What Elements Make Up Carbohydrates?

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The elements that make up carbohydrates are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and they occur in the same ration whether they form glucose or complex carbohydrates. Learn about the makeup of carbohydrates with information from a registered and licensed dietitian in this free video on healthy eating.

Part of the Video Series: Health & Nutrition
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Video Transcript

My name is Christine Marquette and I'm a registered and licensed dietitian with Marquette Nutrition and Fitness and I've been asked what elements make up carbohydrates. The elements that make up carbohydrate are called carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and they always occur in the same ratio, the main difference is how these particular atoms are actually attached to each other. So whether they would form glucose, or they would form a complex carbohydrate, the only thing that is changing is the structure but the ratio of the carbohydrate to the hydrogen to the oxygen will always stay the same. That's why sometimes in some literature you will see the abbreviation for carbohydrate as CHO. A lot of times people will say that and say where did they come up with CHO as an abbreviation for carb, why didn't they just put CARB? That's the primary reason, they're just using the actual elements as the abbreviation for carbohydrates. So again, the main elements in carbohydrate, their carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.


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