Carbohydrates- (CH2O)n

Examples: starch, glycogen, glucose

Common Functions

1. Provide energy to body (amylose breaks up carbohydrates into glucose which is used as energy for body)

2. Provide energy source so protein doesn't have to be broken down and can be used elsewhere to heal the body.

3. Needed to oxidize fat

4. Helps stomach and intestine by providing fiber

5. Helps with cellular recognition


  • monosaccharides (single simple sugars)
  • monomer shown in the picture to the right is glucose, a monosaccharide.


  • disaccharides (two simple sugars bonded together)
  • polysaccharides (many sugars linked together).

Functional Groups

  • Hydroxyl group ((-OH) bonded to all carbon atoms except one)
  • Carbonyl group (last carbon is double bonded to an oxygen atom)
  • if Carbonyl group is found at the end of the chain the molecule is called an Aldehyde (O=C-H))
  • if it is at any other position on the chain it is a Ketone (O=C).

Structure and Function

  • monosaccharides do not need enzymes to be absorbed by the small intestine
  • polysaccharides are larger molecules that can store energy
  • intestine cannot directly digest polysaccharides
  • require the enzymes produced in the small intestine to break it down into smaller monosaccharide units
  • these monosaccharides are necessary for important co-enzymes to form, such as ATP, FAD, and NAD
  • structure of the monosaccharides also allow the immune system to function, have fertilization, and play a role in disease prevention