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The g.i. factor: what is a carbohydrate?

        THE G.I. FACTOR: WHAT IS A CARBOHYDRATE?
Carbohydrate is a part of food. Starch is a carbohydrate, so too are sugars and certain types of fibre. Starches are nature's reserves created by energy from the sun, carbon dioxide and water. The building block of starch is glucose, a single sugar.
The simplest form of carbohydrate is a single sugar molecule. Chemically, this sugar molecule is known as a monosaccharide (mono meaning one, saccharide meaning sweet). Glucose is a single sugar molecule which occurs in foods and is the most common source of fuel for the cells of the human body.
If two sugar molecules are joined together, the result is a di-saccharide (di meaning two). Sucrose, or common table sugar, is a disaccharide.
Starches are long chains of sugar molecules joined together like the beads in a string of pearls. They are called polysaccharides (poly meaning many). Starches are not sweet to taste.
Dietary fibres also have a complex structure, containing many different sorts of sugar molecules. They are different from starches and sugars in that they are not broken down by human digestive enzymes. Fibre reaches the large intestine without change. Once there, bacteria begin to ferment and break down the fibres.

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