Digestion of carbohydrates

Digestion of carbohydrates

Providing your body with carbohydrates via food, they must first be digested before the energy can be made available to the body. The important thing here is that only monosaccharides can be absorbed in the human digestive tract. Therefore, all the food-borne poly-, oligo- and disaccharides have to be broken down into these smallest building blocks of carbohydrates via specific enzymes.

This is done mainly by the enzyme amylase, which is formed for the most part in the pancreas, but also in small amounts in the salivary gland of the oral cavity.

By the way, you can do a little self-experiment: take a piece of bread in your mouth and chew on it without swallowing it. After some time, the bread takes on a sweetish taste. This is due to the splitting of the polysaccharides of the bread into smaller carbohydrate chains.

Amylase breaks down the added polysaccharides into smaller oligosaccharides, which in turn hydrolyze them into even smaller disaccharides, maltose and isomaltose. These malt sugar molecules in turn are digested further in the small intestine under the influence of the enzyme disaccharidase. Only the resulting monosaccharides can ultimately be absorbed by the body in the small intestine and enter the bloodstream as blood sugar.


Tasks of carbohydrates