Carbohydrates are energy giving foods. They provide energy to the body. (1) Carbohydrates provide fuel for the central nervous system and energy for working muscles (1).
You begin to digest carbohydrates the minute food hits your mouth.(2) The salivary enzyme amylase begins the breakdown of food starches into maltose. The saliva secreted from your salivary glands moistens food as it’s chewed (2). Carbohydrates are found in a wide array of both healthy and unhealthy foods. Examples: bread, milk, potatoes, and soft drinks.
The bolus of food travels then through the esophagus to the stomach. However, no digestion of carbohydrates takes place in the stomach (3). The food moves from the stomach to the small intestine where digestive enzymes, secreted by the pancreas, enter the small intestine via the pancreatic duct. The majority of chemical digestion occurs in the small intestines (4,5). When the small intestine digests food, the carbohydrates (sugars and starches) in the food break down into the smallest type of sugar, called glucose. (4,5)
The small intestines absorb the glucose and release it into the bloodstream to be used by the cells of the body for energy. (4).
Any food that is not absorbed goes to the large intestine and is ultimately excreted through the anus.
I found it interesting that our food has these small molecules that are actually what gives us energy and without breaking the food down, we can’t have access to the energy inside the food.
In my next round of research, I will learn about protein digestion.