10 Examples of Carbohydrates

Pasta and breads

alle12 / Getty Images

Most of the organic molecules you encounter are carbohydrates. They are sugars and starches and are used to provide energy and structure to organisms.

Carbohydrate molecules have the formula Cm(H2O)n, where m and n are integers (e.g. 1, 2, 3).

Examples of Carbohydrates

  1. glucose (monosaccharide)
  2. fructose (monosaccharide)
  3. galactose (monosaccharide)
  4. sucrose (disaccharide)
  5. lactose (disaccharide)
  6. cellulose (polysaccharide)
  7. chitin (polysaccharide)
  8. starch
  9. xylose
  10. maltose

Sources of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates in foods include all sugars (sucrose [table sugar], glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose) and starches (found in pasta, bread, and grains). These carbohydrates can be digested by the body and provide energy for cells.

There are other carbohydrates that the human body doesn't digest, including insoluble fiber, cellulose from plants, and chitin from insects and other arthropods. Unlike sugars and starches, these types of carbohydrates don't contribute calories to the human diet.