Carbohydrates’ Digestion

Carbohydrates’ digestion

depends on the complexity of the particular molecular structure of the carbohydrate. Sugar, cellulose and starch are all naturally occurring carbohydrates and each one has a particular molecular structure. If this structure in the gastrointestinal tract is too complex, the human digestive system has to work harder in order to allow the molecule to get absorbed into the bloodstream.

Carbohydrates’ Digestion:

Before actually going into the digestion part, we must know that all the above mentioned carbohydrates are divided into three types, viz.

monosaccharides, disaccharides



. Of all, it is the monosaccharides that get digested very easily.

So, the main aim of the digestive process is to break the disaccharides and the polysaccharides into monosaccharides. The breaking sown of these complex


is achieved with the help of various enzymes secreted into the gastrointestinal tract and the duodenum.

These enzymes break the complex structures (a long process though) into glucose which gets absorbed into the bloodstream very easily.

The Process:

The process of the digestion of carbohydrates starts from the mouth itself. Saliva secretes an enzyme called amylase that aids in breaking complex carbs into simple sugars.

  • Once into the stomach, the digestive acids take over from the enzymes thus minimising the effect of enzymes.
  • It is then the pancreas’ turn to aid in the break down process in the small intestine. The pancreas also secretes amylase that breaks the complex carbs into maltose, sucrose and lactose.
  • These simpler compounds are further broken down by maltase, sucrase and lactase which later turn into blood soluble glucose.
  • Apart from the sugars in the carbs, other vitamins and minerals are also digested with the help of juices produced by the organs in the small intestine which would either get absorbed or be passed into the bowel as waste.

Role of Liver:

After the glucose is absorbed by the blood, there needs to be a storage area that can store this glucose. This responsibility is taken up by the liver. Liver controls the blood glucose levels from which our body actually gets energy.

The speed of

carbohydrates’ digestion

depends entirely upon the complexity of the carb and its resistance to the enzyme and acid activity in the digestion process.

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