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Difference Between Sugars and Carbohydrates

Sugars vs Carbohydrates

Food may be defined as substances which serve to nourish or build tissues or provide heat when consumed by the body. These foods may be divided into categories as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of the body. They are complex molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen along with nitrogen and sometimes sulphur. Fats act as the storage products of the body. They are responsible for providing the extra caloric needs when required by the body. They are also composed of a relatively high content of carbon and hydrogen. Carbohydrates are complex molecules made up from an aggregation of one or more types of simple sugars.

Sugars are simple molecules which are released into the body by the process of digestion of the polysaccharides of starchy foods. The few most common types of sugars are: glucose, fructose, galactose, etc. which are present in commonly used substances such as table sugar, fruit juice, milk, yogurt, molasses, brown sugar, and honey.

Sugars may be divided into two categories according to the type of molecules present in the structure as the monosaccharides and the disaccharides. Monosaccharides are sugars having one molecule of sugar such as glucose, fructose, etc. When two molecules of similar or different types of monosaccharides combine, they form a disaccharide such as lactose and sucrose. The monosaccharides are further classified as tetroses, pentoses, hexoses, and heptoses on the basis of the number of carbon atoms present in their structure.
Sugars are soluble in water and have a sweet taste. Physically, they are white, crystalline substances.

Carbohydrates are complex sugar molecules composed of more than two and up to ten sugar molecules are termed as oligosaccharides. More complex molecules made up of more than ten sugar molecules are known as polysaccharides. These complex structures are called carbohydrates. A good example of a carbohydrate is starch and cellulose. Starch is composed of glucose monomers present in its cyclic structure. Cellulose is the main structural material of plants. It is also a polymer of glucose. Other such instances are insulin, glycogen, chitin, pectin, etc.

Mostly carbohydrates are insoluble in water. They are not digested until broken down into simpler forms. They are assimilated by the body into simple sugars which are then absorbed in the intestines.
Finally, we may say that carbohydrates are polymers of simple sugars having different physical and chemical properties.


1.Sugars are soluble in water while carbohydrates are insoluble in water.
2.Sugars have a sweet taste while carbohydrates are not sweet.
3.Sugars are readily digested in the body while carbohydrates have to be broken down into simpler molecules before being digested.
4.The chemical formula of sugars is C(H2O)y while that of carbohydrates is Cx(H2O)y.

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1 Comment

  1. Insulin is not a carbohydrate.

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