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Carbohydrate

Molecules made by joining carbon atoms to water molecules. The name means "carbon watered". The simplest carbohydrate is methanal (also called formaldehyde) which is like a water molecule with a carbon atom in the middle. Sugars, starches and cellulose can be built up out of methanal.

A great variety of materials can be made from these simple building blocks, often forming rings (for example ribose is a ring of five methanal molecules joined together) and branching chains.

Carbohydrates are created by plants during photosynthesis. They are used by bacteria, plants and animals as sources of energy and (except for animals) as materials for building structures such as leaves.

The following foods are all good sources of carbohydrate:

Cereals, bread, cake, porridge.

Sugar, syrup, jam, honey

Potatoes, cassava, yams and other starchy roots (not as good as cereal since they contain less protein)

Milk, cream, cheese

Fruit (contain a lot of water and so less carbohydrate)

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