How Are Sugars Broken Down and Used in the Body?

Sugar is a crucially important energy source for the human body that we could not live without. There are two different categories of the sugars we ingest in the foods we eat – those being simple sugars and complex sugars. A type of simple sugar would be the granulated sugar we use as an additive or ingredient, while other foods like rice and bread contain complex sugars.

When a complex sugar is ingested, it will be converted into a simple sugar before it can be used as an energy source. This begins in the mouth when the complex sugar molecules start to be broken down by natural enzymes. The process is then taken over by the stomach after the sugar has been swallowed. The enzymes and acids in the stomach dissolve the sugars into molecules that are small enough to pass right through the lining of the stomach and enter the blood. Once in the bloodstream, the sugar along with other essential substances is sent to every muscle and cell of the body to provide energy.

When sugars arrive at the individual cells, they are eventually converted into water and carbon dioxide. This is the result of several complex chemical reactions that take place as the energy of the sugar is utilized and released by the cell.

Sugar is composed of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon molecules which are bonded together by chemicals. Simple sugars are known to contain around two-dozen bonds holding the elements together. When each of these bonds is broken in the cell, the energy released by the breaking of the bond is then used by the body.

And in addition to utilizing the energy released right away, the cell also has the ability to reserve some of the energy to be used later.