. As part of your post exercise recovery, simple sugars can have
Glucose (or Dextrose)
. Commonly termed blood sugar, glucose is found naturally in food and is in almost every
carbohydrate formation. The digestion of all forms of carbohydrate produces glucose, as does the process of
releasing glucose from stored muscle or liver (called glycogenolysis), or the formation of glucose from amino
acids and triglycerides (called gluconeogenesis).
Fructose (or Levulose)
. Called fruit sugar, fructose appears in large amounts in fruits and honey, and is
considered the sweetest of the simple sugars.
. You won't find a natural free-form source of this simple sugar. Instead, galactose binds with glucose
to form milk sugar, or lactose.
The combination of two monosaccharides, at least one of which is glucose, forms these simple sugars.
Sucrose. The combination of glucose and fructose forms sucrose, also called table sugar. It's the most common
of the simple sugars, and is present in naturally occurring carbohydrate foods like honey, cane sugar, beets
and maple syrup.
. Occurring naturally in milk, lactose, or milk sugar, is the least sweet of the simple sugars. The
digestive disorder lactose intolerance occurs when lactase, the enzyme responsible for splitting galactose and
glucose, isn't present in sufficient quantities.
. Two glucose molecules combine to form maltose, or malt sugar, and maltose is also formed whenever a
starch (another form of carbs) is broken down during digestion or fermentation. Sources include cereals,
germinating seeds and malt liquor's namesake, beer.
Otherwise known as complex carbs, because they're formed when multiple simple sugars combine, polysaccharides
should constitute the greatest percentage of your daily carb intake.
These complex bonds make them ideal for prolonged energy demands, such as during a workout, due to their slow
digestive process and the muscle's requirement for carbohydrates as its primary fuel source.
. Whereas you and I store glucose as glycogen in the muscle for later use as energy, many plants store
theirs as starch. Therefore if you eat a plant food, your body breaks down the plant's stored energy into usable
energy for you. Common foods containing large quantities of starches are grains such as wheat and rice, legumes
such as peas and beans, and tubers such as potatoes.
. These complex carbs exist only in plants and are a crucial component in digestion and health - fiber
slows the rate of digestion and absorption, contributing to satiety, and in some cases can reduce total fat
absorption. Also, high-fiber diets have been linked with a lower occurrence of obesity, hypertension, intestinal
disorders and heart disease. You should consume at least 20-35 grams of fiber per day, utilizing about a 3:1
ratio of soluble to insoluble. Soluble fibers include pectins, gums and oat bran, while insol,uble fibers include
wheat bran roughage and vegetable cellulose.
. Although this is labeled a complex carb, you're riot likely to run to your local supermarket and buy
a box of this stuff. Instead, glycogen is an energy depot made up of branching chains of glucose stored in your
muscles and liver. All things being equal, consumed carbohydrates will eventually be broken down into glucose
and then stored within your muscles and liver as glycogen. Any excess carbs will be processed and stored as fat.