The word carbohydrate refers to a compound of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen that is a major source of energy for animals. Carbohydrates can be found in many foods — especially in a plate of spaghetti.

Often formed by a plant, a carbohydrate may be a sugar, starch, or cellulose that typically breaks down into energy within the body. So when you hydrate — or “water” — a carbon in just the right way, it can lead to the stuff that makes up bread, pasta, apples, beans, and potatoes. Carbohydrate often goes by its less threatening nickname carb, though beware: abbreviating the word does nothing to lessen its calories.

Definitions of carbohydrate
  1. noun
    an essential structural component of living cells and source of energy for animals; includes simple sugars with small molecules as well as macromolecular substances; are classified according to the number of monosaccharide groups they contain
    synonyms: saccharide, sugar
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    a pentose sugar important as a component of ribonucleic acid
    beet sugar
    sugar made from sugar beets
    cane sugar
    sucrose obtained from sugar cane
    a sugar that is a constituent of nucleic acids
    invert sugar
    a mixture of equal parts of glucose and fructose resulting from the hydrolysis of sucrose; found naturally in fruits; sweeter than glucose
    maple sugar
    sugar made from the sap of the sugar maple tree
    monosaccharide, monosaccharose, simple sugar
    a sugar (like sucrose or fructose) that does not hydrolyse to give other sugars; the simplest group of carbohydrates
    any of the carbohydrates that yield only a few monosaccharide molecules on complete hydrolysis
    polyose, polysaccharide
    any of a class of carbohydrates whose molecules contain chains of monosaccharide molecules
    jaggary, jaggery, jagghery
    unrefined brown sugar made from palm sap
    wood sugar, xylose
    a sugar extracted from wood or straw; used in foods for diabetics
    Lipo-Hepin, Liquaemin, heparin
    a polysaccharide produced in basophils (especially in the lung and liver) and that inhibits the activity of thrombin in coagulation of the blood; it (trade names Lipo-Hepin and Liquaemin) is used as an anticoagulant in the treatment of thrombosis and in heart surgery
    any monosaccharide sugar containing three atoms of carbon per molecule
    any monosaccharide sugar containing four atoms of carbon per molecule
    any monosaccharide sugar containing five atoms of carbon per molecule
    a monosaccharide that contains six carbon atoms per molecule
    a monosaccharide sugar that contains the aldehyde group or is hemiacetal
    a tough semitransparent horny substance; the principal component of the exoskeletons of arthropods and the cell walls of certain fungi
    a polysaccharide that is the chief constituent of all plant tissues and fibers
    animal starch, glycogen
    one form in which body fuel is stored; stored primarily in the liver and broken down into glucose when needed by the body
    used to manufacture fructose and in assessing kidney function
    a light brown raw cane sugar from Guyana
    any of various polysaccharides obtained by hydrolysis of starch; a tasteless and odorless gummy substance that is used as a thickening agent and in adhesives and in dietary supplements
    any of a variety of carbohydrates that yield two monosaccharide molecules on complete hydrolysis
    any monosaccharide sugar that contains a ketone group or its hemiacetal
    complex polysaccharides containing an amino group; occur chiefly as components of connective tissue
    amylum, starch
    a complex carbohydrate found chiefly in seeds, fruits, tubers, roots and stem pith of plants, notably in corn, potatoes, wheat, and rice; an important foodstuff and used otherwise especially in adhesives and as fillers and stiffeners for paper and textiles
    any of a variety of carbohydrates that yield four monosaccharide molecules on complete hydrolysis
    any of a variety of carbohydrates that yield three monosaccharide molecules on complete hydrolysis
    type of:
    macromolecule, supermolecule
    any very large complex molecule; found only in plants and animals
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