Disaccharides – All You Need to Know

4 mins read
Disaccharides

Disaccharides are carbohydrates made up of monosaccharides. In this article, we will focus on the three most common disaccharides in food – lactose, sucrose, and maltose. You will be able to learn more about their nature and their involvement in human metabolism.

Types of disaccharides

Lactose

Chemical formula: C12H22O11

Source: This is an animal disaccharide found in milk produced by mammary glands. It is used in various food products – pastries, pasta, fruit desserts, and more.

Participates in the following important metabolic processes: when interacting with the enzyme lactase after ingestion, lactose breaks down into two molecules, one glucose + one galactose. The process is performed on the micro folds of cell membranes in the digestive system.

Relation to insulin: the process of breaking down lactose takes some time, so at low concentrations of this disaccharide in dairy products, the latter has a low to moderate glycemic index.

Carbohydrate loading: not suitable

Sweetness: lower sweetness than sugar (sucrose)

Glycemic index: 46

Some people suffer from lactose intolerance, ie. insufficient own production of the enzyme lactase to digest large amounts of lactose. This can lead to lactose fermentation and flatulence. The emergence of lactose intolerance after childhood is characteristic primarily of Western Europeans, some Asians, and most Africans. Lactose intolerant people who have been diagnosed with the disease as infants have genetic hypolactasia.

Sucrose (white crystalline sugar)

Chemical formula: C12H22O11

Source: sugar cane, sugar beet

Participates in the following important metabolic processes: after ingestion in contact with glycoside hydrolases in the stomach, sucrose breaks down into one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose

Relation to insulin: directly proportional, in large doses may lead to hyperglycemia.

Carbohydrate loading: suitable in the absence of alternatives

Sweetness: a standard for sweetness

Glycemic index: 65

Maltose

Chemical formula: C12H22O11

Source: crystallized from starch

Participates in the following important metabolic processes: after ingestion, in contact with saliva under the action of the enzyme maltase, this disaccharide breaks down into two molecules of glucose.

Relation to insulin: directly proportional, in large doses leads to hyperglycemia

Carbohydrate loading: extremely suitable

Sweetness: lower sweetness than sugar (sucrose)

Glycemic index: 105

What to take to replenish glycogen after a workout?

If you dissolve your gainer in milk, do not rely on lactose. It is best to make a combination of sugar, maltase, and starch in a ratio of 25%: 15%: 60%, at +/- 5% charging will still be effective.

What disaccharides can I consume on low-carb days?

Of these, lactose is the least insulin-provoking carbohydrate. If you take it with liquids, you can afford to consume 6 to 12 grams within six hours.

How to properly consume disaccharides?

If you have a slow metabolism, combine disaccharides with complex and indigestible carbohydrates to lower their glycemic index.

What are the alternatives to milk for people with low lactose tolerance?

Soy milk with mannose supplements is a possible substitute.

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