Carbohydrates often get clumped together in two extreme categories: good and bad. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. Everyone needs them, but it’s important to known which ones are good for you and which ones aren’t.
Often referred to as simple and complex carbohydrates, the three types of carbs — sugar, starch, and fiber — all have a place in your diet. Simple carbohydrates are monosaccharides and disaccharides, while starches and fiber are polysaccharides.
Carbohydrates are classified according to their chemical structure. Monosaccharides are the simplest form of carbs. They are glucose, fructose, and galactose. Glucose is commonly referred to as blood sugar and naturally occurs in fruits and sweeteners. Fructose is fruit sugar and is also the sugar in honey and vegetables. Galactose helps form lactose.
Disaccharides are sugars that will eventually be broken down into monosaccharides. They contain two carbohydrates linked together. Sucrose, lactose, and maltose are disaccharides. Sucrose is plain table sugar, lactose is the sugar found in milk, and maltose is found in germinating grains.
Polysaccharides are the most complex of carbohydrates. They are the starches and fiber in the diet. They are made of many monosaccharides joined together.