What are Monosaccharides

Monosaccharides are primarily a form of simple sugar. The term “monosaccharide” originates from the Greek term Manos. Monosaccharides are the most basic units of carbohydrates. Most people define monosaccharides as the simplest form of sugar that exhibits certain characteristics. Such forms of carbohydrates are water soluble, colorless and crystalline as well. The building blocks of disaccharides including polysaccharides and sucrose are monosaccharides.

Types of Monosaccharides

The chemical formulae of monosaccharides are Cx(H2O)y. A few examples of monosaccharides are as follows:

  • Glucose
  • Fructose
  • Galactose
  • Ribose
  • Xylose

It is possible to differentiate monosaccharides from polysaccharides and disaccharides. The number of rings present in the chemical compound helps to make the differentiation. The primary three kinds of monosaccharides include galactose, glucose and sucrose. The common terminology for referring Glucose is ‘blood sugar’, galactose is ‘milk sugar’ and fructose is ‘fruit sugar’. A fourth type of monosaccharide is also available known as dextrose. One needs to realize the fact that dextrose is simply a variation of glucose. There is no point in denying the fact that dextrose and glucose are simply images of each other. Glucose is available in substantial quantities in the blood stream of human beings.

Classification of Monosaccharides

It is possible to make the classification of monosaccharides based on the number of carbon atoms present. The classification based on the number of carbon atoms are as follows:

  • Triose-3 Carbon Atoms
  • Tetrose-4 Carbon Atoms
  • Pentose-5 Carbon Atoms
  • Hexose-6 Carbon Atoms
  • Heptose-7 Carbon Atoms
  • Octose-8 Carbon Atoms
  • Nonose-9 Carbon Atoms
  • Decose-10 Carbon Atoms

It is possible to categorize Glucose as Hexose since it has six carbon atoms. One will be amazed to come in terms with the fact that as many as twenty different monosaccharides occur naturally. It is also possible to produce as many as fifty different monosaccharides synthetically. Human body absorbs monosaccharides through the walls of the intestine. Monosaccharides, if stored for long duration generally turns into fat. Fructose has gained substantial recognition due to its ability to turn into fat.

According to a study conducted in the year 2008, fructose is different from other forms of carbohydrates. Monosaccharides, like other types of carbohydrates, provide invaluable service. Monosaccharides play an instrumental role in imparting balance and energy to different living organisms. Physicians recommend moderate intake of monosaccharides as the best possible practice. Various forms of biologically important monosaccharides exist including Sialic acid, Galactosamine, Glucosamine and N-Acetylglucosamine. It is a regrettable fact that at most times our daily diet lacks in proper amount of monosaccharides. This problem arises simply because we do not have enough time to select the proper food items we intake generally. Hence, gaining knowledge about monosaccharides is necessary if we desire to enjoy benefit of a healthy body.

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